• 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

October 24, 2005
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, October 24, 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, Sydnor, 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 October 11, 2005 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion with the necessary corrections. Commissioner Brooks said there was a statement made by Chuck Brooks. Everything he stated was not in the minutes. However, what the two people who followed him said was included in the minutes. It doesn't make complete sense unless you put in everything he said. She asked that his comments be put in the minutes verbatim. Ed Kinnamon said he will have the minutes corrected and present Council with the corrected copy at the next meeting. Commissioner Travers withdrew his motion. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to defer approving the minutes until the next meeting. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

APPOINTMENTS

Rev. Alan Gould, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, to Request Financial Assistance for a Homeless Shelter at Their Facility ($7,500 to $10,000)-Rev. Gould called and said he will be unable to attend the meeting.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Discuss Cambridge Country Club's Request for Sewer Connection-Rob Collison said the Country Club provided a letter from the Dorchester County Health Department regarding the city allowing them to tap into the lines that go to Horn Point. For the past several years, the city's policy has been that there are only three circumstances where the city will allow connection. They are annexation, a pre-existing contractual relationship, or when the State mandates that the city take the property in. The town of Church Creek would be an example of this. The letter regarding the Cambridge Country Club, in his opinion, did not meet that criterion. Apparently they have a failing system. From the wording of the letter, it appears that the city taking them in is not the only option they have. He has requested additional information from them and will give Council a more comprehensive packet for the next Council meeting. Another option would be for the Country Club to contact the property owners between the city line near Greenlawn Cemetery and ask if they would like to be annexed.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Wal-Mart for Permission for Storage Trailers Behind Their Store (30 days)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. Commissioner Cephas said he did not see the letter and asked how many storage trailers they requested. David Pritchett said this is also a concern of his. He thinks they asked for eight already. Ed Kinnamon said this is an extension letter. He believes the original letter requested six trailers. It was a lesser amount than the previous year. David Pritchett said he is o.k. with this additional period. The maximum number they have allowed is 10 trailers; however, they prefer that Wal-Mart not have that many. Commissioner Cephas said he thinks it was 13 trailers. Commissioner Travers revised his motion to allow the trailers for 30 days-not to exceed the number of trailers permitted in the original approval letter. Commissioner Knox seconded the revised motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Discuss Community Clean-Up-David Pritchett said the dates for Community Clean-Up will be October 29th and November 5th. The first Saturday will be for everyone west of High, Poplar, and Race Streets. The following Saturday will be for the remainder of the city. He asked everyone to have their items out by 7:00 a.m. They will pick-up two appliances per unit; a maximum of four tires; and no more than three cubic yards of other items. If someone has more than this, they should call at least 24 hours in advance so they can be put on a list. Extra men and equipment may be needed in these circumstances.

Discuss Lighting Committee Referral-David Pritchett said there is currently a request to have a light where Great Marsh Park begins on Somerset Avenue. Commissioner Brooks said there have also been requests for additional lights on Maces Lane and Bayly Road. David Pritchett said there has also been a request for a light on East Appleby. These lights will be discussed at the next Street Lighting Committee meeting.

Discuss Race and Poplar Streets Lighting Project-David Pritchett said the lights have been installed on Poplar Street and the 400 block of Race Street. The old lights have been removed. There is curb damage in so many places. Public Works is not geared up to do the work and make it fit-in with the new bricks. Most curb repair is contracted through projects. His request is to add this to the current contract. They asked several companies for estimates. The lowest estimate came from the contractor who did the original work. The estimate is $18,369. It is a very reasonable price running at approximately $22 a linear foot for curb and gutter pan. This amount was not budgeted for the project. Ed Kinnamon said the project was scheduled to be paid for with a secured loan. Grants will pay for approximately $100,000 which leaves a balance of about $125,000 to borrow. The additional amount can be added to the loan. David Pritchett said no matter how hard DPW would try, they only have so many street crew men and they are so busy at this time of year. They only have a few who are skilled enough to do this type of work and they are still lacking the necessary concrete forms that this will take. They do not do this type of work. Commissioner Cephas said it is his understanding that Tieder can start on Wednesday and get it done in a short period of time and there is grant money available for this type of work. He sees no reason why they can't use the money and get it done. He has heard a lot of people complain about the condition of the curb. Mayor Rippons said the grant funds have already been used. The total project cost will be well in excess of $200,000. Commissioner Cephas said if DPW can actually do the work, we may as well do it in-house. Ed Kinnamon said he had planned on borrowing about $125,000 for the project. Generally they would get a percentage of prime type rate and pay a 6 month interest with annual principle payment. That is in the budget. If they need additional funding for a part of the project, it could be added. David Pritchett said George Hyde said he is not comfortable doing the work in-house. Ed Kinnamon said he also spoke to George Hyde. They discussed the funding. Commissioner Knox said it sounds like there is a possibility of the city being penny wise and pound foolish. David Pritchett is stating that he doesn't have the amount of qualified personnel to do a job of this size plus they don't have the equipment to do this work. He would hate to see Council not approve this and then have to hire an outside contract to correct the work that the city employees did. If we do it ourselves and it is not correct, the $20,000 could very well be $30,000. Rob Collison asked if the weather elements would prevent them from having sufficient time for the formal bidding process. David Pritchett there is no way to go to bid, get it back, get it awarded, and get them on site in less than two months. If it was a private property owner, a fix and repair notice would be issued. There are three hazardous areas already. They must be fixed soon. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve this so work can begin and have a little more peace of mind when it comes to safety. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion with a condition that Mr. Kinnamon has the financing for it. David Pritchett said they can reduce the cost by doing the demolition part and hauling the debris away. He could probably bring it down to $14,000. Mayor Rippons repeated that the motion is to approve the work through Tieder Controls and David Horsey and Sons, in an amount not to exceed $18,369 (funded through a loan) to complete this project. The motion passed unanimously.

Introduction of Charter Resolution to Amend Section 3-21 to Eliminate the Personnel Duties of the Mayor-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to table the first reading of the amendment at this time and defer it to the next Council meeting. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 3683 - GTBM - Software for CPD On-Board Laptop Computers and Maintenance Agreement $9,300 - (Grant Funds)- Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve Resolution for Community Legacy Grant Application-Ed Kinnamon said he spoke with Anne Roane today. The city will be requesting $820,000 (estimated) for the various projects that Council approved at the last meeting. The application is due on November 1st. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison said there will be a meeting of the Planning Commission and the Traffic Consultants on Wednesday, October 26th at 7:00 pm in Council Chambers.

Commissioner Knox commended Gary Newcomb and the employees of MUC who worked on the broken water main on Glasgow Street on Friday night. Mr. Newcomb was directing traffic and the men were working hard to get the pipe repaired and the water services restored. They were there until at least 8:30 pm. He commended them for a job well done.

Commissioner Sydnor said some time ago he stated that Chesapeake Gas Company should be contacted concerning their limited hours and the inconvenience it was creating on our city. Ed Kinnamon said he will write the letter and give Commissioner Sydnor a copy.

Commissioner Brooks said she received several phone calls from people living along Bayly Road. A project that was started there a couple years ago still hasn't been completed. David Pritchett said there has been a development on the project and he will forward it to her.

Commissioner Brooks said they have had several meetings with residents in the Christ Rock area. It came to her attention that for quite some time now, we have residents living there that are paying full city taxes and do no have any city water. In other areas, the residents have been charged less taxes when they do not have the full amenities of the city. She asked why this area was not included and why nothing has been brought forward to bring city water to this area. This has been going on for nine years or more. David Pritchett said they have made multiple attempts to work with the residents of Christ Rock. Rob Collison said it is properties on the north side of Route 16 between Bayly Road and the Delmarva Community Services. Apparently when the expansion was done, some of the properties did not get water and/or sewer. Mayor Rippons asked for a list of names. David Pritchett said he has a property map showing those houses. Commissioner Brooks said Anne Roane is aware of it because she has been attending the meetings. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to give these individuals the same consideration that the city has given other individuals in the city whose taxes are paid on a pro-rate basis starting immediately according to what services they receive. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Rob Collison clarified that the individuals will get the same discount that other properties receive who do not receive all city services. Ed Kinnamon said some people pay 40% of the taxes; others pay 60%, depending on the services they receive. Commissioner Brooks said we need to determine what they are receiving and then give them the same consideration that we give other citizens in Cambridge. Commissioner Knox said when the motion was made for the residents of the Bucktown Road area, we were aware of the homes that were involved. He suggested that before Council vote to give anyone a tax abatement, we find out what houses are involved. This could be taken care of before the next meeting. Commissioner Brooks said we know what homes are involved. Anne Roane has the house numbers. These individuals should be treated the same. They are all within the city limits. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Brooks asked Mayor Rippons to take on a challenge, since he has taken on the challenge of growth and growth is good. We now need a different type of housing and that is affordable housing. Along with that, we need economic growth. We do no have the economic growth to support the housing that we have here for the citizens who live here. He is asking the Mayor to work with the developers to bring a program here that would help train some of the individuals in the city how to work in construction, how to do bricklaying, plumbing, electricity, etc. to bring jobs into the city. She would also like him to include somewhere in the agreement that United States citizens from Dorchester County will be hired at these jobsite and that the city take on the responsibility of bringing that training here to train the individuals that we have walking the streets of Cambridge and Dorchester County that cannot find a job. 

Commissioner Travers said the city has started to put up the Christmas lights. It looks fantastic every year and he is looking forward to it again.

Loretta Williams said she has lived on School House Lane for 30 years. She has a complaint with the club that is behind her house. The lot known as 619 School House Lane is an empty lot. It is being used as a parking lot for the patrons of Club Allure. She is asking if the city owns this lot, that they put "no parking" signs on it. She is also asking the city for permission to cross over the lot. She has been maintaining the property for over 20 years and has not charged anyone. She called the police on Friday night but the people moved before the police came.  The owner of Club Allure, Brian Rich, confronted her and threatened her. He said if she continues to speak ill of him and cause problems for him in this area, that she will have to pay. She is concerned because the city owns this property. They have purchased it and she would like the area to be built up into a better community. Because this man does not have a liquor license, the element that used to be around there is no longer there. There are no longer any murders. There is no longer any cussing or fighting. Nobody is standing in the alleys selling crack. Nobody is urinating on her property. It is a safer neighborhood now that this man does not have a liquor license. She is going to lobby and do everything in her legal power to stop this man from getting his liquor license. We cannot build that community up and have a safe neighborhood if that bar is still in function. She is asking the city to put signs there prohibiting parking on the side of the street. She asked that the signs be put on the lot also. David Pritchett said Spencer Bradley wanted to know if he could just put the sign up. It is totally appropriate what she is asking for. He was not aware that the ownership of that piece of property had transferred. He thought the piece of property was still in Mr. James' name. Ms. Williams said she spoke with Jack James who told her that Ed James is the manager for that piece of property. She called Land Records and the property is still in Ruth Creighton's name. It has not been changed over. Ed James told her he gave the property to the city. He has not paid taxes on it for three or four years now. The records are not up-to-date. Mayor Rippons said he will check into the matter to see who the actual owner is.  After Ms. Williams called him last week, he talked to Chief Malik and Rob Collison about the BYOB issue. They are in their rights to do that according to the State laws. The city's standards cannot be more lax than State laws. However, the city can enact laws which are more stringent. Rob Collison is looking into putting legislation into place to prohibit this.  Ms. Williams said with BYOB, they are acting and participating as if they have a license. Other cities prohibit this.

Sean Stafford said he got with a couple of other young people and they discussed some things that they had overheard older people having problems with. They decided to do something about it. He provided Council with a brief overview of a proposal for a community center/skating rink. They want to help everybody in the community as well as surrounding communities. The skating rink will pay for itself and the community center. The purpose is give young people something constructive to do. They looked into the old Acme building and are asking the city for help in purchasing it and putting a community center together.  Commissioner Brooks said she met with Mr. Stafford and several others concerning this endeavor. At some time she had asked Mr. Kinnamon if he could give us an update as to where we are at talking about trying to purchase the Acme building or the Metro building. Since that time she does not know what has developed. She knows that we have a person in the city to use for grant writing. There are many grants out there for community development, such as playground equipment, etc. She would like to utilize our grant writer at this time to explore the grants that are out there and to apply for some grants to help bring this to a reality. She also suggested asking some developers to play a part in our community and give some money toward this endeavor. The youth of our city will be the future of our city. We need to do something with the youth. There is nothing in the city for the young adults to do. She asked Ed Kinnamon to have the grants writer look at grants, like Community Legacy, that can be applied for. She also asked for him to look into the reality of obtaining the Metro building or the Acme building. She asked Sean Stafford and his group to go to stores and ask them to make a major donation. Sean Stafford said he has composed a letter to send to the banks and other people who have money who might be willing to contribute toward building a community center. Commissioner Brooks said this group is working under the auspices of the Good Shepherds so a 501(c)3 is in place.  Commissioner Sydnor thanked Mr. Stafford for his initiative. He has done a wonderful job. He asked if he had considered skateboarding. Mr. Stafford said in speaking with Commissioner Brooks, she has said Council is already in the planning process of having a skate park, maybe adding it to the YMCA.  Commissioner Brooks said the YMCA is a possible site. They could use a skating rink all year long. Nobody seems to know what is going on with the Maces Lane Center. At some point it was slated to be a community center but it stopped right there. There is more than one possible area. We just need to get someone working to give us updates on what is happening. Mr. Stafford said they contacted everyone necessary to make this possible. The only thing lacking, other than money, is the insurance. They are looking for an attorney to look at the paperwork. Commissioner Knox suggested asking the county for assistance also. Mr. Stafford said he has spoken to pastors from Salisbury who would be willing to travel to be part of the mentor program. Women in Easton also said they would help. It is not just for Cambridge. Commissioner Knox said it is a wonderful idea. Maybe partnering with the county could make this a reality. Mayor Rippons said the county is putting together a comprehensive parks and recreation plan for the next five years. This helps them when applying for Open Space funds and other grants. Mayor Rippons thanked Mr. Stafford for his efforts for the community.

Ms. Lee Green said she has some serious concerns with what she is seeing happen in the city regarding city jobs. She feels like certain officials are being coerced into giving jobs to unqualified candidates. Her understanding from the research that she has been doing is that this happened in the police department recently. She sees it happening in public works. She asked about the status of the assistant director's position in DPW. David Pritchett said the main reason that has been on hold is because they are literally out of space. Their last small addition on the back of the building was designed for four people. Now they are using it for eight people plus one part-time person. He has accepted some in-house applications. He does not have an office to put the person in. Ms. Green said the in-house application is what concerns her. Her understanding is that the person who applied has no construction experience, has physical problems with would prohibit them from going out into the field to do part of the job, and yet she knows for a fact that there was a candidate who applied that has an AA in science and math, and bachelor's degree in agriculture with special focus on agriculture, drainage wetlands, pest control, animal diseases, soil erosion, soil science, irrigation, and ecology. What she is seeing is people who are not qualified getting positions that they are not entitled to. An unqualified inspector puts the building and the people in danger. She is seeing political pressure on these offices to hire people who are not qualified. She understands that one person was encouraged to threaten a lawsuit so that it would tie things up in that department to keep it from being assigned to anybody. For four years, nothing has been going on. There have not been threats of lawsuits. All of a sudden when certain people want certain people to have a position, there are threats of lawsuits, and they are asking to take the Mayor's responsibilities away from him. She sees this as political and she is upset.

Chief Malik said she is questioning his integrity by talking about the police officer. He offered to speak to her in his office about what she is talking about. Ms. Green said she is referring to a detective who got promoted. Rob Collison recommended they meet in private. Chief Malik said he can easily justify any promotion within the Cambridge Police Department. Ms. Green said she feels like Chief Malik was pressured. Chief Malik said he was not pressured by the Mayor or any Commissioner as long as he has been Chief to promote anybody or move anybody into any position.  Ms. Green said Commissioner Brooks talked about training. She asked what the point of that was if the jobs are pre-determined. Commissioner Brooks asked if Ms. Green is at liberty to say where the political pressure is coming from. Ms. Green said she will talk to the Council privately. Commissioner Brooks offered to meet with her immediately after the meeting.

Marge Hull congratulated Sean Stafford on his idea and the fact that he would go into a project and put a proposal before Council. She thinks it is just great. About four years ago there was a group of young teenagers who came to Council to ask for a skate park. There had been some research done. Out of that came the thought that there was space by the county pool for a skate park.

Commissioner Travers made a motion to go into executive session following the meeting to discuss personnel. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  Commissioner Brooks said they attend an MML training session that talked about certain things that are not really private, even when it comes to salaries of individuals who work for the city. She asked if the public really had a right to know what is discussed in some of these sessions. Rob Collison said if they are talking about an evaluation of an individual's performance, a right to an increase or not, it has to be private. City-wide salaries are public.  The motion passed unanimously.

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, October 24, 2005, insofar as I personally am aware.

      

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer