• 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

June 22, 2015
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, June 22, 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 an item under Unfinished Business to present Council with a shovel from the groundbreaking at the Eastern Shore Innovation Center was seconded and passed unanimously.

A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the minutes of the June 8, 2015 Council meeting with an update that the Cubmobile was moved to September 20th was seconded and passed unanimously.

Appointments

Dr. Carl S. Barham, Executive Director-Historical Freedom Shrine project-Dr. Barham, a native of Dorchester County, experienced an epiphany in 2012 while drive up Route 331 and saw the historical monument commemorating ten local men-nine of the men were from North Dorchester and one was from Cambridge. Ultimately it dealt with voting. A law was passed in 1986 that every county in Maryland had to change its practice when it came to voting in terms of at-large voting. District voting became the new law. North Dorchester is the birthplace of voter reform. He presented Council with two historical pictures. One is a photo-montage depicting the ten men who were instrumental in bringing about local change in the policies. The second picture is regarding the 40,000 pound monument made out of blue granite. It is a major historical landmark in Dorchester County. This is his way of giving back to the community. On behalf of the City of Cambridge, Mayor Stanley thanked Dr. Barham for remembering the City of Cambridge.

Barbara Seese, Dorchester Center for the Arts to request permission to hold their 39th Dorchester Showcase on High Street (Poplar/Locust Streets to Water Street) on Sunday, September 27, 2015 from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm, a variance from the noise ordinance, and assistance from the Department of Public Works and Cambridge Police Department-A motion by Commissioner Vickers to approve the requests was seconded and approved unanimously.

Nancy Andrew, Habitat for Humanity Choptank, to request a resolution to support their 2016 application for Community Investment Tax Credits-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to authorize Mayor Stanley to sign Resolution 2015-012 was seconded and approved unanimously.

Sheyne Adams to request permission to allow motorcycle parking on both sides of Pine Street from Cross Street to Cedar Street on Friday, June 26th, from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am during a benefit at the Elks for a family that experienced a house fire-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve the request was seconded and approved unanimously.

Request from New Beginnings Youth & Family Services for a resolution to support their 2016 application for Community Investment Tax Credits-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to authorize Mayor Stanley to sign Resolution 2015-013 was seconded and approved unanimously.

James Schneider to request a reduction in fines against 314 West End Avenue, 712 Glasgow Street, and 421 Maryland Avenue-Mr. Schneider has been a tax sale buyer for the past several years. On May 14th he received a court order granting him possession of the property at 314 West End Avenue. The Treasury Office told him that there were a lot of fines and liens against this property (approx. $18,000) because the previous owner neglected it. He doesn't know how someone would know about the fines except for their own due diligence to see if there are any other charges. He understands the City wants to fine delinquent homeowners; however, the previous owner has abandoned the property. The City is cutting the grass and charging $300 each time. They are piling up lots and lots of charges that get converted into tax liens. The City is not notifying the people who hold the tax certificate. Commissioner Sydnor said there are other pieces of property out there that the owner may come to the City to ask for tax abatement. Oden Wheeler said anyone who purchases a property through tax sale or foreclosure can contact the City to find out what is going on with the property (City cutting the grass, etc.). Commissioner Hanson said the property on Maryland Avenue is the biggest eye-sore that we have ever had. Commissioner Cooke said the process works for people who want to keep their property but not for properties that are owned by banks or other entities who have worked away. He and Oden Wheeler discussed the possibility of creating an escrow account as has been done in the past. Mr. Schneider would like all the fines to be waived. On 712 Glasgow Street his bid was $49,000. He is working with the owner and found someone else who may want to buy it. The liens are $3,000 to $4,000. He would like them cut down. Commissioner Hanson said Rob Collison has directed Council by memorandum that this should be referred to the finance committee or another committee to come up with recommendations that would be more equitable for each situation. A motion by Commissioner Hanson to refer the request to the finance committee to develop a standard operating procedure was seconded and approved unanimously.

Laurence Chitlik to request a reduction in fines against 808 Locust Street-Mr. Chitlik lives across from this vacant lot. Rather than see the grass grow there and the lot not be used, he thought he could put a garden there or put a workshop there. He paid $2,567.04 for it at tax sale. He did not get a notice about the grass. The bill for the City cutting the grass ten times was $2,806.35. He paid $25 to have the grass cut last week. He is willing to pay $250 toward the fine and the $970 additional taxes. Commissioner Cooke suggested talking to the County with regard to who owns the tax certificates so they can be notified when the grass needs cutting. This will be referred to the finance committee also.

Representative from RAR Brewery to discuss sewer rates-J.T. Merryweather, owner and operator of RAR Brewing, said on average, beer is 93% water. The City's water/sewer calculations are disproportionate to their actual usage. Since opening in August 2013, they have paid over $141,000 in taxes; over $335,000 in wages to their six fulltime employees and 13 part-time employees. They have brought in over $550,000 in outside dollars. They are currently in the process of expanding and will continue to manufacture beer for sale in outside communities. They spend over $250 a month in sewage fees. With the expansion, their water and sewer fees will quadruple. They plan to hire three more fulltime employees and another three part-time employees. As the current exemption exists, if they have 25 employees, they can apply to have a sewage meter put in at their expense and they will still be responsible to pay for 50 percent of the unused portion. He thinks that is unfair considering exactly how much of their water is actually going into their product. They are very agreeable to putting in a sewer meter. He thinks there are a couple ways they can go about amending something that is specific to their industry that uses water so intensively. The have calculated that 83 percent of the water they use goes into their product with only 17 percent going down the drain. The calculation is based on how much beer they are making. One suggestion is to submit the reports that they submit to the State for excise taxes and production reports which are amended monthly. MUC could then see how much product is really not going down the drain. They would be more than happy to put a sewage meter in but they would require an exemption to the 50 percent rule considering that it is a service that is technically not hurting the system. Commissioner Thomas said there has to be a minimum and suggested perhaps 25 percent. Commissioner Cooke said there may be other companies which would like the same discount and Council should consult with Jane Dorman before making any decision. Council will contact Mr. Merryweather after they have talked to Rob Collison.

William Jackson to discuss a follow up transparency on the referendum and petition on the City Manager position-Mr. Jackson has been asked several times since about what happened to the referendum. He has been unable to answer most of the questions because there hasn't been very much transparency between the Council and the petitioners. He doesn't know who was not qualified and for what reason. The City has been under investigation on this petition. They appeared to do nothing illegal but there was a whole lot of non-transparency in ethics that the City showed lack of favor. They asked if they could be present at the counting of the petitions and there was no reason why they could not be present except that the City did not want them. He did not see the instructions given as to why people qualified or were unqualified. He probably would have voted for a City Manager. Transparency is the best government you can have because when the people can actually see, listen, and be a part of what is taking place, there is no room for error. He doesn't know who passed and who failed. Council came up with a solution; back-dated everything; and moved forward. He is glad about it because it was an opportunity for the people to be a part of the process. He said to move forward; he will support it; he will do anything he can do to help this thing work. The citizens need to know what is going on.

Unfinished Business

City Manager Update-Mary Losty, a member of the search committee, gave a brief overview of their three meetings. The entire committee read all the legal documents. They interviewed the Commissioners and Mayor as to what the attributes and objectives that each Commissioner was looking to achieve. They interviewed five acting and past city managers from around the country to get a real life flavor of what was involved, pros and cons, what to look for, and what to avoid. They reviewed the best sites in the country to post advertisements. The top three appear to be ICMA, MML, and NFBPA. They then started working on drafts of the following documents: a comprehensive list of all the attributes of a city manager, a preliminary job description, a job application, and templates of four brochures to help create their own brochure. They reviewed questions for the candidates to answer by e-mail and then a very sophisticated set of questions for personal interviews. On June 23rd they will interview a possible consultant. The committee would like to know if Council would like to delegate the search for this consultant to the search committee. They would also like to know if Council would like to delegate the hiring of the consultant to the search committee if they keep their expenses under budget. Mayor Stanley asked if the acting city manager position should be at Council level or search committee level. Mary Losty said the Mayor has received six resumes but the committee has not looked at them because that is not part of their responsibility. Commissioner Cooke said he thinks the acting city manager is the Council's responsibility and the permanent city manager is the committee's responsibility. The delegation of the first two items is fine with him. Commissioner Hanson agreed it was the committee. Commissioner Vickers agreed. Commissioner Thomas said the committee has their head wrapped around the whole city manager task. The same mind-set goes to selecting an acting city manager. He asked if the city can do without an acting city manager since we are on an accelerated track to pick the ultimate city manager. Commissioner Hanson agreed as long as the committee was moving along. Mary Losty clarified that the Council is comfortable delegating to the search committee the ability to select and hire the consultant as long as they were under budget. Several commissioners answered that they were. She asked if Council wanted to interview the final consultant. Several Commissioners answered to leave it to the search committee. Mary Losty said once they have their final candidates, they will set up a mechanism by which Council will interview the final three candidates. Council agreed that the search committee should have access to the resumes that were submitted.

Gateway Project Update-Frank Narr, President of Sailwinds Park, Inc., said the first two grants were received for a total of $750,000 and were passed onto the City. The City was awarded an additional $350,000 to finish the acquisition. The three properties are now fully paid for so they are ready for the next phase. An MOU was executed between Sailwinds Park, Inc. and the City stipulating what would be done with the property. The three phases are (1) acquisition; (2) demolition; and (3) design and redevelopment of the cleared sites. A Gateway Planning Committee will be established which will include members of the City as well as at least two members of Sailwinds Park, Inc. The intent was to demolish the entire site and create green space. The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Center for Small Towns did some preliminary designs. They hope the next step is to demolish the two buildings, mill the parking lot, create green space, and sit down as a committee to establish what the next step is and what the design will look like. He believes the next round of SGIF money is available. The names submitted for the committee from Sailwinds Park Inc. were Frank Narr, Rich Loeffler, Chad Malkus, and Jeff Powell. Mayor Stanley recommended a representative from the Planning Department, someone from the Economic Development Department, Commissioner Hanson or his designee, and Oden Wheeler from the Department of Public Works. Frank Narr asked for some rules of engagement. Mayor Stanley offered to attend the meeting to hammer out rules of engagement. Linda Watkins-Henry offered to serve on the committee.

Presentation-Commissioner Thomas presented Council with a shovel from the groundbreaking at the Eastern Shore Innovation Center which is the first incubator on the Eastern Shore. It represents a commitment by the Council in 2009 to invest in the Technology Park.

New Business

Intent to Apply for FY16 Community Legacy-Mary Calloway said the Department of Public Works has two projects to submit and one sub-recipient sent in an intent-to-apply. They would like to re-apply for the Façade Improvement Program ($100,000) and apply for funds for additional Maryland Avenue antique-style streetlights ($312,000). Historic Cambridge, Inc. would like to apply funds to do exterior improvements for 505-507 Race Street ($150,000).

Introduction and first reading of an ordinance to enact the 2015 International Codes (Ordinance 1049)-Oden Wheeler said this is a formality that is done every three years. The City needs to update the code in accordance with the Maryland Accessibility Code. The State of Maryland has adopted this and requires us to adopt it as well. A public hearing, second reading, and possible vote will be held at the next meeting.

Proclamation recognizing Social Security Administration's 80th Anniversary-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve Mayor Stanley signing the proclamation was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Cooke opposed.

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

Approve encumbrances from FY15 budget-A motion by Commissioner Vickers to approve the encumbrances from the FY15 budget was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Cooke opposed.

Purchase Orders:

PO 5606 - Pyro Engineering Inc. - balance due for fireworks (FY16) - $14,000.00-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve Purchase Order 5606 was seconded and approved unanimously.

PO 2015-074 - Wor-Wic Community College - comparative compliance and employee training (CPD) - $14,000-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve Purchase Order 2015-074 was seconded and approved unanimously.

PO 2015-075- Ennis Flint - Thermoplast crosswalk materials for Race/Muir, Poplar/High and Muse/Academy Street crossings - $9,600.46 (CL Grant for Muir Street)-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve Purchase Order 2015-075 was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Vickers opposed.

PO 2015-076 - Alternative Paving Concepts - Installation of Ennis-Flint supplied crosswalks at Muir/Race and Poplar/High intersections - $6,000.00-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve Purchase Order 2015-076 was seconded and approved 4:1 with Commissioner Vickers opposed.

PO 2015-077 - Wayne's Welding & Truck Equipment - Furnish and Install Snow Dogg CM 100 Snow Plow - $7,540.00-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve Purchase Order 2015-077 was seconded and approved unanimously.

Public Comments

Change in Route for Ironman Maryland on October 3, 2015-A motion by Commissioner Vickers that Rescue Fire Company, Department of Public Works, and Cambridge Police Department work together with Jerry Boyle to come up with the best route for approval at the next meeting was seconded and approved unanimously.

A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to allow Masheka Molock (205 Byrn Street) to have a variance from the noise ordinance and possibly blocking a section of Byrn Street on July 4th from 1:00 pm until 8:00 pm, contingent upon approval by the Cambridge Police Department and the Department of Public Works, was seconded and approved unanimously.


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

With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 10:15 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, June 22, 2015, insofar as I personally am aware.

___________________________
Victoria Jackson-Stanley, Mayor