City Council Minutes
March 24, 2003
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, March 24, 2003 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 Bohlen, Watkins, Weldon, Atkinson and Travers.
Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Atkinson led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 10, 2003 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Animal Control Task Force-Commissioner Atkinson reported that the task force met on March 17, 2003. Their research found that Caroline County funds the Humane Society 100 percent. Talbot County funds their Humane Society 100 percent. Salisbury provides two fully-paid animal control positions within the City under operational control of the Police Department. The Task Force made the following recommendation to the City Council: First, that the County revises their regulations to meet the needs of the municipalities. The County regulations only refer to dog control, not to other animal control. Secondly, that Dorchester County funds the Humane Society 100 percent. They believe that if the municipalities and the County both fund it, they are double taxing the property owners within the municipalities. Last, the City Council, representatives of the task force, the County Council and the Humane Society get together to see if they can iron out their differences before the next budget is approved. Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to set up the meeting.
Mayor Rippons asked the Sailwinds Park Management Board members to stand. He read a resolution of the Mayor and City Commissioners of Cambridge for the efforts of the Management Board to revitalize a much-needed City asset. To date, they have brought in over 50,000 people at multiple activities. The Management Board is comprised of Ted Creighton, Carlton Stanley, J. B. Tieder, Bob Peters, and Raymond Simmons. The Council recognized them for their many hours of dedicated services and commitment to Cambridge. Mayor Rippons presented the Board with a plaque to be displayed at Sailwinds Park and individual resolutions.
Raymond Simmons spoke on behalf of the Management Board. They greatly appreciate the recognition from City Council. The proof is what has been accomplished at Sailwinds. He said they would be remiss if they did not give a lot of credit to Kim Seward, the Executive Director and Sara Burtman, who volunteers out there about "14,000 hours a day". It couldn't have been done without them. It is gratifying to see that this project has moved forward. He said they will be with the City a little while longer. In addition to getting the floor re-done, they have started talking to contractors about bidding for a canopy to go outside the building. They have over 65 events booked this year. Mr. Simmons said none of them would do anything without Ted Creighton.
Robin Bradley to Discuss Renovations to the Park on Academy Street--Robin Bradley would like the Academy Street Park to be renovated into a skate park for the children of Cambridge. She presented Council with information about the skate park in Ridgley including construction costs. She understands that grants are available for this. Mayor Rippons said grants are very hard to get now, especially parks and recreation grants. They have been cut back severely at the State level. Commissioner Weldon said this is something they talked about for several years now. He suggested forwarding Ms. Bradley's information to the Department of Public Works and the City Planner to see if there are some opportunities they could explore. Mayor Rippons said they will also forward it to Mr. Wheeler for contemplations of liability. Ms. Bradley said the park will also be used by children staying at the Hyatt and other tourists. Mayor Rippons suggested that she also speak to the Dorchester County Commissioners because tourism is handled at the county level. Ms. Bradley said Ridgley is more than willing to offer any information and help them can provide. Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to contact Missy, the town clerk of Ridgley. Ms. Bradley will contact the Dorchester County Commissioners.
Shirley McWilliams and Jack Brooks from the Dorchester County Historical Society to Request Permission to Place Temporary Signs Directing Participants to the Maryland Home and Garden Pilgrimage Tour (April 26)-Dorchester County is involved State-wide with the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage. They are requesting permission to put directional signs around Cambridge on April 25th and will be taken down on April 27th. Chief Malik and David Pritchett both said it was fine with them. Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to allow the signs. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Jerome Stanley from Delmarva Community Services to Place Temporary Bus Stop Signs at Various Locations in Cambridge-Jerome Stanley, Operations Manager for Delmarva Community Transit, asked permission to install temporary bus stop signs. They are going from a deviated fixed route to a fixed route system. Door-to-door service is not cost effective. They are going to start with temporary signs so they can run the system from 6 months to 1 year to see which stops are being utilized and/or what stops need to be added. After this time, fancy permanent signs and bus shelters will be added. Three routes will be served by two vehicles. The first bus will be on the street at 5:00 am. It starts its fixed route service at 6:30 am and runs until 6:30 pm or 7:00 pm inside the City of Cambridge. Mayor Rippons asked the media to give some coverage of this bus service. He thanked Mr. Stanley for his support in supply bus service for a group from Virginia who visited the Hyatt two weeks ago. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve Delmarva Community Services' request to place the temporary bus stop signs in Cambridge. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Portia Johnson Ennels Representing the Family and Youth Committee for Their May Festival Activities on May 10th (Race Street to be blocked to vehicular traffic from Craig's parking lot to Muir Street from 9:30 am until 1:30 pm; use of electricity at the downtown mall; assistance from DPW with trash receptacles and benches; a variance from the noise ordinance and permission to hang a banner on Race Street)-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the requests. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. Mayor Rippons thanked Mrs. Ennels and asked her to thank the committee for their extensive work.
