• 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

November 7, 2005
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, November 7, 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 corrected. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.

Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the October 24, 2005 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.

APPOINTMENTS

Octavene Saunders to Give Tribute to Rosa Parks-Octavene Saunders said she didn't see any local governments giving tribute to this great lady. This woman changed history for the better for everybody. She has left a legacy we should all take to heart and carry on her eloquent and strong belief that we are all very special and important. Although we stay in the Pledge of Allegiance "liberty and justice for all" we have not received it, even with her passing for all. Mrs. Parks lived what she preached. She afforded everyone the right to enjoy our God-given freedom to live and pursue our dreams and to bring them to reality. She demanded to be treated with respect as an equal, as a free American, who had the right to have the pursuit of liberty and happiness and not be treated as a second-class citizen. She accomplished this with quiet dignity. The citizens of Cambridge salute Mrs. Rosa Parks.

Trudy McFall, Homes for Cambridge, to Request the City Holding Constant the Present Property Taxes on Their Property (522 Greenwood Avenue - Parkside Village Apartments) and Implementing a 5-Year Phase-In of Tax Abatement on any Improvements to the Development-Trudy McFall said she appeared before Council on April 12, 2004 to discuss this project. Council voted to grant Homes for America a 5-year phase-in of tax abatement for the improvements to the development. This contribution was required as the City's match for financing which Homes for America will receive from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Tonight she is requesting the official resolution which is required by the State. Ed Kinnamon said once the resolution is approved, the phase-in will be five years from the approval date. Trudy McFall said she thinks it will kick-in about a year from now. Ed Kinnamon said it will actually only be for about four years by the time the Assessment Office re-assesses it and starts the increase, if there is any. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Sylvia Jones to Discuss Drain Problem at Calvin Mowbray Park-Sylvia Jones said in June she provided Council will correspondence and pictures of the standing water problem. They requested lighting to better illuminate the streets. She requested a status report on when they can receive relief from their problem. Commissioner Cephas said he spoke to David Pritchett about the lighting a couple of times. His comment was that the lighting there is "as good or equal" to any lighting in the city. He rode around himself and noticed that on Bethel and School House Lane the lights are much brighter. Every single pole on Glasgow and Locust Streets has a light. In Mrs. Jones' area, the lights are on every other pole or every third pole. The lighting is not "as good or equal" as anywhere in the city. The lights appear to be much dimmer. Unfortunately, David Pritchett was not at the meeting to further discuss this.

Commissioner Brooks spoke about funding for the drainage problem. She said each ward should have monies set aside to correct problems within their particular ward vs. the monies going all to one ward. She knows it would be rather expensive but it is a city street. During the summer it is a health issue with the infestation of flies, mosquitoes, etc.  Ed Kinnamon said after Ms. Jones came to Council in June, there was a discussion on what can be done about the drainage problem. Council put $150,000 into the budget towards the drainage. When he discussed the project with George Hyde, he was told that $150,000 may take care of the engineering. Commissioner Brooks said they will get somebody to start this project. Ms. Jones said this issue began in 1993. Commissioner Brooks asked for a timetable by the next meeting (November 28th) showing when the engineer will actually get started. Commissioner Cephas asked if they had an actual cost to complete the project. Ed Kinnamon said it will take time to figure it. Mayor Rippons said the city submitted a grant application in 2001 to the Department of Housing and Community Development for a block grant. At that time, the city was asking for $239,000.

Mayor Rippons said the last time they discussed this issue, Commissioner Cephas made a statement that the city has impact fees that they can use for this project. Since that meeting, he contacted several sources. He was told that impact fees can only be used for capital costs directly related to growth, either as a new project or bond debts directly related to growth. They cannot be used to correct deficiencies in existing infrastructures. He has an appointment with representatives from another agency who will hopefully open up some additional areas as it relates to grants. This project is on his list of projects to discuss.

Commissioner Brooks asked where the city received the funds to start the Bayly Road project. Mayor Rippons said they were from a community development block grant. In reviewing the grant application, Commissioner Watkins said that area had been a safety consideration for several years. One of his chief priorities was the safety of the children. Commissioner Brooks said the safety and health of the children who live in that area is just as much a consideration as someone going around a bend on Bayly Road. Mayor Rippons said both applications were submitted to the State. The State funded the Bayly Road project. The next round of funding will be in the spring of 2006. Commissioner Knox suggested submitting the application again. Mayor Rippons said he has been talking to our representative already about it.

Portia Johnson Ennels said some corrections need to be made. The Bayly Road project and the Housing Authority project were submitted at the same time. More emphasis was given to Bayly Road. It was not Commissioner Watkins' project; it was Commissioner Atkinson's project. She said they have been living with that problem for a number of years. She asked what the purpose of the impact fees is, if they are not going to help the community that is standing. They are putting a lot of money into new areas and they are letting the old areas deteriorate. The next round of CDBG does not come up until spring and with our reputation in Crownsville, we still might not get it. She expects the same thing from the Mayor and Council that they give to anyone new coming in. Calvin Mowbray Park has been there for a number of years. It needs some upgrading. The city should take on the initiative to fix it up. The citizens are tired of living in squalor and disrepaired streets without lights. She hopes Council will take a stand to help Calvin Mowbray Park with or without CDBG grant money.

Commissioner Cephas said nothing has happened to this point. Water Street was corrected quickly. Letters have been presented to three Mayors about this problem. After he looked at the problem, he passed it on to who he thought was the appropriate person. Apparently, it just sat there.

Commissioner Sydnor said he is sorry Mrs. Jones was told to find funds to repair city streets when that should be the city's job as far as finding where the funds will come from. He will see that George Hyde has some response by the next Council meeting. He will set up some tentative source of find funds.

Elaine Stafford said this issue of standing water has been going on for a long time. It makes them feel like they are still second-class citizens. They need more lighting to help deter crime.

Commissioner Brooks said she has ridden through Calvin Mowbray Park. She agrees they need to take care of this problem. She apologized that it has taken 13 years for them to get just the $150,000 for the engineering of this project. It does not cover fixing the problem. Council will see that something is done. The problem will be corrected before they are out of here.

Commissioner Brooks made a motion to direct George Hyde or the Department of Public Works to proceed with the process of having an engineer hired to start the project. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Discuss Cambridge Country Club's Request for Sewer Connection-Rob Collison said he has not received a response from Mr. Hubbard yet. He asked that this item be deferred until he receives a response.

Introduction of Charter Resolution to Amend Section 3-21 to Eliminate the Personnel Duties of the Mayor-Rob Collison said this was deferred at the last meeting. The Commissioners wanted to consider a replacement for it. Pursuant to Commissioner Brooks' request, he presented a resolution to be considered in conjunction with that. Charter Amendments require two readings. If it is approved, it is then advertised for four successive weeks over the next 40 days. If no petition for referendum is submitted within that time period, it will become effective on the 50th day. For a referendum to be valid, 20 percent of the registered voters would have to sign a petition for referendum in order to take it to election. The proposed charter resolution would eliminate Subparagraph (e) Personnel Duties from Section 3-21 of the city charter regarding the duties of the mayor. The resolution would create a liaison Commissioner who would act as a liaison for each of the executive departments within the city. The department head would discuss personnel decisions with the liaison but they would not confer or give guidance for grievances or termination. The liaison would not be involved with anything that would fall within the grievance procedures of the handbook (employee manual). It may end up with Council under the appeal process. Tonight is the introduction of each document. The resolution does not formally need two readings. He believes it is best to consider it and then debate the issue on its merits with the charter resolution at the next regular meeting.  

NEW BUSINESS

Council to Accept Property at 619 School House Lane-Ed Kinnamon said this was discussed during the last meeting. The property was owned by Mrs. Creighton. Her son (agent), Mr. James had indicated that the property was given to the city some time ago; however it was never processed through. Perhaps the city didn't want it at that time. Currently there is $90.79 in taxes owed on it dating back to 1998. David Pritchett told him it was a valuable piece of property and he would like to see the city take it. It is a small parcel and Ed Kinnamon said he is not sure it could be built upon at this time because of the city's regulations. Rob Collison said the city needs Council's consent to accept the property. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to accept the property and to waive all outstanding debts to the city. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Chesapeake College's Request for a Dedicated ADA Parking Space-This item was tabled until the next meeting.

Discuss DPW's Need for Additional Temporary Space-Commissioner Sydnor said he and David Pritchett have been discussing the lack of space at the Department of Public Works. Apparently we have a facility that was designed for five employees. At the present time, we have eight people in it and soon there is going to be a ninth person. Because of the influx of growth that we are experiencing, this department is probably the first line as far as the amount of work that is going to be required by the city to maintain that growth. Ina Sampson said currently they house the engineering department, the planning and zoning department, public works administration, and the permitting department. The city is currently leasing the facility at a cost of approximately $450. They are looking at a facility that would allow them to house at least 17 to 18 individuals. It would free up other areas that we have in the other part of the Department of Public Works. The estimated rental cost will be between $1,000 and $1,300. They will be negotiating to bring the cost below $1,000. The lease on the current trailer will expire in 1½ years. There will be a repayment if they break the lease and go with another company. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to allow David Pritchett to proceed with the leasing of the new trailer for three years. Once the public safety building has been completed, Council will decide what they are going to with the building next door and that will give them ample time to make a decision. Mayor Rippons asked if this could be deferred until David Pritchett could attend the next meeting in three weeks. Melvin Willey said the only disadvantage would be that it would be happening in the middle of the winter. They will be doing all the site preparation work themselves. The other building will have to be removed to do the site work. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Cambridge Yacht Club for Permission to Use Long Wharf, the Duck Walk Area on Water Street and the Beach on the East Side of Great Marsh on June 3 and 4, 2006 and June 10 and 11, 2006 for Hobie Cat Races-Ed Kinnamon said Mr. Nabb has requested the two dates to lock them in. He won't know the exact date he needs until January but he wanted to make sure he had both dates. The Triathlon will be held in Cambridge on June 11th which is one of these weekends. This information is stated on their website. Rob Collison said the two events are not compatible. Commissioner Travers made a motion to grant the Cambridge Yacht Club permission to use the requested city facilities on June 3 and 4, 2006. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve POs 3777 ($3,750); 3778 ($3,750); and 3776 ($7,500) Stipends for RFC Chiefs-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase orders. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 3748 - Singer Associates - Repairs to Fire Engine 2 - $9,894.67-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve Financial Statement for September 2005-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the financial statement. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Discussion on Bids Received for Affordable Housing on Leonard Lane-Ed Kinnamon said Rob Collison drafted an RFP that was published in the newspaper. The city received two packets of information. He received one from The Corporation for Healthy Homes and Economic Development of Salisbury and one from Visions America of Cambridge. Both packages were received by the specified time and date; however, Visions America came in the following day with some updated figures. He has not looked at either package. Rob Collison said they can open what was submitted initially and will need to take under advisement on the other. The procedure would be to review the plans. If it is something Council wishes to proceed with, they will have to have a public hearing for the disposition of city-owned property on the basis of determining if it is truly excess property that the city does not need. If it is excess property, the city is authorized to transfer or sell it. Ed Kinnamon said there are enough copies for everyone on Council. Rob Collison suggested Council reviewing the information and then appointing an ad-hoc committee of planning and zoning, the housing task force, and others to review it and then report back while the city is advertising for the public hearing.  The presentation can be made at the public hearing. Rob Collison said the City Planner and the Department of Public Works need to look at the plans. Commissioner Brooks said a member of the Housing Task Force also should look at them. Rob Collison said the ad will have to be run in the paper for 21 days in advance. He suggested two public hearings. The first would determine if it is excess property. Once they decided what project they wish to go with, they would advertise for a second public hearing to indicate that the city plans to dispose of the property for the specified number of dollars. The public hearing on excess property will be held during the meeting on November 28th.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:15 pm to discuss personnel matters.

Commissioner Cephas announced on Friday, November 11th from 5:00 pm until 11:00 pm, Herman Hughes Post 87 is going to have a function at the Elks Lodge. Commander Jackson has requested permission for parking on both sides of the street from 5:00 pm until 10:30 pm. Chief Malik said there is no problem with this. They do it frequently for events. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Brooks said she has been attending different government sessions that the city has sent her to. Some cities throughout the State and she assumes throughout the nation, allow the public to a have a public session. The public get to put on the agenda what they want to discuss. She asked for some feedback because she would love to see Cambridge give one night a month to the public so the Council can find out what their issues are and they can have the floor. When she saw a full-page editorial about something that happened in a Council meeting, she is pretty sure there are many other citizens that would like to comment and ask questions about editorials and whether they are half truths or whole truths. The public deserves not only to be able to read what someone has to say, but to comment and ask questions. She asked the public to call Ed Kinnamon and let him know what they would like to discuss. He will bring it back to the next meeting and Council will give one night a month to the citizens of Cambridge for their agenda.

Ed Kinnamon gave Council a memo about a homestead tax credit cap. He has been notified by the Dorchester County Assessment Office that the County is reducing their homestead tax credit cap from 10 percent to 5 percent. This basically means that the taxpayers living in their primary residences will pay less tax since the credit will be realized on any assessment over 5 percent. This was to help with the increase in assessments that many of us have experienced. The County sets the cap and the municipalities' cap is the same unless the municipality wants to change it.  It has to be set at 10 percent or less. He has to notify the Assessment Office what Council wishes to do by November 25, 2005. It is currently at 10 percent. Taking no action would leave it at 5 percent which is consistent with the county. It would become effective July 1, 2006. Commissioner Cephas suggested taking no action thereby leaving it at 5 percent. Council agreed. Rob Collison said no motion is needed.

Rob Collison said the city received a request for annexation by Airpax Corporation LLC for a 6.93 parcel on the corner of Chesapeake Drive and Airpax Drive. It is part of a pocket that the city is trying to close up. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to refer it to Planning and Zoning. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Jerome Stanley read a letter on behalf of Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church in reference to the School House Lane and Chesapeake Court property. They are asking that the City award the property to their church. It would eliminate the congregating of undesirable persons associated with drug trafficking and potential violence. It would also allow them to expand their cemetery. Mayor Rippons said because this property was purchased with grant funds, the state must be contacted before Council makes any decision. He asked Rob Collison to research this matter before the next meeting.

Charlotte Hughes, a member of the city's Housing Task Force, thanked the city for allowing them to attend the conference in Baltimore. Her reference will be to the impact fees for houses that are being built and no infrastructure is required. She has been impressed with two houses that have been built on properties that have previously had houses on them. They had to pay impact fees. She thinks some consideration should be given in this matter. Mayor Rippons said the city has already investigated this matter and the funds will be refunded. Rob Collison said if there is evidence that there was a connection at one time, then the impact fee will not apply.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:10 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, November 7, 2005, insofar as I personally am aware.

                                              

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer