MAYOR AND COUNCIL
NOVEMBER 18, 2019
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers David Foster, Linda C. Kuiper, Ellsworth Tolliver and Mauritz Stetson, W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the Mayor and Council Meeting of November 4, 2019 or the Budget Workshop meeting of November 13, 2019. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of November 4, 2019 as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Budget Workshop minutes of November 13, 2019, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating funds on hand for unrestricted use was $1,521,612.60. Restricted funds for the Marina were set aside in the amount of $20,314.42.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Ms. Kuiper asked for a description of the bill for Baycraft. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the bill was for work shirts for the Street Crew. Mr. Stetson moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that Ms. Kiley Shipp will attend the first meeting in December to discuss 4th of July fireworks.
Ms. Samantha Branham (Marina Manager) was present to give an update on the first season. Ms. Branham stated that she began the season with twenty-six (26) contracts and ended it with thirty-five (35). She said that they already have thirty-two (32) slip holders registered for 2020 (eighteen (18) of which are confirmed) and she was working on contracts and payments until the end of the month. Ms. Branham stated that there were seven (7) boats in winter storage last year and this year she has eight (8) confirmed with the potential for a total of eleven (11).
Ms. Branham stated that this summer there were four (4) dockhands whose role was to assist all boaters with their needs as they arrived and to help them get acquainted with the Marina and downtown areas. She said that from May to November there were one thousand and eleven (1,011) overnight stays, averaging 68% full for the overall season. In the first quarter, the Marina averaged 84% capacity each weekend. She said that she thought that was good since there had been no advertising and there were still some marina waterside projects taking place at the beginning of the season. Ms. Branham stated that this upcoming season she would like to work on getting in more weekday use of slips by boaters.
Ms. Branham stated that the Marina sold over 10,000 gallons of gas and just shy of 9,000 gallons of diesel during the season. She said that for 2020, she already has five (5) yacht clubs confirmed for weekends and there were three (3) weekends that already have wait lists (Tea Party, the Jazz Festival, and Downrigging) and the HP Festival weekend is almost fully booked. Ms. Branham stated that this year Sultana had use of fourteen (14) slips for Downrigging but all other slips were full with slip holders and transient boaters.
Ms. Branham stated that over winter she would like to focus on growing social media, connecting with the downtown businesses and promoting weekday stays.
Ms. Branham stated that many boats anchored out during Downrigging but used the dinghy docks and bought fuel. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there were never so many boats anchored out as there were this year.
Mayor Cerino stated he would like to have a forum with the downtown businesses on how to tie the Marina into the downtown shopping experience. Rev. Tolliver asked what comments Ms. Branham has heard from the visitors. Ms. Branham stated that all comments were good, and everyone liked the maps they use to direct people into Town. Mr. Stetson asked if there were comments cards. Ms. Branham stated that most people use marinas.com or Google reviews to leave feedback. She said that she would send out a mailer over the winter asking everyone who had stayed overnight to review the Marina on social media.
Ms. Branham stated that there is a total of sixty-three (63) slips at the Marina. There were a few slips without electric and are mainly times used by day boaters, noting that two (2) had been rented by 98 Cannon Street Riverside Grille. She said that they can accommodate twenty-five transient boaters in addition to the seasonal slip rentals they have.
Acting Chief Dolgos presented the Police Report for October 2019. Mr. Stetson asked why the percentages only came to 87.5%. Acting Chief Dolgos stated that time for breaks, mealtimes, and some administrative duties are not calculated into the overall figures.
Acting Chief Dolgos stated that to cut costs from the budget he forwarded a proposal for savings on gas, cut the part-time secretary position (savings of $14,000.00), and was able to decrease overtime by twenty-six (26) hours in October. Mr. Stetson asked how many people were working during a normal day shift. Acting Chief Dolgos stated that there were four (4), including himself, a detective and two (2) patrol officers, noting that one patrol officer did not report until 1 p.m. Acting Chief Dolgos stated that there were always two (2) officers on duty nights and weekends.
Ms. Kuiper asked if the increased Fountain Park patrol checks were due to the homeless population. Acting Chief Dolgos stated that they had received calls of people in the park late at night and fighting so he stepped up the patrol. Ms. Kuiper stated that she read that UMMS will be using twelve (12) beds at the Hospital for mental health beds and that there will be transport from the county of origin to the Hospital and back. Ms. Kuiper stated that she works in the mental health field and knows that many of these people walk off, leaving against medical advice. She said that she would like to suggest a meeting with Ken Kozel at UMMS in order to discuss the plan that will be in place before the beds go to mental health so that the homeless population did not begin to increase, especially in the colder weather when the shelter was not open.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the proposal for gas from Acting Chief Dolgos was helpful, but he has had experience in the past where the immediate price is good, but it quickly becomes the maximum price. He also said that the bid was not local, and our policy is to stay local when possible, bid the contract and then should problems arise the contractor is nearby and can respond in a timely fashion.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that an election was held on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 and read the results into the record to certify the election as follows:
Ward 2: Thomas A. Herz, Jr.: 167
Linda C. Kuiper: 63
Ward 4: Meghan Efland: 41
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would like for Chestertown to get on the Presidential and Gubernatorial Election schedule and be on those ballots rather than having to bear the cost of municipal elections. He said that in addition to saving money there would be an increased turnout. The State of Maryland no longer aided municipalities with use of voting machines or any other aspects of an election. He said that the company the Town used cost as much for an election for two (2) wards as the 2017 Election where two wards and the Mayoral race were held. Mr. Ingersoll thanked Ms. Mulligan for her excellent work on the Election.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Tom Sappington was doing a fantastic job building the one lane exit road from South Water Street to South Queen Street. The base would be finished before winter and could be further compacted before asphalt paving was done.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Eastern Shore Association of Municipalities Legislative Dinner has been scheduled on a Mayor and Council meeting night due to the Martin Luther King Holiday. He suggested moving the January 21st meeting to Monday, January 27, 2020 so that the members of the Council who would like to attend the ESAM dinner can do so. The Council agreed.
Mayor Cerino asked for Ward Reports.
Mr. Foster stated that things were running well in the First Ward.
Mr. Foster stated that he attended a nice event at Faith Life Church with some other members of the Council and the Police Department.
Mr. Foster stated that he had attended the Ethics Training at the Town Hall on the previous Friday and said that it was interesting, and he got clarification on a personal matter regarding lead regulations. He said that as an owner of rental properties, each time there is a change in tenants a new lead certification is required, and this becomes expensive. He said that if replacement windows were permitted in the Historic District it would lessen the burden on landlords. He said that he thought bringing this issue up before the Historic District Commission could be viewed as a conflict of interest for him as a Council person. He said that he received good advice from the Ethics Chair on how to proceed.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Dickens Festival is taking place in the downtown beginning December 6, 2019 and running through December 8, 2019.
Ms. Kuiper stated that this past Saturday there was a funeral at Janes Church while all the other Saturday activities were taking place and cars were parked all over, including on the areas with yellow curb in the town parking lot. She said that the lines were so faded, it would be impossible for a person to know that the curbs were at one time painted yellow. Ms. Kuiper asked if the curbs could be repainted.
Mr. Foster stated that he received requests from residents to paint the center line on High Street. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had a request in to State Highway to paint High Street, noting that there is going to be a cost associated with it.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he attended a workshop on poverty earlier this week and said that they needed to continue working on the quality of life in Kent County. Rev. Tolliver stated that there are many people in the area suffering and in need of assistance.
Rev. Tolliver thanked Mr. Ingersoll for his help with the vulture situation in Washington Park. He said that this was still an issue for some homeowners in that area and he did not want them roosting in the Carpenter Park in the future.
Rev. Tolliver stated that the Good Seeds program had their dedication at Garnet Elementary School, and he said the improvements look great.
Rev. Tolliver that the Third Ward businesses are forming the “Uptown Business Association” which he hoped would be up and running in early 2020.
Mr. Stetson stated that it would be nice to see the police drive through the 4th Ward as people are parking on the wrong side of the street. He said that those offenders should be given written warnings.
Mr. Stetson stated that he would like to propose an Ordinance prohibiting aggressive dogs in the Dog Park. He distributed copies of the proposed ordinance to the Council. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town adopted Kent County’s Dog Ordinance by reference so the County would have to agree to enforce this proposal if it was added to that Ordinance. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he will ask Animal Control if they would enforce the proposal before moving forward. He said otherwise the Council could decide to pass a Dog Park Ordinance that would be enforced by the Town as civil citations. Mayor Cerino stated that he thought “aggressive” could be subjective and thought the language should be adjusted.
Mayor Cerino wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. He said that Santa arrives to Town at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 29th and the Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, November 30th at 10:00 a.m.
Mayor Cerino stated that beginning this weekend, Annie was running at the Garfield Center for the Arts and would continue throughout the holiday season.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Carpenter Park in the Washington Park development is almost finished, and it looks great.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:23 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor