MAYOR AND COUNCIL
NOVEMBER 7, 2016
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge 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 17, 2016. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council minutes of October 17, 2016 as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating cash on hand for unrestricted use is $2,029,188.33 and there was assigned funds for waterfront initiatives in the amount of $180,480.00 included in those funds.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Ms. Gross moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mr. Stetson stated that he seemed to be signing numerous checks to the solar company and asked for an explanation. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town pays for the solar power produced and other bills paid are to Delmarva Power for distribution charges. He said that he still would like to have a specialized auditor to go through all invoicing for power since last December when the solar array went online.
Ms. Rebekah Hock was present to discuss the 10th Annual Goose Bump Jump that was scheduled to take place at Betterton Beach on Saturday, November 12th from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Ms. Hock stated that she brought some friends with her from Kent Center and introduced Mr. Michael Adams and Mr. Dave Quinn. Ms. Hock stated that the Center has received sponsorships of over $16,000.00 and an additional $5,000.00 from teams that have been formed, which brought them a little more than halfway to their goal of $40,000.00. The funds will be used to match a grant from the MTA for 3 new busses to transport the 60 individuals in the community served by the Kent Center. Ms. Hock asked for all to come out and show their support for the Kent Center.
Ms. Kristen Owen of the Downtown Chestertown Association was present and stated that Santa will be arriving in Chestertown on Friday, November 25th at 7:00 p.m. She said that Town employees and the Garden Club will begin putting up the Christmas decorations in Town next week.
Ms. Owen stated that on Thursday, November 17th there will be a holiday shopping night downtown and the businesses will have specials that evening.
Ms. Owen stated that on Saturday, November 26th at 10 a.m., the Kent County Christmas Parade will take place beginning at Dixon Drive and running down High Street. Ms. Owen stated that Saturday, November 26th was also Small Business Saturday and encouraged everyone to shop locally. She said that the Downtown Chestertown Association has been named the “Neighborhood Champion” for Small Business Saturday and American Express was supplying the shops with giveaways throughout the day. The vendors have adopted a “passport” concept which provided an extra incentive for shoppers on Small Business Saturday. Passports were free and could be found at the local shops.
Ms. Owen stated that 3rd Annual Winterfest Weekend would be held from December 2nd through the 4th. First Friday, December 2nd will be the kick-off for the weekend.
Mr. Brandt Troup of the Chestertown Recreation Commission was present and said he wanted to thank the Mayor and Council for the fence around the Ajax Park and said that some benches from the Fountain Park had been moved there. He said the swing set, play equipment, and tether ball now installed, the area was coming along nicely. He said he would be grateful if the basketball court could be blacktopped. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the work would probably take place when other asphalt work is taking place nearby as blacktopping of the basketball court was not in this year’s budget.
Mr. Troup stated that the Commission was looking toward work at the Washington Park space. There was a Community Parks and Playgrounds grant filed last year for the park but it was not awarded. He said that some ideas from the neighborhood association were for cornhole boards or horseshoe pits. A swing set has been donated to the park that will be rehabbed and installed. Benches from Fountain Park will also be installed. Mr. Troup stated that the neighborhood has asked for a pavilion and full court basketball.
Mr. Stetson stated that the pavilion at Bailey Park was funded by donations and cost approximately $7,000.00. Mr. Troup stated that the Washington Park Neighborhood Group has taken in some donations over the years, but he did not think that they had that much in funding. Mayor Cerino stated that he would prefer to renovate the existing basketball at Washington Park, noting that the full courts were just installed at Gateway Park.
Ms. Carol Mylander would prepare a rendering of the park and Mr. Troup would return with a supply list. Mayor Cerino stated that he thought it might be best to wait until the spring to install the swing set so it did not sit through winter.
Mr. Shoge stated that he wanted to recognize the efforts that the Washington Park Association was making to better their neighborhood. Ms. Kuiper stated that the residents should look to see if there were any funds left from the Springfield Foundation. Mr. Shoge stated that he read that the neighborhood would like to rename the park “Louisa Carpenter Park” in honor of Ms. Carpenter’s work with the early residents of Washington Park. Mr. Shoge stated that if the park came together a ribbon-cutting could be scheduled for spring.
Mr. Troup asked if the unpainted bench from Fountain Park could be installed at Washington Park by the raingarden. He said that it would be a good faith gesture so the community would know that the Town was interested in making improvements.
Mr. Troup stated that he distributed a letter of recommendation for Rebuilding Together Kent County that he would like approval from the Council to send. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the group had also asked for a plaque on the fence with their name and he said that he thought that was a great idea to thank them for installing the fence.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. MacIntosh and Ms. Massoni would like to make a presentation. Ms. MacIntosh stated that in 2013 the Town received a National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” Grant to fund a series of public forums culminating in a comprehensive plan for public art, with a special focus on the waterfront area. A national design competition was held and the first piece of art “Broad Reach” was awarded to David Hess and consisted of two large pieces of brushed steel resembling a wave and sail. They were designed to be a play area for children at the entrance of Wilmer Park.
Ms. MacIntosh stated that the project was waiting funding and said that private citizens have risen close to 60% of the funds required to manufacture, transport and install the playscape. Ms. MacIntosh stated that this evening the Arts & Entertainment District was entering into the public fundraising portion of funding for the sculpture.
Ms. Massoni stated that many people know that Alex Castro has been instrumental in so many programs in Chestertown and when people found out that he was moving, it occurred to them that this was a perfect time to bring the Broad Reach initiative into play to honor Mr. Castro. She said that they wanted to surprise Mr. Castro and in the first 3 weeks they reached out privately to friends of Mr. Castro and had raised over $75,000.00. Ms. Massoni stated that they have now reached $80,000.00 and funds were still coming in from private citizens.
Ms. Massoni stated that for the Arts & Entertainment District achieving the first step of this Master Plan is important and speaks to the energy of the District. Ms. Massoni stated that this first rush of donations was from friends of Mr. Castro to show how much they care for him and appreciate his efforts, but now was the time to go public as the art would serve the entire community, noting that a “Go Fund Me” page can be found on the Chestertown website or by making a check to “Town of Chestertown” with the memo “Project Broad Reach”. The goal was to complete funding by February 2017 with a dedication in the spring. There will be a ceremonial groundbreaking on Saturday, November 19th at 11:00 a.m. at the entrance of Wilmer Park.
Mr. Shoge stated that it was hard to speak about Mr. Castro as he was so incredible it was difficult to articulate. He said that this project was terrific and captured the energy and direction in which the Town was moving.
Ms. Massoni stated that the Town was working hard to get funding for the Marina project and the Arts & Entertainment District did not want to muddy the waters and confuse the two projects. She said that Mr. Castro lives where he can see the sculpture and around each corner is something that Mr. Castro has had a part in making a reality. Ms. Massoni stated that Broad Reach will put Chestertown on the map in terms of national art. She said that Mr. Hess has an extraordinary reputation and this was a beautiful piece of sculpture which is normally found in major cities.
Mr. Shoge stated that with all of the improvements to the community in the playgrounds and now this sculpture it was time for the Town to find a way to market Chestertown to young families. Ms. Massoni stated that the first step was to send the message to young families already here that there are places for children and as the Town keeps moving forward it will happen.
Mr. Ingersoll asked the Council to sign the official Zoning Map, based on the newly annexed area and zoning changes just passed.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. de Mooy put forward a Renewable Energy Policy Program for the Mayor to sign that included Chestertown’s intent to take a leadership role in generating renewable energy, partnering with the Maryland Energy Administration by enrolling as a Maryland Smart Energy Community. Mr. Ingersoll stated that a tangible part of this was to help the new police station become more efficient with their energy.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Marina plans are finished. He said that this year the Town was going to try to work on the basin project, renewing and raising the bulk head. He said that the work that could be done prior to breaking down the whole marina would be completed which was a $380,000.00 to $400,000.00 bid he planned to open by mid-December. Mr. Ingersoll stated that this work will ready the Town for the last big push.
Mayor Cerino stated that he had a meeting with a member of the Governor’s staff and several secretaries from various State agencies to discuss the Marina project. He said that they are all aware that Chestertown has asked for $1.5 million from the miscellaneous projects portion of the Capital Budget. He said that they are all working to find funding in the budget through other parts of the Capital Budget, if it didn’t come out of the miscellaneous funds. Mayor Cerino state that the binders of support letters have been distributed.
Ms. Gross stated that she attended a ribbon cutting for two businesses in Town that relocated to 854 High Street, Salon 854 and Creative Focus Photography.
Ms. Gross stated that the bridge to Byford Court was wonderful but the residents were not too keen on the new speedbumps that were installed. Mr. Ingersoll stated that usually a community is asked to tell the Town that they all want speed bumps. He said that when the bridge was being rebuilt and people were still going too fast. The street superintendent recommended speed bumps at this location as a result. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would like to the leave the speed bump closest to Maple Avenue in place as a reminder to slow down.
Ms. Kuiper stated that there was a ribbon cutting for Spa Angels on Park Row at November’s First Friday.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Harlem Ambassadors will be at the Kent County High School to play basketball on Wednesday, November 2nd beginning at 7 p.m. Mayor Cerino stated that he and Chief Baker were playing against the Harlem Ambassadors with team “Crabbers”, noting that Chief Baker was the power forward on their team.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she met with Environmental Health as a result of a request from vendors regarding samplings. Ms. Kuiper stated that if the Mayor and Council decide to allow samplings of food, Kent County would have to apply for the State License for Samplings of Foods at Farmers Markets. In addition to that, Kent County will determine how much it will cost for inspection of those vendors offering samples.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she thought any costs should be borne by the vendor offering the samples and they must provide all necessary equipment to comply with licensing. Ms. Kuiper stated that anyone interested in offering samples would also have to get a permit from the Health Department to display at their table. The Market Manager would be responsible for determining who has met the criteria for offering samples. Ms. Kuiper stated that there was a second component to the request which was preparation of food at the market and she said that she was not personally in favor of that. Ms. Kuiper stated that disposal of all liquids and food could not be disposed of in Town drains or any part of the park.
Ms. Kuiper asked for the Council to think about sampling and then she would move forward based on the Council’s wishes. Mayor Cerino stated that he liked the idea of sampling as long as the Town does not pay any fees associated with it.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she received a call from a brewery asking to sample at the Farmers Market and said that she did not know the laws for beer sampling but would look into them.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she attended the dedication of the new benches in Fountain Park and said that each bench was donated in memory of a loved one. She said that the benches were a lovely addition to the Park. Mayor Cerino stated that over $10,000.00 was donated toward the benches mainly from Garden Club members.
Mr. Shoge stated that Downrigging Weekend was amazing. He said that Sultana did an amazing job and he had never seen the Town so busy.
Mr. Shoge stated that a request he had was to repaint lines on High Street. He said that there was a report when they did a sidewalk study and crosswalk repainting was something that should be done in the future, suggesting that it be added to next year’s budget.
Mr. Shoge stated that the Young Professionals’ Brewfest held over the weekend was a success with approximately 200 tickets sold. He said that the Young Professionals hope to make this an annual event.
Mr. Stetson stated that two new businesses were opening in Ward 4. He said that a ribbon cutting was scheduled for Think Big on November 18th and Advanced Auto Parts was scheduled to open soon.
Mr. Stetson stated that the Halloween Parade was great and thanked the Lions Club for a job well done.
Ms. Gross reminded everyone to exercise their right and privilege to vote in the election on November 8th.
Mayor Cerino asked for questions or comments from the audience. Ms. MacIntosh stated that she wanted to remind everyone that the Chestertown Coloring Book was now for sale, at a cost of $20.00 per book and was a fundraiser for the Arts & Entertainment District. The coloring book could be purchased at Town Hall and other shops downtown. Mayor Cerino stated that the coloring book featured local scenes and businesses and was a great holiday gift.
There being no further business, Mr. Shoge moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:15 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor