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  • 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

February 14, 2005

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, February 14, 2005 Council Chambers.  A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Knox, Cephas, Brooks, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.  Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 24, 2005 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

PUBLIC HEARING

Annexation Resolution No.  A-2004-01 Tax Map 30, Parcel No. 166; [Part of Waterford Subdivision, Jenkins Creek Road]  5.539 Acres (continuation from January 24, 2005)-Rob Collison said the record was left open for additional comment.  The Certification of Publication indicates that the public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on February 7, 2005.  On January 24th, the issue arose that the annexation of Parcel 166 would create a pocket of three parcels that are located on the southeasterly side of Lawson Lane.  The pocket that would be created would not be an illegal pocket.  From a practical policy, the City has been trying to eliminate these types of pockets throughout the City.  They create problems for the Police Department and Public Works knowing what houses are within the City limits.  The developer was asked to contact the three homeowners to see if they are interested in being annexed.  Scott Saunders said Mrs. Knox, Mr. Creighton, and Mrs. Freeman all indicated that there were interested in the possibility of receiving sewer services and coming into the City.  Rodney Knox said Mr. Saunders never spoke to his mother-in-law.  Right now they have no desire to be annexed into the City.  Mr. Creighton told him he would go along with whatever Mr. Knox goes with.  He said he has a signed letter from Mrs. Freeman who is saying the same thing he is saying about not being annexed.  David Pritchett said they run into this problem on Woods Road, Hambrooks Boulevard, and Sandy Hill Road.  It is always a problem when you have divided areas deciding who maintains the road.  It can be done but the preference is to bring the homes in and not create islands. Chief Malik said they really wouldn't have any problem. It would be preferable to have all the houses annexed but they wouldn't have any problem servicing them.  If they got a call and it happened to be in the County only, they would respond.  If it was a major incident, they would pass the information to the appropriate agency. 

Rob Collison said if the Council elects to proceed with the annexation, the developer is responsible for the extension of all services at his expense.  Roads would have to be constructed to City standards. Commissioner Knox said the residents should understand the somewhere down the road, if they decide they would like to be annexed into the City, they will be required to pay the hook-up fees. At the same time if there are impact fees, they will be required to pay these fees also. The Council at that time could elect to waive the impact fees or the connection fees.  Rob Collison said if it is Council's desire to try to avoid that type of pocket now, they would probably be more inclined to waive the impact fee now and there could probably be an annexation agreement drafted to state that they wouldn't receive full services or full taxation until they receive the sewer service.  They could waive the impact fee to avoid having the pocket created.  Scott Saunders said they would run the line down to the corner of the property.  They have increased the line size at their own expense to 8‑inches to accommodate future homes out there that may wish to be annexed later.  Scott Saunders said he spoke to Laurie Knox and she indicated her mother was sitting in the kitchen at the time.  Mrs. Knox indicated that there had been an on-going effort to try to get sewer services.  They had looked into possibly trying to connect into Canterbury but it wasn't practical because of the length of the run. She said she felt their current septic system was marginal. Scott Saunders said he spoke to Mr. Creighton and he said they had been trying to do this for some time and he thought they would be willing to come in as well. 

Rob Collison said Planning and Zoning recommended that Council approve the annexation.  Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the annexation.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The vote was 2:2 with Commissioners Knox and Travers voting to approve annexation and Commissioners Brooks and Cephas opposed.  Mayor Rippons broke the tie by voting to approve the annexation.  The motion was approved.

APPOINTMENTS

Proclamation for Rotary Centennial-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation.  Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Rotary President Phil Reed and several other Rotarians.  Mr. Reed said Rotary will be visiting all seven elementary schools on February 23rd and distributing 300 dictionaries to all the third grade students as one of their many projects.  He invited the public to learn more about Rotary.  He requested permission to have a banner hung across Race Street to advertise their area celebration on February 20, 2005.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Knox seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Proclamation for Prophet John Cornish, Sr.-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation.  Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Prophet Cornish.  On behalf of a very grateful City, Mayor Rippons thanked Prophet for all his work in Cambridge and all the work he does for our community.  Prophet Cornish thanked Council for the proclamation.

Dorchester First! to Discuss Marketing Proposal-Natalie Chabot reported that Dorchester First! is ready to launch their revolving loan fund which will provide gap financing for entrepreneurs who are looking for a place to start a new business or to relocate. Joy Loeffler said they have received 62 inquiries so far. Of the 62 clients they have worked with, about 70 to 80 percent of them are people from Dorchester County who are interested in starting a business in Cambridge.  Natalie Chabot said they received a letter of recognition from Governor Ehrlich.  Rich Loeffler, a representative from the Small Business Development Center, said the last time they spoke during a Council meeting, they asked for funding since they had not received any monetary funds from either the County or the City.  Most of their work has been involved with bringing people to Cambridge.    They continue to try to get other support. They have received a commitment from Salisbury University. They have a team of business major students who are looking at what they are doing with Dorchester First! and will help them put together some additional parts of their program.  The team of four students will be working with them for about three months.  They will be doing some work on finance programs that might be available to everyone who is within the County or those who want to come into the County to start a business.  Dorchester County has agreed to give them $5,000 to help them with their marketing program.  They asked the City for financial assistance.  Commissioner Cephas said he attended the meeting when Dorchester First! asked the County for $10,000.  The County agreed to give them $5,000 and suggested that they ask the City for $5,000.  Mayor Rippons had asked that they put together a packet of information and then come back to Council.  He thinks they may be underestimating their costs a little. He thinks Council should consider some type of action tonight.  Commissioner Knox said he would rather wait until they have their budget review.  Commissioner Brooks said she can't see where $5,000 would break the City of Cambridge.  She thinks if the County is showing good faith, the City should show good faith also.  She is in favor of them getting some help.  Commissioner Travers said he would like to wait until the information comes from the State showing how much the City will receive in taxes. He thinks they have probably over-stepped their bounds already and should wait to see what their next budget will be.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to make a contribution of $5,000 to Dorchester First!.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. Commissioners Brooks and Cephas voted for the motion.  Commissioners Knox and Travers voted against the motion.  Mayor Rippons said they will be hearing budget requests in March and money will be available on July 1st.  He asked for their time constraints.  Natalie Chabot said it is just a matter of when they can actually start spending money to market Dorchester First! outside the immediate community.  Commissioner Cephas said the City has an obligation to attract businesses to the City.  Developers are rushing to Cambridge. He feels they should make a small investment in promoting and advertising the City.  Natalie Chabot said this is an economic development tool that can help the City grow.  Commissioner Brooks said she feels this is a step in the right direction.  Mayor Rippons said his assessment is that unless it is an emergency situation, he does not believe in amending any budgets or adding budget items. He believes the City's commitment comes from the fact that City taxpayers pay into the County.  When the County funds anything, that money flows by a large percentile from the residents of the City of Cambridge.  He voted against the measure.  He thinks it is appropriate to wait until budget time.  Ed Kinnamon was asked to put Dorchester First!'s request with the other budget requests. 

Elizabeth Shuttleworth to Request of Annexation-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to refer this request to Planning and Zoning for their review and recommendation.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Aja Luke on Behalf of the Raging Unstoppables to Request Noise Variance at New Beginnings, Monday through Friday-Nobody was present to speak.  Commissioner Cephas said he would speak on behalf of the Raging Unstoppables because he has made some contributions to them on a couple of occasions.  Mayor Rippons asked if there was a letter from New Beginnings giving their permission for the group to practice on their property.  Because New Beginnings did not submit a letter, he asked that this item be postponed until the next meeting.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Second Reading and Vote on Charter Resolution CR-2005-01 to Remove Personnel Duties and Veto Power of Mayor-Rob Collison said he has received some questions on this subject. The Mayor only has the authority to veto an ordinance, not a resolution, proclamation, or anything of that nature.  There is also a veto-override provision in our charter.  Even if the Mayor did veto an ordinance, a four-fifths vote of the Council could override the veto.  The second section of the Charter Resolution would eliminate the Mayor's personnel duties. If Council moves forward with this Charter Resolution this evening and it is approved, there is a publication period where the Charter Resolution is advertised and there is a period of time for petition for referendum. Commissioner Brooks asked if they could move forward with Section 3-21 and Subsection (f) which would remove the personnel duties. Rob Collison said they can move to modify the Charter Resolution to delete all reference to the section they do not wish to consider this evening. If the Council wishes to revisit it, they can prepare a separate resolution. 

Commissioner Travers made a motion that Council not remove the personnel duties and veto powers of the Mayor.  He sat on the previous Council which gave the Mayor the personnel duties. He thinks what they have done in the last 4½ years is enough for him to be satisfied with the system that we have today. He thinks the previous Council and the present Council have probably brought this town forward at least 40 years.  Commissioner Brooks thinks it is a direct conflict of interest in duties and procedures to be followed.  With the Mayor as head of personnel, we look at one issue-firing people.  Is it politically driven?  If he were to fire someone in the City, can that person come back and say "I was fired because I spoke out against the Mayor or in opposition against his campaign."?  What hat is the Mayor going to wear when the Council directs the Department Heads to do something the Council has voted a majority on.  Can he tell them not to do what Council has directed as head of personnel since he is, in essence, their boss?  Which hat would he like to wear -- The Mayor which is ex officio, or department head, head of personnel?  Commissioner Knox seconded Commissioner Travers' motion.

Commissioner Brooks said she doesn't think that the motion that Commissioner Travers read was actually what Mr. Collison stated.

Commissioner Cephas said he was a little surprised with the motion and the second because some time ago they had the discussion and he thinks Commissioner Knox was the one who brought the issue up and suggested that Council eliminate the powers of the Mayor.  He also read a letter publicly.

Commissioner Cephas strongly encouraged the Council to continue on with the original proposal that Commissioner Brooks made several months ago at the request of Commissioner Knox and supported by the other Commissioners. 

Commissioner Travers rescinded his motion.  Commissioner Knox rescinded his second.  Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the motion as Section 3-21 in Subsection (f).  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  Rob Collison clarified that if the motion is approved, Section 3-20 regarding the veto powers would not be included.  There would be no change to that and Subsection (e) would be the only section of 3-21 to be amended; not Subsection (f) because Subsection (f) deals with veto powers.  The vote was tied 2:2 with Commissioners Brooks and Cephas for the motion and Commissioners Knox and Travers opposed.   Mayor Rippons did not vote to break the tie.  Rob Collison stated that he wouldn't be required to unless he was in favor of it.  If he abstained, the Charter Resolution would not pass because it was not a majority.

Discussion on City Pay Scale-Ed Kinnamon said this item was discussed at the last meeting and it was stated to be put back on the agenda for tonight's meeting.  Commissioner Cephas said he looked at the proposed scale that was submitted.  One thing he is concerned about an assistant to a certain director with a Bachelor's degree making under $40,000.  He thinks Council should re-visit those pay scales on three positions. Ed Kinnamon said it might be more appropriate to discuss it at budget time because this is a normal budget-type discussion. That will give Council ample time to discuss it.  Mayor Rippons suggested that if Council had questions on individual names, they should discuss and address them with the department heads and maybe they could give Council some insights.  Commissioner Brooks asked Ed Kinnamon when the City would be ready to move forward with the City raises that she presented to him for discussion on February 14th or February 28th. Ed Kinnamon said he will be receiving information this month; perhaps he will have it by February 28th and then he will be able to give Council the information they asked for initially.

Award Bid for Construction of Public Safety Building-After the bids were opened a few weeks ago, they were referred to the Department of Public Works for their review and recommendation.  David Pritchett said it was a rather easy bid.  The contractors were pre-qualified.  DPW is very content with the criteria they submitted.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to award the base bid along with Alternates 2 and 3 as listed in the contract to the low bidder, Whiting Turner in the amount of $10,146,000.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Bill Bilbrough, representing Bilbrough's Electric, stressed that in the contract bid proposal, all bidders were required to name subcontractors to whom they propose to award subcontracts.  He is an electrical contractor. The morning after the bids went in, he called the general contractor and asked to have a list of the bidders and the subcontractors.  Bilbrough's Electric was named as a subcontractor. The general contractor said they had been left out of the bid.  They wanted to change the subcontractor to John Tieder and Chuck's Electric. As far as he was concerned, he was the low bidder and should receive the contract.  Rob Collison said he would take this under advisement and report back to Council and to Mr. Bilbrough.  The motion passed 4:0.

Community Legacy Grant - Small Business Revolving Loan Program Criteria-Ed Kinnamon reported that the City received a grant for $100,000 to make available to business owners for façade improvements.  The initial target area will be downtown.  The State has agreed with the documents presented to Council.  Main Street will assist in making the community aware of the available funds.  Rob Collison said he has a few procedural items to add to the document.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the program criteria.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Appoint an Alternate Member to the Historic Preservation Commission-The Council voted at their last meeting to add an alternate member to the HPC.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to appoint Grason Winterbottom as the alternate member to the HPC.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Memorandum of Understanding with KW Cambridge, LLC-Commissioner Knox made a motion to allow Mayor Rippons to sign the MOU.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 3:1 with Commissioner Brooks opposed.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Eastern Shore Hospital Center to Hold Their Third Annual H.O.P.E. Run/Walk on Saturday, May 7, 2005 pm Stone Boundary Road-Chief Malik said they have held this run/walk in the past without incident.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Clearwater Pool & Spa Company to Hold a Duck Derby on April 30, 2005 in the Water in Front of Portside Restaurant-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request pending a statement of approval from Portside Restaurant.  Commissioner Knox seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Request to Solicit Proposals for a Traffic Study-Commissioner Knox made a motion to allow DPW to move forward with an RFP for a traffic study.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox asked how long it would take to complete the study.  David Pritchett said that will be one of the criteria they will need to find out from the proposals they receive.  It will also help them select a contractor.  The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Budget Amendment for Department of Public Works-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget amendment.  Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 452 Criswell Chevrolet - 2005 Dump Truck ($59,315)  DPW- Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. Commissioner Cephas said he made a suggestion to try to purchase vehicles locally.  He said he still maintains that position.  David Pritchett said this vehicle is being purchased under a State contract where they get 33 percent off.  The motion passed 4:0.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Commissioner Knox said he has received calls from constituents concerning the water bills.  People have raised concerns because they are not home all the time and still have to pay the minimum flat rate.  He suggested they look into this in the future.  Mayor Rippons suggested he speak to the Municipal Utilities Commission.

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm this evening to obtain legal advice.

Portia Johnson-Ennels reported that she was in Annapolis on Tuesday for Housing Day.  Some of the information that they were passing out was very disturbing.  She asked how the cut in the Community Development Block Grant money will affect the City of Cambridge since it comes from the Federal government down through the State? The President cut all of the money out of HUD's budget.  Mayor Rippons said the money is earmarked for any grants that have already been approved.  As far as new grants, this cut will force us to look at other sources.  Commissioner Knox has brought up a consideration that this might be the time to have a full-time Grants Administrator to research new grants. 

Portia Johnson-Ennels asked if the City is putting aside land for future use for our young people who are young now so the land will be available for them for development when they get older.  She said the question was asked in Annapolis.  Mayor Rippons said at this time the City has not endeavored to do any of that.

Wendell Foxwell asked about the Sailwinds Park Board.  Mayor Rippons reported that there are five members on the Board now.  The two new Board members are Lisa Tilghman and Bruce McWilliams.  Mr. Foxwell asked why this information has not been in the paper.  The public doesn't know what is going on.  Commissioner Knox reviewed the procedure on how the community chose the new members.

Wendell Foxwell said the roof is caving in on the back of the old Rob Roy building.  He doesn't see any work being done on it. The gentlemen who bought the building fixed the front part only.  David Pritchett said he will research this with the Housing Department and call Mr. Foxwell with an answer.

Wendell Foxwell said the City is doing very good.  It looks good but there are a lot of things that look bad in the City.  If you come in on Cedar Street and look at that old building on the side of the cemetery with all the old lumber in the yard and everything else, it is a bad entrance to the City.  When you go to the red light, you see an old tree stump and debris on the right. On Glasgow Street across from Linden Avenue there is debris in the backyards. This makes the City look bad.  He asked if the City can make the homeowners pick up their trash. Rob Collison said there is a debris/refuse requirement. The Housing Inspectors can issue citations.  David Pritchett said if everyone wrote up properties that they felt were offensive, no two people would come back with the same list.  The City is aggressively addressing these issues. 

Wendell Foxwell asked about the old B. J. Linthicum lot.  He feels there should be a "for sale" or a "for lease" sign on the lot.  It is costing the City a lot of money by just sitting there.  Mayor Rippons said the City is in negotiations.  There should be a public statement by the March meeting.  Mr. Foxwell said it would be a nice place for a post office.  Commissioner Knox said he contacted a gentleman in the post office in Washington before he was a Commissioner and informed him about the amount of growth that was projected for the City of Cambridge.  They are planning on doing an extensive renovation to this Post Office and were looking at building a satellite location. 

Portia Johnson-Ennels thanked the Department of Public Works for the cement pad they installed on the public right-of-way near her home.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:30 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, February 14, 2005, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer