MAYOR AND COUNCIL
NOVEMBER 2, 2015
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper 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 October 19, 2015 and the Special Meeting of the same date. Mr. Stetson moved to adopt the minutes as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Chief Baker was present and called forward Officer Michelle Leone and promoted to her to Corporal. Mayor Cerino then swore Corporal Leone into the rank of Corporal.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Kuiper had asked to discuss the study for the consolidation of the Kent County Elementary Schools. Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like the Mayor and Council to write a letter to the Kent County School Board and the Kent County Commissioners asking that Henry Highland Garnett Elementary School not be included for closure as a part of the consolidation. Ms. Kuiper stated that not only was Chestertown the County seat, but there were many advantages to having an elementary school located in Town limits. She said that the school has a history in Chestertown and has access to the library, the Judy Center, Head Start and other services and assets that are not available to parents and students in other parts of the County.
Mayor Cerino stated that based on 5th grade populations, Worton Elementary has the highest enrollment at thirty-eight (38), Garnett was a close second at thirty-six (36), Galena had twenty-five (25), Rock Hall at twenty-one (21) and Millington at seventeen (17). He said assuming there were thirty-five (35) students in each grade that put each school about one hundred eighty (180) children in each school, noting that Garnett and Worton likely had the largest population out of all of the elementary schools.
Ms. Gross stated that if the Town wrote a support letter the Council it should point out what distinguishes Garnett Elementary School from other schools. Ms. Kuiper stated that Washington College students also volunteer at the school and may not be able to find transportation to other schools.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would work on a draft letter and share it with the Council for revisions. Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like to get the letter out this week, if possible.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Tuesday, November 3rd was Election Day in the Second and Fourth Wards. The Election will run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chestertown Fire Hall, 211 Maple Avenue.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had a permit request for Santa’s Arrival on Friday, November 27th at 7:00 p.m. and a permit request for the Christmas Parade which would take place on Saturday, November 28th at 10 a.m. along High Street. Both events were sponsored by the Downtown Chestertown Association. The Council agreed to the request.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that beginning on Monday, November 9th, lower Cannon Street would be closed from Water Street to the Marina parking lot for the submarine boring by Delmarva Power. There was a map indicating the portion of Cannon Street that would be closed off (near the Town Pumping Station). Pipe will be pushed from the Queen Anne’s side of the river at a depth of twenty-five (25) feet below the river bottom. Work was expected to take approximately one month.
Mr. Jeff Carroll of the Fish Whistle asked if there was way to make Water Street from Cannon street towards the Wilmer Park “No Parking” on either side of the street for the duration of the work to allow for traffic flow.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to reappoint Mr. Bill Arrowood to the Recreation Commission for a four (4) year term. Ms. Gross stated that she thought Mr. Arrowood had resigned from the Commission. Mayor Cerino stated that he resigned as Chair but still wanted to be a member. Mr. Stetson moved to reappoint Mr. Bill Arrowood to the Recreation Commission for a four (4) year term, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that he, Mr. Ingersoll and Mr. Sipes met with Secretary Benjamin Grumbles earlier in the day at MDE’s headquarters in Baltimore. He said that there were other representatives from MDE at the meeting, including Chris Ralston and Horacio Tablada. Mayor Cerino stated that he directly expressed his concerns regarding the procedures being implemented at the Hospital and pointed out what would happen in the event that contaminants escaped the site and hit the Town’s wellheads. Mayor Cerino stated that he also brought up the fact that the Town was not always made aware of what was taking place regarding the clean-up effort, noting that Well #8 was permanently shut down and the Town never received any compensation for the loss of it. He reiterated to Secretary Grumbles that the pump and treat system at the Hospital was completely shut off for almost a year in 2011 and the Town was never notified. During that period the amount of product measured in the monitoring wells increased and the recovery effort had to be restarted.
Mayor Cerino stated that Secretary Grumbles seemed receptive to the concerns expressed and was empathetic to the Town’s position and the fact that the Town wanted to safeguard their population’s water supply.
Mayor Cerino stated that Secretary Grumbles indicated that he would consider and discuss the possibility of creating a consent agreement outlining what happens in the event of a closeout, continued testing on site, and financial assurances. Mayor Cerino stated that now they would wait and see what happens.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that in explaining the history to Secretary Grumbles he pointed out the continued need for mutual communication, noting that MDE said it was their responsibility to protect the Town’s wellfields in 1991 and the same held true to this day, regardless of cost or how much oil has been removed from the ground.
Ms. Gross stated that she was unhappy with the reporting from the Hospital to the Town as she learned that the State had already approved moving to Priority Zone II and she just heard about it. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he brought up the fact to MDE that he thought there was going to be discussion about the results of Priority Zone I before moving to Priority Zone II. Mr. Ingersoll stated that it was also his understanding that very little product was recovered in the Priority Zone I phase.
Mayor Cerino said that he told Secretary Grumbles that not knowing how much oil was underground was disturbing because the pump and treat systems generally only get out half of the product. He said that all of the decisions were being made by MDE and all the Town could do was insist upon a seat at the table to express their points.
Mr. David Foster stated that he had the opportunity to speak to Secretary Grumbles a couple weeks before and was left with the impression that Secretary Grumbles had not yet been briefed on the status of the recovery effort at the Hospital.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended the Council of Governments (COG) meeting last week and there was a speaker from the Kent County Commission on Aging who talked about surveys they were taking to find out what services were needed in order for the elderly to continue to live in Kent County. The surveys were available at Town Hall locations in the County and the Health Department. Anyone over sixty (60) years of age was asked to participate.
Mr. Stetson stated that the Health Department also had a speaker at COG who meeting indicated that Kent County was failing when it came to the youth of the County acquiring tobacco products. Mr. Stetson stated that the consequences of that is that grant monies are taken away from programs for prevention against drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Mr. Stetson stated that public access channels 7 and 77 were being worked on regarding sound and picture. He said that he was hoping the access channels would be back in working condition in a short amount of time.
Mr. Stetson stated that he wanted to thank those who supported him throughout the election and reminded everyone in the Fourth Ward to get out and vote.
Ms. Kuiper stated that things were moving along with the SHA Task Force and that a final report would be forthcoming.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Downrigging Weekend in Chestertown was packed and that Sultana should be commended for such a wonderful event. She said that everyone also enjoyed the Halloween Parade and thanked the Lions Club.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the next big weekend in Town was Winterfest which was scheduled for December 4th through December 6th.
Ms. Kuiper stated that it was possible that during the upcoming holidays the Farmers Market would return to Wednesday afternoons in addition to Saturdays.
Ms. Gross stated that she thought Downrigging this year was the best yet. She said that she would like to know if there was a method to quantify events of this nature and their impact on Town. Mayor Cerino stated that data of that nature would speak to how important it was to get the Marina improvements under way.
Ms. Gross encouraged residents to get their flu shots.
Ms. Kuiper thanked Mr. Carroll for all of the food from the Fish Whistle for Downrigging.
Mr. Dan Menefee asked if Secretary Grumbles actually said that MDE was responsible for the protection of the water in Chestertown. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the point was brought up due to a letter from 1991 that said that. Mayor Cerino stated that MDE has been forthcoming that they are ultimately responsible for protecting the drinking water supply of Chestertown.
Mr. Carroll stated that he wanted to thank the Town for allowing the Fish Whistle the tent for the Sultana party. He also thanked the Town Police for keeping an eye on the tent during the weekend. Mr. Carroll stated that Mr. J.R. Nicholson at the Marina worked really hard to get things in shape for the weekend as well.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay the bills. Mr. Stetson moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Ms. Gross moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor