MAYOR AND COUNCIL
MAY 3, 2021
Acting Mayor Herz called the meeting to order at 7:59 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Meghan Efland, David Foster, and Ellsworth Tolliver, W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mr. Herz asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the Mayor and Council Meeting of April 19, 2021. Ms. Efland moved to approve the minutes of the meetings of April 19, 2021 as presented, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Herz stated that operating funds on hand was $1,766,862.03.
Mr. Herz asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Mr. Foster moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mr. Herz called on the Town Manager to give his report.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the first item on his agenda was a discussion of whether the Council wanted to appoint a Mayor from within the Council or from the Town at large. Mr. Foster stated that he would like to appoint a Mayor from within the Council. Rev. Tolliver agreed, adding that he did not think anyone on the Council wanted to go through a special election.
Ms. Efland moved to appoint a Mayor from the existing Town Council, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Foster moved to proceed with nominations and voting this evening, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he had made no secret that he would like to be appointed as Mayor for the duration of the previous Mayor’s term stating, that he had a thorough understanding of the issues and knew that he had the ability to handle the job.
Mr. Foster stated that he enjoys being a Councilperson and said that he would also like to be Mayor for the duration of the term, adding that he has served for three (3) terms and has 40 years’ experience in working with state and local governments.
The Council voted as follow for Mayor:
- Mr. Foster: David Foster;
- Rev. Tolliver: Ellsworth Tolliver;
- Ms. Efland: David Foster;
- Mr. Herz: David Foster.
The votes for three (3) for David Foster and one (1) for Ellsworth Tolliver, making David Foster the Mayor for the remainder of Mayor Cerino’s term.
Mr. Ingersoll stated the Clerk of the Circuit Court has historically sworn in in the Mayors of the Town and he would coordinate with the Circuit Court on a date to swear in Mr. Foster.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Council next must consider the appointment of a Councilmember for the First Ward. Rev. Tolliver asked that anyone interested expressing interest should submit a resume to the Town for consideration.
Mr. Ingersoll reminded the Council that the first budget workshop would be held on Tuesday, May 11th at 5:00 p.m.
Mr. Ingersoll asked for a motion to appoint Rosie Ramsey Granillo to the Recreation Commission. Ms. Efland moved to appoint Rosie Ramsey Granillo to the Recreation Commission, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a request from Kent County High School to use the new stage from June 2nd to June 4th for their graduation ceremony. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought it was a good idea for the graduation, with the understanding that it was because of Covid and added that graduating seniors from Chestertown were probably among the graduating class. He suggested that any time there would be a request for the new stage to leave Chestertown, that the Mayor and Council specifically approve it. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought there should be a $500.00 fee to deploy the stage as well, as there is staff required to assemble and disassemble the stage. Mr. Ingersoll stated that for this request the stage will have be added to the High School’s insurance policy with the Town as an addee. He was told by the acting principal of the High School that the area where the stage will be covered by a camera.
Rev. Tolliver moved to permit Kent County High School the use of the stage for this year’s graduation as outlined by Mr. Ingersoll, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Ms. Efland moved that the Mayor and Council approve the stage being deployed anytime it is requested for use out of Town limits and to revisit the MOU between the Town and Main Street allowing deployment out of Town, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there will be a walkthrough of the Visitor’s Center with the Kent County Health Department on Thursday morning about reopening the Center. He said that he also asked the Health Department to find out if Cares Act funding can be used for more frequent cleaning services for the duration of the pandemic.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Friends of the Dog Park donated $1,000.00 to the Town. There was also a volunteer who did all the mulching inside of the large dog and small dog enclosure.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a letter received after closing during the day from the Town Attorney with comments on the contract forms to accept public art. He said that he would like for the Council to wait on decisions regarding that document. Mr. Ben Tilghman stated that the contract for Public Art should be just as the Town wanted it to be.
Mr. Tilghman stated that he brought forth a policy document for deciding when to accept and dispose of works of art and for an ad hoc committee for the Enslavement Monument.
Ms. Efland moved to appoint the following members on the ad hock committee for the enslavement memorial:
- Pastor Monique Upshur Davis
- Kate Livie
- Lorna Hunter
- Jason Patterson
- Wanda Boyer
- Benjamin Tilghman
- Fredy Granillo
- Gordon Wallace
- Pam White
The motion was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Rev. Tolliver moved to accept the policy document on accepting and disposing of public art, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mr. Tilghman asked about the funds for public art should be handled. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would like for the Council to review the letter from the Attorney before deciding on the handling of funds.
Mr. Herz asked for Ward Reports.
Mr. Foster stated that he had comments from residents asking that a trash can be installed at the Middle School.
Mr. Foster stated that the MML Summer Conference was restricted to only two (2) members per Town this year due to Covid and said that he only wants to go if there was a seminar on the tax differential.
Mr. Herz asked Rev. Tolliver to take over as Acting Mayor while he gave a ward report.
Mr. Herz stated that he wanted to create a task force to help with the American Rescue Plan stimulus funds headed to Chestertown. He said that this became law on March 11, 2021 and allocated funds to local governments. Funds should come to Chestertown on or about June 11th. A second transfer of funds will be received a year later, and all funds should be spent by December 2024.
Mr. Herz stated that funds are held in escrow at the State level and requests are made to the State for funding. There were only certain ways that funding can be spent, and draft guidelines should be made available to municipalities by May 11th.
Mr. Herz stated that a task force would aid staff in handling applications for funding and they could also evaluate proposals for approval by the Mayor and Council.
Rev. Tolliver asked if all funding would have to be run through the Task Force before it came to the Council. Mr. Herz stated that the Council could reserve funds for their own use before allowing other funding to be allowed outside of Town business.
Mr. Herz stated that that the Council should evaluate larger funds and what could be used for their own capital improvements.
Mr. Foster stated that this Task Force should be strictly advisory in nature. Mr. Herz stated that was exactly as he saw the task force working. Ms. Efland stated that all residents should have a say in how the funds are spent, but she thought it was an important part of the process. Mr. Herz stated that a task force could organize a charrette for ideas.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he was nervous about the Task Force giving approval for a project as there is limited knowledge of how the money should be spent at this time. Mr. Herz stated that he thought that the Task Force could vette requests against the guidelines that the State would send to the municipalities.
Mr. Herz moved to create a Fiscal Recovery Task Force to advise the Mayor and Council to advise the Council regarding the American Recovery Act, adding that this would be a 10 citizen member (2 from each ward and 2 at large picked by the Mayor), and 3 non-voting ex-officio representatives being the Town Manager (or his representative), Scott Boone and Jamie Williams, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried with three (3) in favor, Rev. Tolliver opposed.
Mr. Herz stated that he worked with Jana Carter at the Tourism Office who told him that other County Visitors Centers are now open. He said that restrictions are relaxing statewide, and Health Department will help them to open safely.
Mr. Paul Heckles stated that he owned Twigs & Teacups and said that the downtown business owners are all in favor of reopening the Visitors Center. Ms. Heckles stated that they would be happy to order face masks and hand sanitizers for the center.
Mr. Herz moved to reopen the Visitors Center before Memorial Day, pending Health Department approval, was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he appreciated that people were taking care of their lawns and keeping things tidy in Town. He said that the Kent Attainable house on College Avenue is now fully landscaped and looks beautiful. Rev. Tolliver stated that there has been a veritable housing boom in the Third Ward.
Ms. Efland stated that there have been some noise complaints regarding construction of the YMCA, and she thanked Mr. de Mooy and the Police Department for working on the issues.
Ms. Efland stated that she thought that training should be available to anyone becoming a member of the Council or joining a Commission or Committee. She said that there was a need for it and said she wanted to create a training and for anyone sitting on a board to sign an annual acknowledgement that they participated in the training.
Mr. Herz asked if there were questions or comments from the public.
Ms. Wanda Boyer stated that some of the funding must be spent in the uptown area of Town as they need assistance.
Ms. MacIntosh stated that she needed a document signed for the Arts and Entertainment District, which was past due. Rev. Tolliver moved for Tom Herz to sign the A&E Operating Support Letter of Agreement for the Town, was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Ms. Efland moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:16 p.m. was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Town Clerk Mayor