MAYOR AND COUNCIL
MAY 17, 2021
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 7:37 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Tom Herz, Ellsworth Tolliver and Meghan Efland, W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Foster stated that he was sworn in earlier today and was honored to serve in the role. He said that he will do his best to fulfil the duties of Mayor.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the Mayor and Council Meeting of May 3, 2021. Rev. Tolliver moved to approve the minutes of the meetings of May 3, 2021 as presented, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster stated that operating funds on hand amount was $1,745,875.08.
Mayor Foster asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Ms. Efland moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Chief Dolgos read the April 2021 report into the record. Chief Dolgos stated that the bulk of the overtime was due to call outs. Mr. Herz stated that there had been improvement in the homeless situation in the park. Chief Dolgos stated that he met with a couple of the homeless people in the Fountain Park accompanied by a representative of Kent County Social Services and told the homeless there that the Ordinances (like the parks being dawn to dusk parks only and smoking and open container not being allowed) were going to be enforced and they left. He said that there was one person that was living at Washington Square who had been arrested.
Mr. Ingersoll stated this evening was the introduction of the budget for FY2022. He said that a public hearing will be held on Monday, June 7th. The tax rate will remain at $.43. Mr. Herz moved to introduce Ordinance 03-2020 Budget for Fiscal Year 2022, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Main Street was hosting a dedication of the new Town stage on May 29th and a band would play for a few hours during the afternoon. He said that the streets would be closed due to the Farmers Market anyway and the band would play until 3 p.m.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a letter was submitted to MDE regarding the potential shutdown of the pump and treat remediation at the Hospital. In addition to other requests, the Town asked that no shutdown take place until the Council met with MDE.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he asked Mr. Sipes to attend the meeting to explain what he would like to see done at the site before a shutdown took place. Mr. Sipes stated that he would like to see a site investigation as that has not taken place to date, although they have been talking about it for 7-years. He said that it would behoove everyone to have it verified that the site was clean or if there was any contamination in undiscovered areas. He said that this would include ground borings and he had already reached out to a company that can do the work. He said that if the Hospital was not going to do it, he would like to have approval for the Town to perform the investigation which would look for contaminants outside of the known plume. He said that the Town would dictate the scope of work and he would send out an RFP for the borings and samples to be taken. Mr. Sipes stated that the company would also look at the quarterly reports to see if there were any gaps in information.
Mr. Sipes stated that of interest to him were the Rt. 213 (west) side of the Hospital and in the back of the Hospital (north) as there were no monitoring wells in place at those areas. He said he thought it was possible that there was oil upstream of the site. Mr. Sipes stated that he would like to have this done before the pump and treat was turned off, but he thought valuable information would still be uncovered even if it was shut off beforehand.
Mr. Sipes stated that after shutdown the post remedial phase would last for 6 months, or 1-year until the actual closeout. He said that the Town has an agreement to extend monitoring with the Hospital to go 3-years past that date.
Mr. Sipes stated that he was concerned that the oil or oil components liberated from the well field areas where the Ivey-Sol had been inserted could have moved from the monitoring well areas to other areas where it was not as easily detected or in another form.
Mr. Sipes stated that the RFP could be done within this budget year, but he would like to put a dollar amount on the scope of work and then discuss with the Hospital if they were willing to help pay for it and if they could go on the Hospital property to perform the borings.
Mr. Sipes stated that he anticipated somewhere between $4,000.00 and $8,000.00 just to figure out what the scope of work would be because the consultant would have to study the quarterly reports.
Mayor Foster asked Mr. Ingersoll for his opinion on the site investigation.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the first thing that should be done before any money is spent on the scope of work should be to ask the Hospital’s permission to enter the site. He said that the request to the Hospital for their permission to enter the property should come first, and that the pro bono attorneys could perhaps do the initial drafting of said request.
Rev. Tolliver moved to allow Mr. Sipes to move forward gathering information for details and cost of an onsite investigation for the oil spill at the Hospital, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that with David Foster being sworn in as Mayor, there is now a vacancy for the First Ward Councilmember. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had received one request from the public to fill the vacated seat. He said that Mr. Sam Shoge had sent in a formal request to serve as the First Ward Council person and met all the requirements, adding that he has also served well once as the Third Ward Councilmember. Mr. Herz moved to appoint Sam Shoge to the fill the First Ward Council seat, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he met with the Health Department who provided information on reopening the Visitors Center and they were also looking into funds for extra cleaning that might be covered under the Recovery Act. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought the Center would open by early June if not before.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he received an alternate plan for the AJAX Park from Carla Johnson on Friday, May 14th meeting the requirement of former Interim Mayor Rev. Tolliver to have the plan submitted by May 17th. Mayor Foster stated that he was pleased to see the plans being received but had been disappointed in the lack of communication on both sides. He said that everyone had to agree to disagree and be willing to look at different options regarding the Ajax Park. Mayor Foster stated that the murals in Town read “Chestertown Unites” and he said that he did not want to lose sight of that goal.
Rev. Tolliver stated that the proposal had to come from the Recreation Commission and that all parties had to come to a consensus. Mr. Herz agreed. Mayor Foster stated that work has been done on all sides during Covid times, making it more difficult, and said they need to continue to work together to try to have a good outcome for all involved.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Janes United Methodist Church have a permit request in for August 28th for a “Back to School Block Party”. The Council agreed to the request.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Beth Everett of the United Way had asked to use Wilmer Park on Saturday, November 13th for a 5k in support of the United Way. The Council agreed to the request.
Mayor Foster stated that he would like to have representatives from Committees and Commissions together to share details on what does and does not work and for guidance on the Open Meetings Act.
Mayor Foster stated that his sister died last year from Covid before a vaccination was available. He said that there were many people who are hesitant to get the shot and thought it might be helpful if the people who have been vaccinated share their stories with them, so they consider getting the vaccine.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was support letter request from Eastern Shore Heritage, Inc. for a grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority to allow Eastern Shore Heritage, Inc. to offer technical and financial assistance through grants to local museums and other organizations that promote and protect resources in the Heritage Area. Rev. Tolliver moved for Mayor Foster to sign the letter of support, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster stated that he would like to wait to reappoint Mr. Bogden to the Recreation Commission to ensure that he wanted to continue in that role.
Mayor Cerino stated that Jeff Coomer’s term on the Historic District Commission ended and he was not renewing his membership, leaving a vacancy on the Commission.
Mayor Foster asked for ward reports.
Ms. Efland stated that the new Dunkin Donuts opened in Kent Plaza and there was a line around the corner to try it out.
Ms. Efland thanked Mr. de Mooy and Chief Dolgos for keeping a lookout and addressing overgrown lawns in Town.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he met with the Coventry Farms Homeowners Association to go over the redistricting and hear about their neighborhood and said that it was nice to spend time with the residents on a beautiful day.
Mr. Herz stated that has been attending the EOC meetings where he was told that vaccination clinics will be set up for groups of 10 or more that will come to your place of employment. Anyone wanting information should call the Kent County Health Department.
Mr. Herz stated that trash cans are filling up in the downtown area and asked that Mr. Ingersoll ask the Town crew to keep an eye on them. Mr. Ingersoll stated that in at least one case that he had viewed the business owner was using the pedestrian container for their commercial trash.
Mr. Herz stated that the idea of a task force for the spending of the ARP funds was discussed at the last meeting and asked if there were any nominations from the Council for their members. Mr. Herz stated that he would like to nominate Andy Goddard, adding that even though she does not live in Town she has a deep understanding of the Downtown Businesses as head of the DCA and worked with other relief funding in the past.
Mayor Foster asked if Mr. Shoge had anything to say in a ward report as he was present for the meeting and would be taking his oath in the coming days. Mr. Shoge stated that he was happy to be back on the Council, adding that although he did not run for reelection when he was in the Third Ward, he is now a resident of the First Ward and has remained active in the community.
Mr. Shoge stated that he has taken walks with Mr. Owen Bailey to discuss some traffic calming ideas in the First Ward on the wider streets in Town.
Ms. Nancy Bennington stated that there was a prom at Wilmer Park on Saturday, and it was a beautiful event. She said that everyone was so respectful of the park and she appreciated it. Ms. Bennington stated that she could support the prom because it was temporary, but said she was not in support of the proposed permanent installation (playground) in the Wilmer Park and thought it was hastily planned. She said that she had problems with the scale and size of the playground and said that the park was already overused. She said that the grant could always be given back to the State before the landscape and park was changed forever.
Mr. Frank Rhodes stated that once the basketball site is finally approved they planned to leave the toddler equipment in place until the Wilmer Park was finished.
Ms. Wanda Boyer stated that larger cars obstruct the vision of the driver on the corner of Lynchburg and High Streets and asked if the yellow parking line can be extended. Ms. Efland stated that there was a similar problem at Kent Street and High Street. Mr. Shoge suggested no parking signs in that area since the yellow paint tends to fade quickly.
Ms. Boyer stated that the new house on the 200 block of Calvert Street has construction taking place but when the tenants are home they park however they wish.
Ms. Boyer stated that the new house across from Bethel Church looks like a scrap yard and across the street on the 400 block of Calvert there were stagnant trash cans and fecal matter in the yard that is not being cleaned. The neighbors complain of a stench coming through their walls that is so bad.
Mr. de Mooy stated that he spoke with the owner of the property and is waiting to hear follow up on the issues that Ms. Boyer discussed, but was ready to proceed with follow-up.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Ms. Efland moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:14 p.m. was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan David Foster
Town Clerk Mayor