• 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

April 25, 2005

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, April 25, 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 April 11, 2005 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. 

APPOINTMENTS

Proclamation for Celebrate Senior Citizens Month and Tom Wilson to Discuss Senior Celebration and Request Noise Variance for Sailwinds Park on May 19, 2005 (10:00 am until 3:00 pm)-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation and Mayor Rippons signed it. Tom Wilson announced that on Thursday, May 19th, the Dorchester County Commission on the Aging is sponsoring Senior Celebration at Sailwinds Park. Generally 1500 to 2000 people attend. He requested a noise abatement variance from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm. He also requested police assistance for traffic control and to keep the fire lanes open. He also requested an EMS unit in case it is needed. They would also like permission to hang a banner across Race Street as they have done in the past. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the noise variance. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Proclamation for Brandi Smith, Miss Maryland National Jr. Teenager 2005-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation. Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Brandi Smith. Publicity pictures were taken.

Proclamation for Mental Health Month-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation. Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to a representative of the Eastern Shore Hospital Center. They will be hosting a Race and Walk for Mental Health and a Community Health Fair on Saturday, May 7, 2005. 

Lexine Pomeroy, Chairman of the Board of the Dorchester County Friends of the Library, to Request Permission to Use Both Pavilions at Great Marsh on Saturday, August 13 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and a Noise Variance-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the requests. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0. Ms. Pomeroy said this will be their 4th annual picnic which is open to the public.

Sharon Wilson, Visions America, to Discuss Obtaining the City-Owned Property on Leonard Lane for Development of Low Income Housing-Ashyrra Dotson, representing Visions America, presented the Council members with packets of information giving them an overview of their proposed project. Their non-profit community-based organization is proposing to develop City property into a single family housing development for low- to moderate-income population. Their goal is to develop the land on Leonard Lane.  They are putting the City on notice of their interest of the property. They are planning to do no more than 20 homes. Each home, on a one-quarter acre lot, will have 1½ to 2 bathrooms, central air-conditioning, decks, driveways and no less than 1100 sq.ft. of living space. They want people to have a sense of self-pride and self-esteem when they purchase the homes. The homes will be kept under the $104,000 mark so the people can maintain them once they are purchased. They are appearing before Council tonight to put the city on notice that they are interested in the property and to notify everyone that they would like a public hearing in the event the land is granted to their organization.

Rob Collison said the city would have to hold a public hearing before they could convey the property. He doesn't believe there has ever been an RFP for this site. If they wish to, they can submit one similarly-worded to the one they did last year for low- to moderate-income housing for a different location. Mayor Rippons said he believes David Pritchett has another proposed usage for the property. Rob Collison said he would suggest that the Council limit it to that use for any non-city proposed use and then compare the proposals to the position that it needs to be retained for public use. That is the purpose of the formal public hearing to deem something no longer necessary for public use. It would be excess property. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to allow Rob Collison to draft an RFP. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Commissioner Cephas said he doesn't want anyone to be confused. He said Rob Collison made a reference to city property and David Pritchett did as well. The city is interested in using that property for garages for trash trucks. There is some opposition on the board about the use of the property.  For the record, he said he is in favor of low- and moderate-income homes for that particular piece of property. He said we need to look at the needs of our city. He thinks their price range is in order. That is what is needed in this city. Commissioner Brooks said well before this organization came before the Council with their request, she proposed that the land on Leonard Lane be used for low-income housing. She still stands behind her thought. She said we need low-income housing.  She would love to see, not only that property, but more properties be given to the city for low-income housing. That is exactly what we need. She supports their project and anybody's project for low-income housing. Ms. Dotson said they have been in communication with the City Planner, as well as Don Bibb, who has done developing in Talbot County. They are meeting with partners who they can bring together to make this work.  If it is possible, they would like a list of properties that the city owns so they would have a list of that information so they would know what other property the city owns. The motion to allow Rob Collison to draft RFP documents ascertaining the interest of anybody for the city-owned property on Leonard Lane for the development of low-income housing passed 4:0.

John Plaskon, Mid-Shore Roundtable, to Discuss Their Program-Mr. Plaskon was not present.

Cambridge Community Development Corporation/Center for Poverty Solutions to Request Site Control of the Schoolhouse Lane Properties for Their Housing Project and to Discuss Alternate Locations-Pastor Leon Hall said they are requested site control of the Schoolhouse Lane and Chesapeake properties. There was some concern at the last meeting about the RFP being published in the newspaper. The city has documentation that these things were done in order. Another concern was expressed about the ownership of the property. The city has documentation that they have a deed to the land. Only one proposal was submitted to the prior Council who unanimously approved that proposal. They gave a letter of support for the project. The Maryland Historical Trust wanted a letter stating that they would have site control. They did not get the letter for the initial proposal. They have requested approval for their proposal. The State is waiting for a letter from the Council that will grant them site control. They are not interested in owning the land. They are only interested in the control so they can begin to develop the project that is so desperately needed. 

Alma Roberts said at the last meeting they expressed that they were under a time crunch with regard to the letter of site control. They went back to the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust after finding out that the clarifications that Rev. Hall enumerated were in place and they have been given an extension. Rob Collison asked for sample letters of requirements that the city can put in their letter. It appears at this particular time that they would have site control to further their application process. It does not look like they are looking to receive title to the property-just site control to proceed with proposing to see if they are awarded the grant.

Commissioner Brooks said as stated earlier, she is for affordable housing. We need it throughout the city. There were two issues that Pastor Hall discussed tonight but the third, and most important issue, is that they are against placing elderly people and children in that environment across from a bar. Unfortunately, she knows first-hand what can happen in that neighborhood. They have researched and found property that is much better. If the Council will permit him to do so, she is asking Ed Kinnamon to call the owner and find out exactly how much the city can purchase the land. They are willing to purchase that land for low-income housing. They would like for the project to move forward in a safe community and a safe neighborhood.

Pastor Hall said his concern is that the city has a responsibility in situations where people are unsafe to do what is necessary to make our community safe so that is not a serious issue. Incidents like this happen all over the country. They even happened in the judge's chambers in Atlanta but they did not stop having court because of a killing. It is almost unethical to tell a group of people that they cannot live here because we have issues. There is no difference in denying people an opportunity to live where they choose to live than the old Jim Crow and discrimination and steering people away from certain areas that we have seen happen in the past and are still happening. He believes that they can create the environment that if the bar is the problem, the city should be in a position to deal with that problem. They have committed to help the church on Douglas Street with their problems and this is only walking distance from the property in question. He would challenge the city, if crime is the problem, then do what is necessary as they do in all problems. He asked for the opportunity to move forward with this project and help with other low- to moderate-income projects throughout the city.

Commissioner Cephas said Rev. Hall made a good point. We need low- and moderate-income homes. In reference to the comment about crime in the courthouse, they are taking precautions with metal detectors and more armed guards. They are doing things to prevent certain things from happening. The property on Schoolhouse Lane has some history. There has been crime. The police have a duty to create a safe environment. That is not the only issue. At 3:00 am he saw people on the street. The noise is on the outside of the bar. The police blocked the street from High to Chesapeake, on Pine and Elm, and on Cedar and Pine so no traffic can come through. Chief Malik said they have overtime officers assigned to that area on Friday and Saturday nights. It is patrolled quite extensively because of a concentration of a number of establishments in that area. Commissioner Cephas said he needs peace of mind. Families were raised in that area before the bar was there. At that time it was a good area but things have changed. He said he is begging them not to put our people in that area until certain things are cleaned up. He is not against new development. His first thought when he saw the property was torn down was that Waugh Church could expand their graveyard. The people who used to live in that area will not come back to purchase a home in that area. In his opinion, that is not the place to put low- and moderate-income homes.

Alma Roberts said she appreciates all Commissioner Cephas said and they would welcome an opportunity to move forward with that piece of land as well. They responded to an RFP that the city put out. They offered that piece of land. They have spent a great deal of time developing partnerships and configurations to move forward on the development of that piece of land.  They are prepared to work with the owner of the bar in a partnership to improve his establishment and they will be bringing proposals to the City Council if he is not willing to improve his establishment on recommendations on how to shift the onness and insensitize him to improve his establishment.  A church in Baltimore has a similar situation. They got media attention and solicited the City Council to get laws passed where the onness was put back on the owner. He was fined if his crowd made noise. The club is gone. There are opportunities to seize this property and make something beautiful out of it. There are citizens who would live in this area. If we abandon it, it will continue to be a blight on Cambridge. The State is waiting for them. They have given them signals that they will get the money which will not only build the houses, it will also bring other services.

Commissioner Cephas said he doesn't think you can blame the club owner for people who stay around after the club is closed. People have a tendency to hang around and talk.

Portia Johnson Ennels said at the last meeting she was opposed to the idea of houses being put there. She is not against affordable housing. She likes the idea that Sister Wilson talked about. No money has passed through any hands. All we hear about is affordable housing for people to buy. Rental property has gone extremely high. We need to put a cap on that. We also need affordable housing for people to rent. She is not saying their idea is not a good idea. It is the area where it is. She grew up in that area and it was a nice neighborhood to live in. Today it is not. She would rather see the land go to Waugh Church because they are running out of land to bury people.

Commissioner Brooks said Pastor Hall stated that time is too short and life is too valuable. If you put up a $90,000 home in that particular neighborhood, the value of that house is not $90,000 the day the person moves in. Our people give a lot to the city each and every day. She does not see why this city cannot give them a safe environment to live in. The police cannot protect every single person that is going to be in that neighborhood with the crowd. It is a large crowd to control. She is opposed to putting children and elderly in a neighborhood that we know the environment is not as it should be. The bar is already there. When and if the bar leaves, she will be more than happy to grant site control of that particular area providing that the rest of the area is enhanced so that the value of those homes would be the same value that they paid for it ten seconds after they put the key in the lock. She is proposing that this Council move forward with the Leonard Lane, Oakley Street and Park Lane sites and find out how much it is and let the city purchase the land and offer that to the projects so they can give the city exactly what it needs and meet all the safety issues that we can possible meet.

Ms. Johnson said everyone is saying they want change there. If they aren't willing to do anything about it and they have people who are, maybe it will be a change if they put houses there. She has been renting all her life with her three small kids. This might be a stepping stone for us. You have to take a chance. That is how you get ahead.

Commissioner Knox said he read an article in the Daily Banner about neighborhoods in Baltimore. Some have been taken over as hostage. He agrees with Commissioners Brooks and Cephas. He would not want his children in the backyard of his house and have to worry about catching a bullet. The issue is not the land. It is what is adjacent to the land. He is not saying to put the gentleman out of business. They want to create prosperity and jobs. There is an opportunity to take back the neighborhood. They could build the homes and put the families back in there with the hope that the people will eventually go down the street. It is not what is going on inside; it is what is going on outside. He asked if they could enforce the laws so loitering could be limited or done away with all together. They could enforce the open container laws.

Commissioner Knox suggested asking the developers to build 50 homes at $90,000 to $100,000. The Council has the option to waive the impact fees and hook-up fees on those homes. They could also ask the County to waive the excise tax. As an incentive for the developer, in their multi-million dollar unit where they are building all those houses, the Council will let them build 50 more $300,000 homes. This is how they will re-coop what otherwise they would be loosing on the $90,000 homes. He feels this is something the community should look at. We are short on senior citizen housing, subsidized housing, and work-force housing. A mortgage on the $90,000 home might be comparable to what some people are now paying for rent.  As far as the Schoolhouse Lane property is concerned, it is waiting to be developed. He asked if the community is willing to take that chance when we know what is hanging out outside the bar. He asked if the community and the Council could make the guy a financial offer he can't refuse or offer to help him relocate to another area of town. We can take back our community and he believes we have the support of the Council to make it happen. We have to think about our future. We can't let one little establishment hold us hostage. He agrees with the other Commissioners about putting houses where we are going to risk the lives and safety of our citizens.

Tony Easter said he doesn't think anyone is against affordable housing. He thinks it is a matter of how you define it. Everyone should be able to afford their home. Do you take the approach that you lower the cost of the home to the point where it meets your salary? Do you take the point where you lower the quality of the home so you can afford it? What we need is to be able to afford our homes with jobs. We need to make sure that development occurs in our community that allows us to live anywhere we want-in our old neighborhoods or in new neighborhoods. That is real affordable housing.

Commissioner Cephas made a motion to table this item because there are some things he needs to ask Pastor Hall and we need to take a look at a couple of things before we make a decision. He asked that they table the first portion (Schoolhouse Lane) of the agenda item for two weeks and move to the second portion which is an alternative site. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. Pastor Hall said the State is expecting to hear from them tomorrow. Commissioner Cephas said his motion is moot if that is the case. Commissioner Travers said he would like to wait for two more weeks. He would also like to see the bar across the street eliminated. The motion passed 4:0.

Commissioner Brooks made a motion to discuss alternative locations and that Mr. Kinnamon proceed with the property that we have located on the corner of Oakley, Park Lane, and Leonard Lane. She said according to Mr. Kinnamon, this property is more than sufficient to meet the needs of what you have proposed with the 22 units for senior citizens and 10 single-family homes. Her motion is to allow Mr. Kinnamon to contact these property owners to see exactly what they want so that we can find out how much it is going to cost the city to purchase this property for the project. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox said he thinks it is a great idea. He suggested looking at the property where the mini-mart is also. Commissioner Cephas said we may be jumping the gun. He asked Pastor Hall if he had an alternative site that he was interested in. Pastor Hall said he had a conversation with Commissioner Brooks about alternative sites and she said she would get the information. There are two things that he wants to give reference to because this is somewhat different from our original proposal. We cannot answer whether the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust will allow them to transfer these properties to having site control to the one they have put in the original proposal. He asked if their original RFP is invalid if these properties are made available. They are talking about doing something completely different from what they had in the original proposal. If the Council is willing to waiver their RFP, then he thinks they can move forward. He asked if the Council would have an emergency meeting so they can look at details and talk to the State to see what they are willing to do. Their main concern is to move forward with the project without any roadblocks to keep them from going to this level as well as other levels as properties become available. Commissioner Brooks amended her motion to add the land near the mini-mart on Cosby and Greenwood.  Rob Collison said if the city purchases the land, they could consider Pastor Hall's proposal; they would not have to re-draft it. Pastor Hall said it does not make much difference where they start the project as long as they get it started. They opted to receive the land that the city made available to them when they submitted the proposal. If they can move forward with other options, they are willing to do it. There are people who said they would live on Schoolhouse Lane and they are honoring those requests. At the same time, if there are other things that can be done to move the project forward, they are willing to make those adjustments. The motion passed 4:0. Commissioner Brooks asked if a letter of approval to do this project would help them without site control of that particular neighborhood. She said she has no problem drafting a letter saying that the City Council supports finding and obtaining land for them to build on. Alma Roberts said they need approval of a site. She said the issue of an emergency meeting won't fit in with this timeframe.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Final Approval for Community Legacy - Small Business Revolving Loan Program Criteria - Phase 1 of Funding-Ed Kinnamon said the small business revolving loan program must have a target area. The committee found what they were targeting is basically commercially-zoned buildings in the historic district. They would like to add this language to the program criteria. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve all relevant information in the program criteria document. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Historic Street Lighting Update (by Main Street)-Liddy Garcia said pending the Historic Preservation Commission's approval of the sidewalk design (cement and brick), the State Heritage Board approved of the amendment to re-locate the grant to the 400 block of Race Street. This grant was originally for Water Street. The local HPC has already approved the Holophane light fixtures. City Council voted approximately a year ago to rent historic street lights from Conectiv. After working with Conectiv during the last few months, they came to a halt after finding out they will not permit Main Street to hang anything on the light fixtures nor are they willing to put on any electrical circuits for Christmas lights. Rob Collison advised them to contact John Tieder, their second option. Tieder's proposal was to lease the lights for 15 years with the option to buy. The lease agreement includes maintenance and can include maintenance in the future. Their group has met with Bill Burris from Tieder and has found him to be very responsive to their needs. Mr. Burris will buy the same lights from Holophane and act as the contractor for the entire project. In order for the city to move forward, the City Council needs to approve of the lease/buy option through Tieder. If they want to stay within their grant deadline, it is the only viable way so they can start the work. She presented Council with a written budget. The project entails burying any of the overhead electric wires, replacing street lights with historic street light fixtures, and adding two feet of brick adjacent to curb. Street trees will also be added. Trees will be donated by Skipjack, a member of Main Street, and grants to be administered by Main Street.  The city will lease the lights and then they will own them after 15 years as opposed to renting them. Basically 46 percent of the total project will be covered by grants and money set aside for this project. The remaining 54 percent will be put into a 15-year lease.  The annual 15-year lease payment would be $12,306 which is approximately $1,000 per month. This includes the maintenance on the light fixtures for the 15-year period.

Bill Burris said they need approval so they can start the project before the grants expire. He would like to get the bases which would allow them to have a 240‑volt outlet in four different locations for street vendors who need that kind of power. Each pole will have a 15-amp 120-volt outlet at the top of it for Christmas lights or other functions during the year. They are looking to put the same basket weave brick 2-feet down the side of the sidewalk. They will remove the fountain which is not being used in the pedestrian mall. The concrete will be torn out and replaced with basket-weave brick. The pole lights will be removed and replaced with wall-mounted fixtures. This will allow more open space for events. He looked at the Holophane and the Hadco fixtures. They have two different approaches. Based on what he has seen, either fixture will accomplish what the city is looking for.

Commissioner Brooks asked if there are other historic streets that could have been added to this project. Liddy Garcia said this is Phase 1 of the project. They are planning to do multiple phases. The streets have to be within the Target Investment Zone. This is all part of the Heritage Area grant. They will eventually include High Street, Gay Street, and Muse Street. The issue with High Street is that there are multiple wires above ground so it is more costly. They are first using the monies they have to do a less-expensive project that only deals with one wire. This is just the beginning.

Commissioner Knox asked if the reason Conectiv would not allow banners was because of liability. Liddy Garcia said they took it to their standards committee and it was a decision that was a hard one for them as well because they realize they are going to loose a lot of business in every municipality. Commissioner Knox asked Bill Burris if they would do the core boring. Bill Burris said they will not do core boring; they will actually cut the concrete sidewalk and trench-in the conduits that they need. They will have to go over or under any other utility. They are negotiating with a couple of local companies with the bricks.

Commissioner Cephas asked if Pine Street is being considered for some type of historic lighting. Liddy Garcia said yes they are. They first have to bring them into the TIZ area. Once they are in the TIZ, they will be considered for the lighting.

Commissioner Knox made a motion to move forward to enter into an agreement with Tieder Electric for a 15-year lease for historic street lights for the 400 block of Race Street, Poplar Street and Cannery Way (aka pedestrian mall). Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Council to Render Decision on Annual Paving Schedule-David Pritchett said if they don't get approval tonight, they won't be able to do this year's annual paving with what has been budgeted for this year. One of the main issues was Southside and this has been added to be paved. They will also pave the service road behind the Holiday Inn, the Peking House, and the Bay Country Shop. Part of it has been done. They are working on the exact amount. The parts that are not in the city will be done by the specific property owners. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the annual paving schedule. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Recommendation to Award Bid for City-Wide Traffic Study-Commissioner Knox made a motion to award the traffic study to RBA Group of Columbia, Maryland for a proposed fee of $79,910. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

NEW BUSINESS

James B. Richardson Foundation, to Request a Carnival Permit and Noise Variance for their Memorial Day Carnival from May 28 (6 pm - 11 pm); May 29 (3 pm - 11 pm); May 30 (1 pm - 8 pm); and May 31 (12 pm - 8 pm) and to Request the Carnival Permit Fee be Waived for Their 501(c)3 Organization (100 Maryland Ave.)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Portside Restaurant for a Noise Variance for their Summer Series of Sunday Dock Parties (June 5, June 26, July 3, July 10, August 7, August 21, September 4) from 2:00 pm Until 7:00 pm-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Ray Moore (304 Academy St.) asked if this variance was approved, would there be no more private parties on the porch at Portside with bands or other kinds of noise. Mayor Rippons said they may come at other times for a single date. Ray Moore asked if he could be notified if this would come about. He doesn't always see the board outside Council Chambers. Rob Collison said it could be within the Council's discretion if they wish to notify an individual who may be affected. Mayor Rippons asked Mr. Moore to give the name of a contact person at the condo association to Mr. Kinnamon. Mr. Moore said he has no objection to what is on the agenda. Portside has had in the past a fairly large number of parties where they have loud bands that go on to 11:00 pm or later. The motion passed 4:0.

Debbie Ellis (5330 Bucktown Road) Request for Approval for Temporary Connection to Sanitary District No. 4-Rob Collison said they could find themselves in the same situation as Commissioner Knox. After the city takes them in, they still may be paying a maintenance fee to the Sanitary District even though they are in the city limits. Dennis Lednum, on behalf of Debbie Ellis, said they talked to the Sanitary District. Last July they requested to connect to the city water and sewer before she started building her house. They were under the impression that it would be completed within a year or less. The house is close to completion. He said he spoke to David Pritchett who told him that this won't take place for two to three years. Mayor Rippons said it will begin in August and be completed by the end of the year.  Mr. Lednum asked if Ms. Ellis could be reimbursed for the impact fee and tap fee to justify this because this is unexpected. Mayor Rippons said if they tap into the Sanitary District lines they will still be impacting the system. Mr. Lednum said this was a hidden cost. Commissioner Cephas said they made an adjustment for Commissioner Travers' daughter tax bill. He thinks it is only fair that they make the adjustment for Ms. Ellis. Mayor Rippons said he will have an expense that has not been outlined before. Rob Collison proposed that Mr. Lednum talk to the Sanitary District and then tell Ed Kinnamon what the cost will be for them to tap into the Sanitary District. Mr. Lednum said that Mr. Herbert told him that if they had to do a hot main tap to Bucktown Road, it would cost approximately $7,500 to $10,000. Commissioner Travers said Mr. Lednum can tie into his daughter's line which comes under Bucktown Road. It would cost $250.  Rob Collison asked that this matter be deferred for two weeks so the two parties can meet. 

Request from Dorchester County Council for a Three-Year Extension to the Memorandum of Understanding for Sanitary Services to the Cambridge-Dorchester Airport by Means of a Connection to the Jacktown Sanitary District-Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Purchase Order 509 - Alban Tractor - $32,758 - Backhoe-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Purchase Order 510 - Mid-Atlantic Waste Systems - $85,414 - Garbage Truck-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

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

Approve Financial Statement for March 2005-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the financial statement for March 2005. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison announced that on Wednesday, April 27th, the city will host a public work session at 7:00 pm for the Planning and Zoning Commission regarding the amendments to the PWCD criteria and designated permitted uses.

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm this evening to discuss the expansion of business within the city and to discuss the negotiations of a proposal.

Commissioner Knox asked the Traffic Committee to look into the possibility of making Leonard Lane a one way street. The folks riding on the road are dodging dump trucks and cars and it is creating a traffic hazard.  He would appreciate them considering this suggestion.

Commissioner Cephas said the Council met in closed session today. For the record he was opposed to closed session then. He is opposed to a closed session now. Without going into detail about their discussion, he thinks the public has a right to know certain things especially when taxpayers' money is involved. It would affect the future of this city. Meeting in closed session with the public gives him the impression of hiding something. They were denied the right to have the public in the meeting.

Commissioner Brooks said she too was opposed to the closed meeting. However, her vote didn't carry. She made a motion to have a brief executive session for a personnel issue after the meeting. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Ed Kinnamon said the city held an auction on Saturday and netted approximately $8,500.

Ed Kinnamon announced that the groundbreaking ceremony for the public safety complex at 8 Washington Street will be on Friday, May 6th at 11:00 am.

Jeff Hurley reported that Council opened bids for RFC two weeks ago for turnout gear for firefighting. He recommended awarding the bid to the low bidder, Personal Protection Equipment Specialists, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, for $1237.36 per set. He also requested the bid for two replacement engines for the fire rescue boat be awarded to the low bidder, Gootee Marine Sales, for a cost with trade of $21,390. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Rob Collison said the City Planner recommended the implementation of an increase in the building permit fee by a minimum of $50 for any units in a development that had not participated in a traffic study by the developer. The money would then be allocated to offset the city's cost of the city-wide traffic study. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the recommendation of the Planning Department to increase the building permit fee by $50 for any new development coming into the city to be utilized for the traffic study and if permissible, allow Rob Collison to draft documentation to also levy the same $50 to any development who has gone in without providing a traffic study. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Rob Collison said for clarification, it would not apply to any building permits already issued. The motion passed 4:0.

Tony Easter said at 6:30 pm Mayor Rippons made public that the Council met in closed session and has decided two things. They had decided not to make public the development project that was under way regarding the Cedar and Race Streets property. He asked how the Council voted. Mayor Rippons said Mr. Knox voted not to allow open session; Commissioner Cephas voted to allow open session; Commissioner Brooks voted to allow open session; Commissioner Travers voted not to allow open session; and he (Mayor Rippons) cast the deciding vote not to allow open session. That was the same vote on both of the issues on hand. Mr. Easter said the second issue was whether or not to allow him to address the Council prior to them making a decision to choose a developer.  He asked if the Council chose a developer. Rob Collison said a motion was made and carried to proceed with formal negotiations with one of the three developers. He cannot share the information at this time. There will be a public hearing before any decision is finally made with the transfer of the property. It is required that there be a public hearing with advanced notice and publication in the Daily Banner. The negotiations cannot be ultimately finalized without a public hearing before the City Council.

Mr. Easter said in his letter to the Council regarding this matter he addressed certain questions regarding cloud of title on the property and certain irregularities in the process. He asked if these would also be addressed at a later time or if they would be ignored. Mayor Rippons said he didn't think any issue would be ignored. Nobody would take over title without doing a title search which addresses the issues.  Mr. Easter said there was some dis-information that he thinks was a result of communications between certain members and the public. He thinks this has clouded or dis-advantaged certain persons they were considering. Rob Collison said the issue can be raised at the public hearing or if there is specific information he wishes the Council to consider, he can submit it to them. Mr. Easter asked about the irregularities about the information being leaked out that was prejudicial.  Rob Collison said he can't get into specifics of what was discussed at the closed sessions. He would be glad to address Mr. Easter's concerns privately.

Vivian Castain, Pastor of Union Chapel AME Church, said the house at 714 Lincoln Terrace was in the process of being built and they were ordered to stop. That house is an eyesore and presents a safety hazard. She asked that the matter be resolved. David Pritchett said the house did not comply to any safety or building codes. The whole top part will be torn off and a solid foundation will be constructed correctly with an appropriately built home on top. It should be underway very quickly.

Commissioner Cephas said Ms. Alice Wongus, who lives on Truman Street, came before City Council a month ago about the property at the end of the street being conveyed to her. David Pritchett said they are working on that and two other allocations at this time. He should be able to have an answer for her by the end of this week on the city's ability to convey that property.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:50 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, April 25, 2005, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer