• 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 Minutes

January 26, 2009

MINUTES

Council Meeting

January 26, 2009

 

 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, January 26, 2009 in Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Knox, Sydnor, Stout, Thomas, and Hanson.

 

Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley asked for a moment of silence. Commissioner Hanson led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 12, 2009 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.

APPOINTMENTS

Aram S. Nersesian to Discuss the Municipal Marina-Mr. Nersesian secured a slip at the marina even though his boat is not in it yet. He went on faith that the slip would be dredged to a depth that would be adequate for his boat. When you take a 60-ft slip, there is an understanding that the slip will be 8- to 10-feet deep. He found out that his slip and several others to the west of him were at 6½ feet and the representative from Dissen & Juhn said their charge was to dig the slip to 6½ feet. He thought it was going to be 8 feet. That is not enough for his boat or any other boat that draws 6 feet. He said George Hyde's office was kind enough to allow him to contract with Dissen & Juhn personally (under the City permit) to dig a hole deep enough for his keel and rudder. He had them dig it out to 10 feet. Because of the tidal current, the hole will fill up in 5 or 10 years. It cost him $5,000. He asked the City to partner with him with this expense by giving him $1,000 credit each year for 5 years toward his slip rental. The City should provide adequate depth, protection from wind and wave action, and security. Commissioner Sydnor said as of December 31st, the marina is running a deficit at the marina of $413,000. Mr. Nersesian recommended that as soon as the City receives more Federal funds that they try to get the big slips to a minimum of 8 feet. Commissioner Stout thinks Mr. Nersesian made an important investment to improve the facility. He proposed that Council consider a $500 rebate over 10 years. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to take this under advisement and get back with Mr. Nersesian after discussing it at a later time. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. Rob Collison said he thought Council could have an answer in 30 days. Commissioner Sydnor amended his motion to include the 30 days. Commissioner Thomas said he strongly opposed the motion to give him the opportunity to raise further questions and discuss it at the regular session. Steve Johnson said the 6½ feet is based on the data which is 7½ feet mean low water. The dredge depth is deeper than what many folks think. Whether or not it needs to be any deeper, they run into a permit issue. DNR will tell them how deep they can go. There are at least 5 slips on that end. You have to look at the income stream and whether or not the investment is worth the possible return. Commissioner Sydnor called for the question. The motion passed 4:1 with Commissioner Thomas opposed. Commissioner Sydnor's motion to give 30-day consideration to Aram S. Nersesian's request passed 4:1 with Commissioner Thomas opposed.

 

Jane Devlin, West End Citizens Association, to Request Letter of Support for a Capital Grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority for the Wallace Office Building-WECA id hoping to start on their project in April. They have about three-quarters of the funding. The ADA compliant issues are a little more costly than they had initially budgeted. Currently they have roughly $86,000 and are asking for somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000. The building will be available to anyone who needs a meeting space. The renovations should be done in 12 to 14 months. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the letter of support. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Recommendation of Award for Demolition of 610 Wells Street-Commissioner Hanson made a motion to approve the recommendation of the Director of Public Works to award the bid to Eastern Shore Demolition in the amount of $3,800. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Approve MOU with Dorchester County Historical Society, Inc. for Public Access to Waterfront Boardwalk and Small Boat Dock-Rob Collison said Mr. Harrington made a presentation a few months back to obtain support for a grant application. The facilities will be open to the public and under the control of the Historical Society for maintenance. If the grant is awarded, there will be a formal sub-recipient agreement between the City and the County. There will be no cost to the City. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the MOU with the Historical Society. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Approve Budget Amendment per Departmental Budget Cuts-Mayor Stanley said this budget amendment will assist in addressing the shortfalls the City is facing. Each Department Head was asked to provide a budget that represented at least a 10% cut. The budget amendment would total cuts of $542,349. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to accept the cuts that have been made by the departments for this fiscal year with the stipulation that the Maces Lane survey of $17,340 will be put in the budget for 2010. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Request from Wal-Mart for Permission to Arrange Their Garden Center Corral on Their Parking Lot from February 1, 2009 Through July 30, 2009-Rob Collison said Council must vote on this because it goes below the minimum parking for a temporary period of time. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to allow Wal-Mart to arrange their garden center as they outlined. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Great Marsh Boat Ramp Reconstruction-Mayor Stanley said George Hyde, City Engineer, gave the Council several options to consider. The first option would be to proceed with the entire project, including additional dredging to the channel. The City would need to provide financing for approximately $114,000. The second option would be to put a hold on construction to seek additional grant funding for all of the remaining cost. This would most likely delay the project for at least 1 year. The third option, and the one recommended by DPW, would be to defer the additional dredging and complete the base bid work only at this time. They could probably get grant money from DNR next year for the additional dredging. The City would need to provide financing for approximately $74,000. Steve Johnson said the ramp will be unsafe if it is not repaired. If they do not do something, the will probably not be able to use it this summer. Commissioner Knox said with the current budget restraints, his opinion is to take the third option. He would like to consider the possibility of approaching the County to see if they would be interested in taking over the Great Marsh ramp and the Franklin Street ramp. The County maintains the Trenton Street ramp. These ramps are used by City, County, state, and out-of-state residents. If they take the third option they will have to move money from somewhere else. The project will have to be re-bid. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to re-bid the project using the third option criteria which excludes dredging. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:1 with Commissioner Sydnor opposed.

 

Request to Begin Design of Christ Rock Water and Sewer Extensions-Steve Johnson said a portion of the grants the City has grants for the Christ Rock project can be used for design. They are still about $500,000 short of having full grant coverage for the project. He would like to proceed with the design while they pursue gap funding. Rob Collison said the agreement with the property owners has always been that they gave conditional consent for the annexation. They did not anticipate an outlay of funds for the water and sewer extension. He asked Steve Johnson to inquire from the funding source that in the event that the City does not get additional funding, will they need to reimburse any design costs that are incurred because the annexation is not finalized. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to begin the design for the Christ Rock water and sewer extensions. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

First Reading of Ordinance for Making Park Lane One Way in a Westerly Direction Between High Street and Willis Street-Rob Collison said this ordinance would amend Section 11-8 of the City Code which is entitled "One Way Streets". If the ordinance is approved at the next meeting, the ordinance will become effective on March 1, 2009.

 

Approve Financial Statement for December 2008-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the financial statement for December 2008. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Emergency Budget Amendment for DPW-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the appropriation for a new hose for the sewer service truck. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Mayor Stanley said Council received a letter from the National Bank of Cambridge indicating their dissatisfaction with the conditions of High Street. Commissioner Thomas said he thinks they are one of many groups who would like to see High Street improved. The project to tear up the whole street will cost more than $1 million. He recommended that Council look at a program to use stamped concrete for future repairs. With that project, they can actually match the brick and the color. It is much more durable and looks better than the asphalt we currently use. Steve Johnson said it is a good solution. The product is very durable. The asphalt is doing an excellent job of protecting the bricks on Race Street. It would provide a nice smooth wearing surface until we can get the $3 million it will take to rebuild High Street and put all the utilities underground. There are many options that are reasonably cost effective. Commissioner Hanson said they are trying to get grants. He hopes everybody will bear with them until they can get to the point where they can take care of the issues.

 

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

 

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session to discuss personnel at 6:50 pm. Council met in an open executive session at 5:30 pm to discuss some budgetary matters and the water and sewer extension to the tech park.

 

Commissioner Knox said his employment situation has changed. Therefore, he will be able to fulfill his obligations to the City. He asked to rescind his resignation. Rob Collison said Commissioner Knox's date of resignation was February 1, which has not passed. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to cancel the special election set for February 24, 2009 pending further notice. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0 with Commissioner Knox abstaining. Rob Collison will give Council a legal report by the next meeting.

 

Commissioner Stout thanked William Jackson for his facilitation of the wonderful inauguration day event. It was a well-attended event that showed great community spirit. Commissioner Stout said there was a very productive meeting last week with certain development partners who are working on initiatives to potentially bring certain developments to Pine Street. Representatives from the State were also involved. Commissioner Stout said at one time Council addressed some initiative to recognize individuals and groups like Concerned Brothers who are contributing greatly to the community. He was informed that an event took place on Lincoln Terrace where a citizen came to the aid of a neighbor who had a lung collapse and took the person to the hospital. He will get more details.

 

Commissioner Thomas said a delegation from Cambridge attended the opening session in Annapolis to talk about the future of Sailwinds Park. They met with Senator Colburn, the Eastern Shore Delegation, Maryland Port Administration, Maryland Planning Department, and the Department of Business and Economic Development. The lease expires on June 30, 2009. They were given assurances and confidence that the lease will be renewed for a minimum of 5 years and perhaps longer to take advantage of Federal funding to fix the bulkhead. The State wants to partner with the City to come up with a vision for the property.

 

Commissioner Thomas said Chris Jakobiak gave an update about the Comprehensive Plan at the last Planning and Zoning meeting. Public hearings will be held for citizen input and participation. Commissioner Thomas said the City will hold their next 325th Anniversary meeting on Thursday.

 

Commissioner Hanson thanked William Jackson for his efforts for the rally. He also thanks Bethel Church for housing the screening of the event and opening their doors to the community. He thanked the Police Department for providing security and Public Works for their efforts. There was no charge to the citizens. Commissioner Hanson thanked Natalie Chabot and Anne Roane for their presentations of the 2020 Waterfront to the different communities. Members of the community have made some positive comments.

 

Mayor Stanley reminded the Council to speak to Mr. Kinnamon about making room reservations for the Maryland Municipal League summer conference.

 

Mayor Stanley said the City received a letter from the President of the Dorchester County Council regarding the easement of the construction of a riverwalk. She thinks they Councils need to talk before any decisions are made.

 

Mayor Stanley said on February 3rd representatives from PEPCO will be at Cambridge South Dorchester High School to discuss the proposed electric lines.

 

Tony Thomas suggested that the City reimburse other slipholders over a period of time who would like to have their slips dredged. He suggested a permit to launch a boat at the boat ramps.

 

Natalie Chabot, Cambridge Economic Development Department, said there is a big concern about getting visas for seasonal workers. Mr. Brooks of Claytons is looking for a letter of support from Council to the Federal Government to extend the visa program that will allow seasonal workers to return back to our community. Mr. Brooks said there are 13 or 14 crab factories in Dorchester County. It is pretty devastating to this industry. Almost 90% of their production employees picking crabs are guest workers. They work well and contribute to our economy. A University of Maryland Economist extrapolated that for every guest worker in this business, it adds 2.5 local or domestic jobs. It is not just about these people, it is about supporting the domestic people too. The guest workers pay Federal and State taxes; Social Security (which they are not going to be a part of); and unemployment. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve a letter of support. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox suggested that the County be encouraged to send a letter of support also. The motion passed unanimously.

 

With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 8:25 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, January 26, 2009, insofar as I personally am aware.

 

 

 

 

Edwin C. Kinnamon

Clerk & Treasurer