Proclamation for Fair Housing Month-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation proclaiming April as Fair Housing Month is Cambridge. The proclamation will be mailed to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
First Reading of Ordinance on Water Rates-Rob Collison said this ordinance would amend Section 18-1 of the City Code by adding a provision regarding minimum charges. Any meter site servicing one residential or commercial unit shall be billed a minimum monthly charge. For any meter size servicing more than one residential living unit or commercial unit, whether apartment, condominium or townhouse, a minimum monthly charge shall be billed in an amount equal to the minimum monthly charge as set forth in the ordinance times the number of units serviced by the meter, or the actual consumption, based on current rates, whichever amount is greater. If one meter is servicing both residential units and commercial operations, each commercial operation shall be considered a separate unit for billing purposes. Mr. Collison said no action will be taken tonight.
Resolution for Slip Rental Fees for Municipal Yacht Basin-Rob Collison said the resolution will establish the standard operating procedure which would grant two types of discounts for the slips at the Municipal Yacht Basin. The City of Cambridge residents will receive a 10 percent discount. Commercial watermen who are residents of Dorchester County will receive a 20 percent discount from the annual rates. To qualify for the discount, City residents would have to provide written verification that they reside in the City of Cambridge and that would include either a valid drivers license, tax bill, or written lease agreement. To qualify for the commercial waterman discount, they must provide a copy of their current TFL license and written verification that they reside in Dorchester County. If a waterman is also a City resident, they would not be entitled to both discounts, but only the greater of the two. It would apply only to the commercial waterman's workboat and not to any pleasure craft. Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to adopt the resolution. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to make the motion retroactive to January 1, 2003. Commissioner Bohlen agreed with the amendment. The motion was passed unanimously.
Resolution to Renew Enterprise Zone Application-Rob Collison reported that a public hearing on the application renewal was held last week. The designation is renewable on a 10-year cycle. There was discussion at the meeting about expanding the zone to include the area from Muir Street to Commerce Street. They also discussed reducing the area where the proposed Deep Harbor Project will be. Changes can be made once a year. Mayor Rippons said all new plats and plans will be required if the zone is amended. The application is due April 15th. Commissioner Weldon asked Lynn Thomas to move forward with starting to develop a new plat so they can apply for the renewal. He would like to see downtown included to include the "Main Street" area or perhaps the Arts and Entertainment District boundaries. He would like to include the downtown commercial corridor up to Court Lane or Commerce Street. Mayor Rippons said a narrative will also be needed describing the rationale of including the new area. Commissioner Weldon said between the approval of the Arts and Entertainment District, the pending Main Street application, and the Heritage Tourism project, we have ample narrative that we can draw from and he will work with Lynn Thomas on pulling it together. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the resolution contingent on an expanded boundary which would include where it ends on Muir Street extending up the Race Street corridor to the back lot lines on either side, and into the 400 block of High Street down to Church Street. Mayor Rippons suggested having the resolution stating that they wish to change it to encompass provisions outlined in the Arts and Entertainment District. Commissioner Weldon said this is acceptable. Rob Collison asked if they wished to reduce it by deleting the area now known as Deep Harbour. Commissioner Weldon said this is mixed use which should be encouraged. Ed Kinnamon said there is one block on Cedar Street that has been requested to be changed to commercial. Commissioner Weldon said he would assist in the preparation of the documents. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Review Changes and Approve ASOP 26 (Pepper Spray)-Mayor Rippons said that Cambridge Emergency Medical Services staff requested permission to carry pepper spray. They will receive proper training from the Police Department. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the changes to ASOP 26. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Request from Hyatt Resorts to Park 50 Cars at Long Wharf on April 10, 2003 Between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm in Conjunction with the Opening of the Blue Point Provision Company-Mayor Rippons said Chief Malik will have someone assist during these hours. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Request from Lane Engineering, Inc. for Water Service for the Hambrooks Court Subdivision-Sandy Russem of Lane Engineering spoke representing S&S Investment Properties. Currently there are 4 lots on the property now. They would like reconfigure the lots and use the rest of the existing parcel to make 20 lots. They are asking for Council's approval for City water connection to the lots. Mayor Rippons explained the City policy of annexation for City services. Ms. Russem said the developer would not have a problem with annexation; however, the property is not contiguous. Mayor Rippons said it could be if they went down the other side of Sandy Hill Road to adjoin the school district and the church. If those two agreed to annexation, then the lots in question could come right in. Rob Collison said he will contact them.
Approve Bi-Weekly Payroll-Rob Collison said the City employees are paid on a weekly basis. It takes one employee 8 hours a week to process the payroll. In contemplation of this and other cost savings measures, Mr. Kinnamon would like to go a bi-weekly payroll. The Personnel Review Committee said they would not be adverse to it but they would like their employees to have time to prepare for it. They are requesting that it begin in July at the beginning our new fiscal year. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the bi-weekly payroll beginning at the beginning of the new fiscal year. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. Ed Kinnamon said the State, County, and Federal Government all use bi-weekly payroll. The motion was approved unanimously.
Approve Budget Amendment for Department of Public Works-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve PO 2707 (Graves Uniforms) for Summer Uniforms for CPD $3,445.51-Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Approve PO 2732 (Air One) for a 1989 Chevy Truck for RFC $3800- Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Approve Financial Statement for February 2003-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the financial statement. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Sign Agreement With Section 457 Deferred Compensation Plan-Ed Kinnamon said this company is AIG VALIC. They will offer personal financial service to City employees. They currently serve all the Dorchester County employees. The current provider of this type compensation is in Washington. The representative for AIG VALIC is in Cambridge. The Personnel Review Committee has unanimously agreed that the City should go with this plan. Commissioner Travers made a motion for the City to sign the agreement. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Rob Collison announced that on April 14th at 7:00 pm the City will hold a public hearing for the annexation of the Route 50/Bucktown corridor. On April 16th at 7:00 pm the City will hold a public hearing for the comprehensive rezoning.
Commissioner Bohlen reported there was a good turnout at the Hyatt last Thursday concerning downtown revitalization. He thanked the Department of Public Works for installing the new trash cans in the downtown area.
Commissioner Weldon reported he has been in contact with the representatives from the Baltimore Zoo. The remainder of the frames and racks will be available for the City to pick up after April 16th. He is arranging for a truck to be donated to do this. Julia Davis has offered to head up the committee to run that operation.
Commissioner Weldon thanked Commissioner Bohlen and the Department of Public Works for setting the new trash cans around town. He said the benches are also excellent.
Commissioner Weldon said on May 2nd and 3rd the Annual Revitalization and Preservation Conference of the Maryland Historical Trust is taking place in Easton. He will be making a presentation on our Heritage Tourism Project. The registration deadline is April 25th.
Commissioner Atkinson said it is time for our semi-annual clean-up on Saturdays. He made a motion that it begin on March 29th starting in the First Ward and continuing on with each ward on the following Saturdays. Since they started, they have moved out more than 150 tons of trash.
Commissioner Atkinson said they need to make a decision on establishing a re-fueling station for boats. He believes the City is obligated with 380 boat slips in Cambridge to establish a re-fueling station for watercraft. He believes it should go where Mr. Pritchett originally recommended at Long Wharf. He made a motion that the Council continue immediately looking at the costs, etc. and make the plans to establish such a facility. Commissioner Weldon said he will second the motion for discussion. He asked if Commissioner Atkinson was talking about a limited fuel facility to service the Yacht Basin. Commissioner Atkinson said that is correct. It ties in with the downtown development. Commissioner Weldon said if they are looking at a limited fuel facility as an amenity of the marina with a very limited retail angle for boating supplies, he is in favor of it. He will not be in favor of a large development. Commissioner Atkinson said he is talking only of the fuel facility that was originally recommended by Mr. Pritchett. David Pritchett said he met with the corporation that performs fuel facility installation. They went to a couple of location with him and they said in their estimate that was the perfect location just to put the fuel facility. They indicated you would hardly notice it if the City does marine fuel only. Mayor Rippons said there is still matter that they have out there. Commissioner Weldon said actually there is not. Mayor Rippons said it has nothing to do with a major development but there is contemplation. Right now they are looking at up to a $200,000 allocation from the City that is running at a deficit. There is contemplation by a reputable business man who has been doing this for years that there is another solution. Mayor Rippons said they have had discussions. He is working at the State level now to get a final approval. When that happens, then they can discuss it. Commissioner Weldon said if it is happening on City property, then they need to know about it. Mayor Rippons said when he is ready to discuss it, he will. Commissioner Weldon called the question to a vote to limit it to a limited fuel facility as an amenity to the marina. Commissioner Atkinson said his motion is "Are we going to establish a facility?". The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Travers asked when the streets in east Cambridge will be completed. David Pritchett said basically they are waiting for the blacktop plant to open to pave Maryland Avenue. The Engineer said it should be finished inside of 3 weeks. Henry Street will be completed in 4 to 6 weeks. The actual contract for Maryland Avenue is to only pave where it has been torn up. They are looking to see how much excess they have because the street needs milling. They would like to do the entire street.
Ed Kinnamon said he received a request from Harold M. Miller on behalf of Rebecca W. Burton, Trustee, Gypsy Hill Farms, Inc. Gregory and Charlene Burton, and the Wyatt Group, LLC to annex certain acreage into the City. It is a total of 908 acres which extends from Route 16 to Stone Boundary Road then over to Bucktown Road. The request will be referred to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Ed Kinnamon received a request from Cambridge Little League to hold their annual parade on April 12, 2003. It will start at 9:00 am at Long Wharf and continue down High, Poplar, and Race Streets to the ball field. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
David Pritchett announced that the water at the yacht basin will be turned on by the weekend of April 12th.
Lynn Thomas announced that they had the second public hearing on the zoning ordinance last Wednesday. He will be meeting with the consultant on Wednesday to prepare a list of items which are yet to be resolve with regards to the zoning ordinance. They will summarize the issues and provide some possible solutions. It is their intention to post it on the website by the end of the week.
Chief Malik wanted to publicly recognize Captain Hutton who has completed the FBI National Academy Course this past Friday. This is quite a prestigious accomplishment in the law enforcement field.
Mayor Rippons announced that March 25th is Maryland Day.
Mayor Rippons said the Council will meet in executive session after the meeting to discuss personnel and a legal issue. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to go into executive session following the meeting. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Mayor Rippons said in contemplation of the Empowerment Center being turned over to the Pine Street Committee in April, they will meet at the facility at 1:00 pm to tour the building.
Gary James, a charter boat owner/operator, said there is a need for fuel in Cambridge. He asked when the discussion will continue. Mayor Rippons said it will continue at the next meeting (April 14th).
Randy Collins, owner of Channel Charters, asked if there would be any appropriations for possibly having the CFN-type cards like Mr. Wise afforded people at the dock so they don't have to have an attendant to get fuel and also gives a discount. Mayor Rippons said this would be part of Mr. Pritchett's proposal. Every day that goes by he is looking at spending $2,500 outside of Dorchester County because this port doesn't have a re-fueling station. He feels it is a sad state of affairs that a seaport town as large as Cambridge doesn't have fuel. They have to go to Talbot County. He would appreciate any urgency that would be put to the matter.
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, March 24, 2003, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer