In an unusually brief meeting, the Chestertown Council approved two appointments, heard the Utilities Commission report, and heard from a Heron Point resident in support of retaining the town police force.
Mayor Chris Cerino gave a brief report on the dedication ceremonies at the newly refurbished Chestertown Marina, noting the number of state cabinet members present. He also said that the Sultana Downrigging festival was a success, due to a “perfect storm” of the new marina facilities being available for the first time and the addition of a bluegrass festival to the activities. He said the downtown merchants and restaurants saw significant business because of the festival. He estimated that festival attendees spend some $100,000 in town over the weekend.
The council has scheduled a workshop meeting to discuss first-quarter budget figures. The meeting, at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, was scheduled at the request of council members who said they want a more detailed review of the budget than they get from the summaries provided at their regular meetings. The session is open to the public, but comments from the public will not be accepted.
The council also approved permits for the Dickens Christmas festival, Dec. 6-8. Kay MacIntosh of Main Street Chestertown said the street closures and other details are essentially the same as last year. The routes for the 5K “Run Like the Dickens” race and the carriage rides are also unchanged. She said that High Street will reopen to traffic in the evenings earlier than last year, with activities moving at 4 p.m. to the foot of the street, where there will be bonfires and refreshments. Acting Police Chief John Dolgos said his department had been consulted on the street closures and had no problems.
Town Manager Bill Ingersoll read a letter of thanks from the Chestertown Lions Club for the town’s help with the annual Hallowe’en parade, which the Lions sponsor. Ingersoll said the town police did “a heck of a job” in view of all the activities taking place over the weekend, which coincided with the Sultana Downrigging festival. Councilman Marty Stetson said the Hallowe’en parade is the best organized of all the parades in town.
By unanimous votes, the council approved the appointment of Barbara Creegan to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Kurt Smith to the Historic District Commission.
Cerino announced an Ethics Training session for 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15 in town hall. The session is open to the public.
In the Utilities Commission meeting, town Utilities Manager Bob Sipes reported that his department purchased several pieces of equipment. They included replacement parts for the ultraviolet lighting equipment at the wastewater plant, at about $6,000; a new impeller for the Radcliffe Creek station, at $8,000; and a push camera at $8,000. The camera allows utilities workers to inspect the inside of pipes for blockages or leaks. Sipes said the camera could save residents the cost of a call to Roto-Rooter.
Sipes also reported on a water leak on Queen Street, which became evident after the street was recently repaved. Because of the repaving, he said, he doesn’t want to keep digging to find the leak. There’s not a lot of water running off, so it doesn’t present a hazard. Sipes said the utilities crew will pump out an existing hole and try to see which direction the water is coming from, using a microphone. “I was hoping that the leak would get worse,” so the source could be more easily identified, he said.
At the end of the meeting, Heron Point resident Ernie Maher addressed the council. He said that over the years, he had lived in a number of small towns and had become interested in how they operate. He said that in towns where the Mayor and Council work together with the police department, “there’s a real pride in our town.” The police become “our friends,” protecting families and being regarded as “part of the group.” He contrasted this to larger cities, where police are often perceived by residents as “the enemy.” Referring to proposals to merge the town police with the Kent County Sheriff’s office, he said, “I just think it would be a tragic loss to Chestertown to give up our own police department.”
The meeting adjourned at 7:56.