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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

October 25, 2004
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, October 25, 2004 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 October 12, 2004 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion was passed 4:0.   

APPOINTMENTS

Open Bids for Furnishing and Delivering One New 20-Cubic Yard Rear End Garbage Packer-Ed Kinnamon read the bids:

  • Waste Equipment Sales & Service (Denton) -- $82,522.40
  • Mid-Atlantic Waste Systems (Easton) -- $80,014.82
  • Mid-Atlantic Waste Systems (Easton) -- $80,125.82
  • Elliott Wilson Capitol Trucks (Landover) -- $76,076.00
  • Elliott Wilson Capitol Trucks (Landover) -- $82,524.00
  • Giant GMC (formerly MML GMC) (Federalsburg) -- $77,544.00
  • Giant GMC (formerly MML GMC) (Federalsburg) -- $83,992.00

Commissioner Travers made a motion to refer the bids to the Department of Public Works for their review and recommendation.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Public Input on Making Hughlett Street a One-Way Street-Nobody from the audience asked to speak on this issue.  Rob Collison introduced an ordinance to amend Section 11‑8 of the City Code which would make Hughlett Street one-way between Washington Street and Light Street in a northerly direction only.  There are also two other changes to this section.  The new ordinance would delete the reference to Radiance Drive between Sunburst Highway and Rose Hill Place.  That portion of the street was eliminated when the Visitor's Center was built.  The second change would be the reference to Sunburst Highway between U.S. Route 50 and Washington Street.  The portion of the road is two way now. The second reading and vote will be held at the next meeting.    David Pritchett received six calls thanking the City for making Hughlett Street a one-way street.  Ed Kinnamon said he received a thank-you letter from the two residents who recommended the change.  No complaints were received.

Theresa Blake Saunders to Discuss the Raging Unstoppable 10-10 Marching Unit-Mrs. Saunders appeared with several members and board members. They are trying to have only one marching unit in Cambridge.  The other marching unit, Touch of Class, has been causing trouble for them.  Rob Collison recommended that acts of assault or threat should be reported to the Police Department.  Robin Stanley, Director, said that to their understanding, Mayor Rippons stated that he only wanted one band in Cambridge.  They had the paper notarized from the other groups in 2003.  She presented Mayor Rippons with a copy of the letter.  The groups merged together and they are wondering why another group was started and a noise variance was given to them.  Mayor Rippons said the City cannot take a position about how many marching bands can be in Cambridge.  He said the letter that was presented was a consolidation statement.  Rob Collison said the City Council cannot take an action to say only one group can get together. That would be infringing on their right to assembly to create different groups. He doesn't recall the City ever commenting on only having one group.  Chief Malik recommended the group call the Police Department if the other people are throwing rocks or creating a disturbance and he will have a patrol car there immediately.

Robin Stanley asked if their noise variance could be extended to 522 Greenwood Avenue.  Rob Collison said a noise variance must be written on the agenda so the neighbors would be aware of the request.   Mayor Rippons asked that they put their request in writing.

Commissioner Cephas said he saw the group's performance on Saturday and they were magnificent.  Leo King asked if anyone knew how many marching bands Maryland wanted.  The groups merged to represent Cambridge. Now there is a controversy with a group that broke away from their group. It is a problem with the children in school and their parents.  Commissioner Cephas said competition is a good thing. There are enough children in the community to have more than one group.  If the other group presents themselves properly, there is no reason why they shouldn't have a group also.   Rob Collison said the Council can't vote to say there can only be one group in the City.  If they wanted an official "City of Cambridge Marching Group", they could announce it and have groups send in their interests and then select one but he doesn't think anyone would want to do that.  They cannot pass a law or regulation that says only one group can organize and practice in the City.

Commissioner Brooks suggested one representative from each group meet with the Hot Spot representative and compile a list of rules that all the groups will follow and all the groups would sign the document.  Mr. King said the Hot Spot representative said he was not going to deal with the animosity with these groups. Chief Malik said the Police Department could certainly try this again.  They cannot make anyone come to the meetings.  If the other party does not want to come to the meeting, he can try to contact them and meet with them individually.  Mayor Rippons said the Council commends the leadership of the group and what they are doing for the youth.  Several parents and children gave testimony to the values of the group.  They requested help in obtaining transportation to their events and a building to practice in. Commissioner Cephas offered to go back to the organizations he works for and request donations to be used toward their next trip. 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Discussion of "Sliding Scale" Excise Taxes In Lieu Of Impact Fee-Rob Collison supplied Council with samples of what other communities tried, using a sliding scale.  To date he has not been able to find any type of legislation on impact fees or excise taxes that are drafted based on income qualifications. It could be done based on square footage.  He will try to obtain additional samples. Commissioner Brooks said their ultimate goal is to have affordable housing for low-income and at the same time, achieve the monitorial goals that the City needs in order for the infrastructure to grow.

Request from Wal-Mart for a 30-Day Extension for Their Storage Trailers-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Christ Rock Annexation-Rob Collison said Todd Taylor will arrange a meeting with the residents in that area, Gary Newcomb, and Joyce DeLaurentis to see what kind of funding is available and how many residents are still interested in annexation.  Shirley Greene said she is trying to get annexed herself.  The house across the street from her is in the City.  Rob Collison said if the property is contiguous to the existing City limits, then she would qualify.  He said the problem with Ms. Greene's property is that the properties behind her are not in the City because there is a road in between that is not a City road.  Ms. Greene said she has to have her septic pumped out every three to four weeks.   It costs her $140 a month.  Her water pump also stopped and it cost more than $400 to have it repaired.  She knows she would have to pay for a grinder pump.  Mayor Rippons said the State law says the properties must be contiguous to City lines to be annexed. This is why they are trying to get the entire area annexed.  David Pritchett said if they allowed Ms. Greene to be connected, they would have to run the line approximately 800 feet to Egypt Road or expand the line and tap into the same line that the Staffords are on.  If all the homes continue to do this, it will be an absolute nightmare.  Within a very short time, the maintenance costs and infrastructure work will be almost impossible because the lines will run everywhere.  Everyone knows that Christ Rock needs to be annexed and properly install the right sewer lines, water lines, road, and drainage.  Rob Collison said it appears now that it will be at minimal cost to the residents because there are three grant sources available.  If the City receives a letter from the State saying they must provide services because of environmental problems, the services would be extended without requiring annexation.  As a condition, Ms. Greene would then consent to the annexation once it is available.  Mayor Rippons said the City met with the County to discuss another area and they said they have top priority at the State and Federal level.  The City asked that Christ Rock be moved up to that same priority level.   

Appoint Members to the Housing Board of Review-Mayor Rippons asked that this will be discussed in two weeks.

NEW BUSINESS

Appointment for Historic Preservation Commission-Mayor Rippons said there are two positions available on this Commission.  Commissioner Brooks said her appointment will be Adrian Harrison. Commissioner Travers said his appointment will be George Adams. He presented a copy of Mr. Adams' resume. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve both appointments. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from CPD to Approve Purchasing Employee Contract to Hire Certified Police Officer-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Ed James to Obtain a Section of Moreland Avenue (Paper Street)-David Pritchett said he cannot foresee any possible practicality in utilizing this paper street.  It is a grown-up area with a very large ditch in it.  There are two other adjoining property owners and Council would have to determine the appropriate way to transfer the property to Mr. James.   Rob Collison said the City would have to hold a public hearing.  They would then quit-claim their right to develop this land.  Half would go to each of the property owners on each side of the right-of-way.  Council asked Rob Collison to research this further. 

Request from Residents of Newly Annexed Section of West Glasgow Street for Additional Street Lighting to be Referred to Street Lighting Committee-Commissioner Travers made a motion to refer this request to the Street Lighting Committee for their review and recommendation.  Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request for a "No Parking to Corner" Sign in Front of 800 Washington Street to be Referred to the Traffic and Safety Committee-Commissioner Travers made a motion to refer this request to the Traffic and Safety Committee for their review and recommendation.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request to Install Traffic Lanes by the Department of Public Works (Rigby/Fairmount Ave) to be Referred to the Traffic and Safety Committee- Commissioner Travers made a motion to refer this request to the Traffic and Safety Committee for their review and recommendation.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request to Go to Bid for a Laser Printer for the Engineering Department-Commissioner Travers made a motion to grant the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Clerk-Treasurer to Discuss LOSAP Program-Mayor Rippons said discussion on this item has been postponed for a few weeks.

Discuss Appointments to Dorchester County Housing Task Force-Each Commissioner has been asked to appoint a member to serve on the task force.

Discussion of Charter Resolution to Amend the Powers and Duties of the Mayor-Rob Collision said during the last meeting there was a motion made to amend the section of the Charter regarding personnel responsibilities of the Mayor.  There was a second motion made regarding starting procedures for hiring a City Manager.  If Council wishes to proceed with the Mayor/Council/Manager structure of government, additional Charter amendments will be necessary.  Commissioner Brooks said she doesn't have a problem with them being combined.  She made the recommendation that she work with Mr. Wheeler and anybody else on this endeavor.  Rob Collison said Ed Kinnamon has consulted with the Association of City Managers and they will come before Council and brief them on the various options that would be available on the structures of government and how the Charter will have to be changed.   The Charter Amendment Resolution will be fine-tuned and drafted.  It will come before Council for two readings.  It is approved after the second reading.  Following that, it is posted in City Hall and advertised in the Daily Banner or any paper of general circulation in the City once a week for four weeks following the approval.  During the 40-day period, at least 20 percent of registered voters in the City could petition to have it go to referendum.   If the City receives a valid petition for referendum within the 40-day period, the resolution does not go into effect and Council has to then set up an election date when the voters would vote either in favor of or against the Charter Resolution.  The election has to be not less than 40 days and not more than 60 days after the referendum is certified.  There are 5745 registered voters in the City as of October 12, 2004.  It would require 1149 voters to sign a petition for referendum on any Charter Resolution. If no petition with at least 20 percent of the registered voters is submitted, the resolution becomes effective the 50th day following its passage.  Mr. Wheeler is in the process of drafting the job description for the City Manager.  Mr. Kinnamon will have someone brief Council on the options, hopefully in the next 30 days.

Resolution to Amend the Trash Disposal Fee-In the budget that was approved for Fiscal Year 2005, it provided for an increase of the residential monthly fee from $5.25 to $5.75 and the commercial monthly fee from $15.75 to $17.25.  This resolution will be approved at the next meeting.

Introduction of Ordinance to Amend MUC Fees-This ordinance amends Section 18‑1 of the City Code entitled "Water services; rates".  It creates revised fees for the fire line service.  This ordinance will be up for final passage at the next meeting.

Financial Statement for September 2004-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the financial statement for September 2004.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison reported that the Council met in Closed Executive Session at 6:30 pm this evening to discuss the procurement process and review bids regarding a City project.

Commissioner Knox said Lawrence Bohlen, who has been serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission, is moving away from the area. Commissioner Knox made a motion to appoint William Craig to serve in his place. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Commissioner Knox said the committee appointed to review the PWCD did a fantastic job.  The moratorium is coming to a close. He made a motion to extend the moratorium until March 1, 2005 so the Council may review the recommendations.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  Rob Collison said this would require a public hearing.  Commissioner Knox amended his motion to hold a public hearing regarding the moratorium.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the amended motion.  The motion passed 4:0. 

Commissioner Knox said the Sailwinds issue has come up again.  He read a statement he prepared.   He said at the October 12th Council meeting, he brought up the subject of beginning the process of selecting a new Sailwinds Management Board.  He requested to have this topic placed on the agenda for the last meeting.  Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to remove this item from the agenda.  Mayor Rippons is not authorized to make selections on what may or may not be discussed among Council. The Sailwinds issue has been a hot topic for quite some time.  The gentlemen resigned effective December 31, 2004.  He felt it was time to select a new Board.  Mayor Rippons feels differently and said they need not bother as some members of the past Board are returning.  He said he and the remaining Board members will decide on the new members and he will remain as liaison for the City.  Commissioner Knox said it is his understanding that the City Council is ultimately responsible for Sailwinds and should be responsible for the selection of the Board, not the day-to-day operations.  He personally has no desire to operate Sailwinds and he believes his colleagues share the same opinion.  He has spoken to his constituents to illicit some opinions as well as members of City Council.  He feels he has been verbally abused and belittled at any given moment by the Mayor because he has different ideas and colleagues.  He will not allow this to continue.  If it means asking for the resignation of the Mayor, then so be it.  He cannot, and will not, continue with this form of leadership where there is no such word as compromise.  His character and self-esteem are under constant attack.   The community knows how important Sailwinds is to all of us, but he had no idea he was walking on such fragile ground.

Commissioner Cephas said he received a letter from David Pritchett in reference to property on Leonard Lane.  It is his understanding that Mr. Pritchett would like to use the property for something else, rather than what Commissioner Brooks suggested which is low- and moderate-income housing.  He strongly opposes using that property as a maintenance facility for City trucks especially when he sees all the development coming to Cambridge and it is not for low- and moderate-income housing.  That property is an ideal location.  David Pritchett said he stated in his memo that we need low- and moderate-income housing.  He feels this item is time-sensitive only because Commissioner Brooks brought it up at the last meeting. With the growth the City is experiencing, the Department of Public Works needs more room.  It is not a want; it is a need.  Public Works cannot operate on that little piece of property forever.  The property they are discussing is across the street and the City received it for free.  He felt the Council may never have heard of the suggestions for using the land for a small fire substation, an MUC water tower, and/or a central storage area for the City.  They wouldn't bother anyone there.  They would not disturb residents.  It would be a perfect location for public works.  He felt a responsibility to inform Council that the time will come when they will need more space. They cannot build the facility where they are; it will not fit.  They are looking at a centralized maintenance facility for the City to repair all of the City vehicles as a cost-saving effort. Commissioner Cephas said Mr. Pritchett's point is well taken.  He is not opposing him; he just does not like the idea. He met with Sylvia Jones, Head of the Housing Authority, and she said there are 197 families who need housing immediately in this County. This piece of property would be a start.

Commissioner Brooks asked David Pritchett if the City has the money to build a truck garage on Leonard Lane.  David Pritchett said he had no idea about the finances. He is simply pointing out what the near future with 6,000 to 10,000 people coming to this area, is going to require.  Commissioner Brooks asked Ed Kinnamon if the City had the finances to build a truck garage.  He said the City has some money, but he does not know how much it would cost.  If it is going to be a large type of construction project, he would fund it through a bond or a loan.  Commissioner Brooks said she would suggest that we use everything we have on the one project we are trying to get up, which is the public safety building that we do not have enough money for.  She doesn't see where we should hold the land up on Leonard Lane from being used for low-income housing while we wait on more money to build a truck garage.   David Pritchett said he felt he would be negligent if he did not point out to Council the needs the various departments are going to have.  Rob Collison said what David Pritchett is trying to say is that the City will have the need for the expansion, no matter what.  When it arises, if you use this parcel, the only expense will be the construction.  Whereas if we do something else with this parcel, when the time comes, we will not only have the construction cost, we will have the land acquisition. He said something else to consider is, if there are future annexation requests, in the negotiations with the developers, the City could require dedication of some parcel for low- and moderate-income housing.  Commissioner Brooks said if these houses come here, the City will have money to relocate the truck garage or whatever else they want anywhere else.  We know what our needs are today and we know today we do not have the money to put up what they are asking for as well as a public safety building. We need to get one endeavor done at a time.  Let's get the public safety building up and let's get some low-income housing for our residents here in Dorchester County.  David Pritchett said we are looking at about $200,000 to put up the facility for doing centralized maintenance for the City.  There is a realized cost savings if it is done.  They are able to do MUC.  They are not able to do the Police Department on a regular maintenance schedule; they cannot do the Fire Department.  They service all this equipment daily.  They use belly boards to work on the trash trucks and dump trucks. The building is too short to put a lift in. The maintenance department is operating out of a room that was once a closet.  Commissioner Brooks said nobody is criticizing Mr. Pritchett for his opinion.  Right now she sees the land being used for low-income housing.

Commissioner Knox said the piece of property they are speaking about is five or six acres.  There is property located on the corner of Leonard Lane and Park Lane and property located on Leonard Lane and Cosby Avenue.  He asked if someone could find out the size of those two areas combined and possibly purchase them through grants.  The day will come when we need the property on Leonard Lane. David Pritchett said there will be sections of Egypt Road for response time that cannot be met from the new public safety building location.  It is not a necessity to centralize the maintenance; he just thinks it is a good idea as have the other departments. They thought it would fit on the one lot.  Commissioner Knox said if it ends up being a yard for the City maintenance, etc.  and a fire substation at the same time with at least one ladder truck, if we live long enough to see the connector road built from Route 343 to Route 16, our fire and emergency vehicles could be anywhere within our City in a matter of minutes and attacking the problem in two different directions.  It is something that is going to have to be well thought out before we move on that piece of property.  We have to think about the needs of our citizens as a whole.  He thinks we should look at those other two pieces of property as well.  Rob Collison said he will contact the property owners.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said nine years have gone by since the proposal was put in to put the garage on Leonard Lane.  The parcels Commissioner Knox is talking about are surrounded by public housing.  People build houses for value and they want the value to go up.  Those two pieces of property would not bring up the value of the property at all.  Developers have looked at every section of the town but the Second Ward. The people living in the Second Ward are hard working people who want to buy homes but they cannot afford what is coming in and some of them don't want to leave that area.  If homes could be built that they can afford, they would like to stay there.

David Pritchett clarified that the plans from years ago did not specify the lot on Leonard Lane. The City did not even own it at that time.  The concept was to have a centralized maintenance facility.  They had no idea where it would be built.

Ed Kinnamon asked Council to authorize the purchase of emergency radios for Rescue Fire Company and Cambridge Emergency Medical Services. The purchase orders were submitted during the last meeting.  The cost for RFC dropped to $49,000+ which is under budget. The cost for CEMS is $12,673 which is the same as it was. There is a time constraint. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Chief Malik reminded everyone that trick-or-treat will be held on Saturday, October 30th from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm.  He asked all motorists to drive safety and be aware of the children. 

Wendell Foxwell said the City is talking about excise taxes in lieu of impact fees. He thinks most taxpayers in the City don't know the difference.  He thinks someone should write an article in the paper discussing the advantages of excise taxes and the advantages of impact fees.  He thinks it should be explained.  Rob Collison said generally the impact fee is a precise amount as to what an expert has determined the cost to be for each "equivalent dwelling unit" for the City to maintain the capacity for various infrastructures.  Based on that, the fee would be the same per unit.  The consultant said the maximum the City could charge would be $9,500.  The City must allocate and segregate all the dollars for the respective accounts.  The excise tax is more arbitrary.  You can impose an excise tax of a percentage or dollar amount.  That is why they fluctuate.  It would be different for a commercial unit vs. a residential unit.  Some towns differentiate between a detached single-family home and a townhouse.  In some instances, it is more equitable to have an impact fee, because it truly is a cost-per-household.    

Gage Thomas asked if there would be public hearings on the PWCD recommendations.  Mayor Rippons said there would be a public hearing on extending the moratorium.  Rob Collison said the committee's recommendations had specific amendments to the criteria, the Code, the classification, and the designation.  They would like to have this four or five month extension on the moratorium while they present those text amendments.  The text amendments will be refined during the moratorium and referred to Planning and Zoning and then there will be public hearings before Council on the text amendments and district amendments.

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, October 25, 2004, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer