• City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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City Council Meeting Minutes

May 26, 2015
The City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 in Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Vickers, Sydnor, Cooke, Thomas, and Hanson. Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley asked for a moment of silence. Commissioner Hanson led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

A motion by Commissioner Thomas to amend the agenda by adding the following items under New Business: (1) Update on City Manager search committee; (2) Resolutions appointing agents to the City; and (3) Request to put advertisement in the Dorchester Banner was seconded and passed unanimously.

A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve the minutes of the May 11, 2015 Council meeting was seconded and passed unanimously.

Public Hearings

Public input and comment on the proposed FY2016 budget-Rob Collison started the presentation with a summary. If approved, Ordinance 1047 will set the real property tax assessment at the current rate of $0.7989 for each $100 of assessed valuation of real property. The personal property tax will remain at $1.69 for each $100 of assessable personal property. The General Fund is proposed in the amount $14,029,755. The Sewer Enterprise Fund budget is proposed in the amount of $4,365,000. The Marina Enterprise Fund budget is proposed in the amount of $568,192. The Municipal Utilities Commission budget is proposed in the amount of $1,857,776. Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley said in working with the proposed budget, on April 16th the beginning balance was $14,029,030. With the move toward fully funding the City Manager position for the entire year, an additional $31,050 was added. The City Manager operating costs were increased to cover the full year which will be an additional $6,772. With an upcoming retirement in the Finance Department, Council will move from having a Finance Specialist to an upgrade of a Finance Director with a salary increase of $15,772. Council is re-inserting the two new positions in the municipal properties division of the Department of Public Works. The Economic Development Director's salary has been increased back to a full-time position. The City Planner position will be fully funded to its original figure which will add an additional $7,976. Benefits for all those positions will come to $38,064 which changes our budget expense to $14,203,773. On April 16th, the beginning balance for the revenue was $14,029,030. The constant yield figures that Mr. Collison eluded to give us an additional $725. We will receive $8,060 less this year in Police Aid Protection funds. The undesignated reserve to capture all of these different increases and expenses will be $182,078 which will balance the expenses and the revenue at $14,203,773. Those are the only changes that she proposed to Council since their last discussion in April. Commissioner Cooke asked about the salary of the Finance Director. Mayor Stanley said it is $66,993. Commissioner Hanson asked for an explanation of the constant yield increase. Rob Collison said there were some additional assessments added to the base. It could have been new construction. Commissioner Cooke said it has been discussed on the County side that since they are the larger funder of Economic Development that the City fund a position within the County as opposed to operating our own office. It has been discussed in various smaller meetings. Commissioner Thomas said Council received a memo that said the County could replace our Economic Development Department for just $30,000. He questions and challenges this statement. He thinks it is important that the City maintain an Economic Development Department in cooperation with Dorchester County and he would not be willing to give that up. We have too much at risk at this time. Commissioner Hanson said it needs a lot more study. Oden Wheeler said another item that will affect revenue and expenses both, is the Cannery Park stream restoration project. The City budgeted $1.3 million; the revenue is budgeted equal to that. The City was notified on Friday (May 22nd) that we are going to receive $1.8 million. Therefore we need to increase the expense and revenue which will offset each other.

Richard Lalka said every year Council asks him to talk about budgeting and how to get more money. He said he previously spoke about selling houses for one dollar and giving the new owner one year to get their stuff together which would give us positive tax revenue. This would give the City $30,000 or $40,000 or better a year on property taxes. He said he always talks about Long Wharf. He asked if the City makes $500,000 there or if they are still short. He thinks they need to sell.

Steve Rideout said he was looking at the summary of the General Fund and asked for more detail before the next public hearing in regard to the miscellaneous expenses of over $2 million. In regard to the marina, he gets the impression that the marina doesn't make money and it doesn't make money because it is a floating dock and people won't come and there are 50-foot slips that aren't deep enough. He is wondering if the City has spent any money to look at what alternatives there are to simply laying out an additional $150,000 to $200,000 a year and interest on the marina. He knows it has been suggested that it be sold, but the problem is that we have a debt on it that he doesn't think the City is willing to assume in exchange for what they might be able to sell it for. He doesn't know what the answer is but spending $200,000 a year for nothing without looking at other possibilities is not a very good vision for the marina. He encouraged Council to look at it in the coming year to change the dynamic in some way. In response to a question from Commissioner Sydnor, Oden Wheeler said the City will transfer about $193,000 from the General Fund to the Marina Fund for FY2016.

Nobody else asked to speak. Public comments will be taken at the next meeting also.

Community Development Block Grant Application - infrastructure and streetscape improvements on 300 block of High Street-This public hearing was advertised in the Star Democrat on May 21, 2015. Originally the City was planning to apply for $800,000 toward the renovations of the wharf at Sailwinds Park. Because the City is further along with plans and the engineering study for High Street, they feel the High Street project would be rated higher than the Sailwinds project at this point. The High Street project is more ‘shovel ready'. Commissioner Sydnor asked if they considered other projects; for instance, sidewalks for Bayly Road which is heavily traveled by school children who are walking in or near the ditches. Oden Wheeler said they did not discuss Bayly Road for this grant round. Part of the reason is because the Bayly Road project is not shovel ready. Commissioner Sydnor asked if the funds could be applied to that area. Oden Wheeler said they could apply for funds for Bayly Road, but it probably would not be rated high due to the fact that the City does not have any plans yet for filling in any of the ditches like they did before. The City received grant money several years ago to fill in some of the ditches along Bayly Road. The engineering study has not been done so he does not think it would meet the definition of shovel ready. Community Development Block Grant funds will not replace the bricks on High Street. They will pay to pave it with asphalt but will not cover the cost to replace the bricks. The bricks are considered over and beyond ordinary. The City has budgeted funds from the sewer fund to replace the bricks. It is the understanding of the Department of Public Works that CDBG would give the City the value of the asphalt paving which could be applied toward the cost of the bricks. The City would be responsible for the cost of the upgrade. Commissioner Vickers said a small group of City representatives spoke to a gentleman who has a solution for funding the bricks. Commissioners Sydnor and Vickers named other streets in Cambridge without sidewalks. Commissioner Vickers said there is a liability issue with the 300 block of High Street. Nobody from the audience asked to speak. A motion by Commissioner Thomas to close the public hearing was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Sydnor opposed.

Appointments

Brandon Hesson, Cambridge Main Street, to discuss Taste of Cambridge on Saturday, July 11, 2015: street closure from the intersection of High and Poplar Streets, to the intersection of Race and Muir Streets, including Gay Street from the entrance into the court house parking lot, across Race Street, and down the road until the parking lot behind Craig's Drug Store; use of Cannery Way; the City's help blocking off the NOVO development lot next to Black Water Bakery (we have permission from Novo, but we will need blockades): closure from 1:00 pm until 11:00 p.m.; variance from the noise ordinance; permission to sell alcohol within these closures; use of City trash cans; permission to hang the Taste of Cambridge banner across Race Street, two weeks before the event-A motion by Commissioner Vickers to approve the requests was seconded and approved unanimously.

Amanda Collins to request permission to use Pavilion A at Great Marsh Park on September 19, 2015 from 12 noon to 4:00 pm, a variance from the noise ordinance and use of the electrical outlets-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve the requests was seconded and approved unanimously.

Mike Starling, Cambridge Community Radio, Inc., to request permission to hold a grand opening of WHCP Radio on July 4th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; a waiver of the noise ordinance from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; blocking of Poplar Street from High Street to Gay Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with police assistance as may be required during the event; permission to serve alcoholic beverages (license obtained by Cambridge Main Street); adequate trash receptacles for the event; and a visit by McGruff-A motion by Commissioner Vickers to approve the requests including supplying additional trash cans was seconded and approved unanimously.

Marquita Pattrick to request permission to block Hubbard Street from Washington Street to her home at 801 Hubbard Street on Saturday, August 8th from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm and a variance from the noise ordinance for her son's birthday party-No action was taken. Ms. Pattrick was not present.

Unfinished Business

Second reading, public comments, and possible vote on ordinance to set the tax rates for FY2016 (Ordinance 1047)-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to adopt Ordinance 1047 was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Sydnor opposed.

Second reading on ordinance to adopt and approve the budget for FY2016 which appropriates the necessary funds for the operation of the government and administration of the City (Ordinance 1048)-The revised figures will be posted on the City's website. Additional public comments will be taken at the June 8, 2015 meeting.

New Business

Discuss Comcast franchise agreement-Chris Comer, Director of Government Affairs for Comcast, said two of the four original employees still work in the Cambridge office. They are being offered the opportunity to apply for other positions within Comcast if the Cambridge office closes. If they are not able to find another position, they would be offered a severance package. Comcast offered to produce a 30-second commercial on the City of Cambridge that would air a minimum of 300 times per county. It would then belong to the City to be used anywhere the City wants to show it. An economic development digital video would also be produced. Rob Collison said it is his understanding that Comcast would like to renegotiate their franchise agreement a year early with a revision to the requirement of having an office in Dorchester County and some other amendments. Chris Comer said he believes it is for a 10-year term which is consistent with the current agreement. Commissioner Sydnor said another component is the franchise fee. It is currently at three percent. It could be changed to an escalating rate up to five percent. Commissioner Cooke suggested accepting Comcast's offer of a new agreement with a ten year period with the terms that have been offered with no increase in the franchise fee and the incentives outlined in Mr. Comer's e-mail. Commissioner Sydnor suggested the franchise fee be increased to four percent the first year and five percent the second year. The users (citizens) pay the franchise fee. Oden Wheeler said a four percent franchise fee would come to roughly $110,000 and a five percent franchise fee would amount to roughly $140,000 that would come to the City assuming they had the same number of customers as they do this year. This year the City received approximately $80,000. Commissioner Hanson said closing the Cambridge office could affect their customer base. Mr. Comer will prepare further information and forward it to Mr. Collison by the end of business of May 29, 2015. Council will decide on the Comcast agreement at the June 8, 2015 meeting.

Request from Hyatt Regency for permission to allow skeet shooting to take place on Hole 17 on the golf course on Thursday, June 18th from 12:30 pm through 5:30 pm-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve the request was seconded and approved unanimously.

Resolution 15-009 - submission of Community Development Block Grant application-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve Resolution 15-009 was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Sydnor opposed.

Contract with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the license agreement between the City of Cambridge and NOAA was seconded and approved unanimously.

Budget amendment for Cambridge Police Department-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve the budget amendment for the Cambridge Police Department was seconded and approved unanimously.

Resolution Appointing Agent for Financial Management (Resolution 15-010)-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve Resolution 15-010 appointing Oden C. Wheeler Jr. as the Agent for Financial Management was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Sydnor opposed.

Resolution Appointment of Agent for Management of Personnel (Resolution 15-011)-A motion by Commissioner Cooke to approve Resolution 15-011 appointing Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley as the Agent for Management of Personnel at City Hall was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Sydnor opposed.

Advertisement in the Dorchester Banner's annual graduation section-A decision will be made at the June 8, 2015 meeting.

Update on City Manager Search Committee-Mayor Stanley said the committee is made up of an outstanding group of passionate caring citizens. The committee met and had several questions. They asked if the Acting City Manager could become the City Manager. The answer is yes. They asked if the $25,000 discretionary fund for the consultant could be used for other things such as advertising, website changes, etc. Commissioner Thomas said it was originally $40,000 and reduced to $25,000 but he thinks it is for the whole process. Commissioner Sydnor said it is for a consultant. Mayor Stanley said it says professional services. Rob Collison said it would require a budget amendment if it is designated for a consultant's salary and they want to use it for something else. Commissioner Sydnor said nothing was put in the budget for advertising. The committee will meet again on June 11th. Rob Collison said Council received several resumes already.

Approve Purchase Orders:

PO 2015-068 - Rexel - 31 LED retrofit kits for antique street lights - $18,600-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve Purchase Order 2015-068 was seconded and approved unanimously.

PO 2015-069 - E.D. Supply Co., Inc. - 12 flag pole Hydrel LED retrofit lights for Public Safety Building - $9,501.36-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve Purchase Order 2015-068 was seconded and approved unanimously.

PO 2015-070 - Atlantic Emergency Solutions Elkhart break apart nozzles - RFC - $5,155.00-A motion by Commissioner Vickers to approve Purchase Order 2015-070 was seconded and approved unanimously.

Mayor's and Commissioners' Comments

Closed Executive Session-A motion by Commissioner Cooke to go into closed executive session directly after this meeting to discuss a matter that concerns the proposal for a business to locate in the City was seconded and approved unanimously. A motion by Commissioner Thomas to go into closed executive session after the first closed session to discuss a personnel issue was seconded and approved unanimously.

A motion by Commissioner Hanson to adjourn the meeting was seconded and approved unanimously.

With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 8:50 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Tuesday, May 26, 2015, insofar as I personally am aware.


_____________________
Victoria Jackson-Stanley
Mayor

COMMISSIONERS OF CAMBRIDGE
CLOSED SESSION REPORT

A Date: May 26, 2015
Time: 8:55 pm
Place: City Council Chambers

B Citation of Authority/Purpose: State Government Article, Section 10-508(a) (check one of the following):

(2) 1 discuss: (i) the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction: or (ii) any other personnel matter that affects one or more specific individuals;
2 protect the privacy or reputation of individuals with respect to a matter that is not related to public business;
3 consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto;
(1) 4 consider a matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the City;
5 consider the investment of public funds;
6 consider the marketing of public securities;
7 consult with counsel to obtain legal advice;
8 consult with staff, consultants, or other individuals about pending or potential litigation:
9 conduct collective bargaining negotiations or consider matters that relate to the negotiations:
10 discuss public security, if the public body determines that public discussion would constitute a risk to the public or to public security, including: (i) the deployment of fire and police services and staff; and (ii) the development and implementation of emergency plans;
11 prepare, administer, or grade a scholastic, licensing, or qualifying examination;
12 conduct or discuss an investigative proceeding on actual or possible criminal conduct;
13 comply with a specific constitutional, statutory, or judicially imposed requirement that prevents public disclosures about a particular proceeding or matter; or
14 before a contract is awarded or bids are opened, discuss a matter directly related to a negotiating strategy or the contents of a bid or proposal, if public discussion or disclosure would adversely impact the ability of the public body to participate in the competitive bidding or proposal process.


C Members present and vote of each member as to closing the session:

Victoria Jackson-Stanley (only in a tie)
Jackie Vickers Vote: X
Donald Sydnor Vote: X
Frank Cooke Vote: X
Gage Thomas Vote: X
Commissioner Hanson Vote: X

Motion to close meeting: Comm. Cooke Seconded: Comm. Thomas

D Topics Discussed: Explanation of topics to be discussed (this may be by reference to the citation of authority listed above if further explanation would thwart the purpose of closing the meeting: [1] A business wishing to relocate to downtown Cambridge [2] a candidate for a vacant position
E Persons Present at the Closed Session: If listing an individual as present would thwart the purpose of closing the meeting, do not list the individual but note that an individual was not listed for this reason Mayor Stanley, Commissioner Vickers, Commissioner Sydnor, Commissioner Cooke, Commissioner Thomas, Commissioner Hanson, Rob Collison, Oden Wheeler
F Actions Taken at the Closed Sessions: No motions were made at either session.