• 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

June 17, 2002
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, June 17, 2002, in City 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 Watkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the June 10, 2002 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

APPOINTMENTS

Presentation by Sailwinds Management Board-Mayor Rippons gave the Commissioners a copy of the revenue and operations account summaries.  The total gross profit was $84,000 in income.  When everything was netted out, during their first year in operation, Sailwinds' net profit was $16,859.  In addition, utilization of the facility is now up over 30 percent.  Mr. Bramble will work with them to prepare a financial statement which will show the equity now in there.  Mayor Rippons believes it will be in excess of $300,000.  

Raymond Simmons read a statement.  On June 1, 2001, the City of Cambridge assumed control of Governors Hall.  Through June 15, 2002, over 39,000 people have visited the Hall to enjoy the various functions.  There have been professional entertainers, carnivals, festivals, gospel shows, retirement parties, dances, weddings, Christmas parties, and other activities utilizing both the Hall and the outside grounds.  With the support of the community, capital improvements including an electric sign on Maryland Avenue, two dressing rooms, a commercial kitchen, new seating, and air conditioning have been provided to the Hall.  Future projects include a new storage area for the tables and chairs and the refinishing of the floor.  They are attempting to persuade the State of Maryland to convey this parcel of property back to the City of Cambridge in order that they can better control any future development opportunities.  Operational revenues have exceeded expenditures which have enabled them to make a small profit for the first year.  Contributions for capital improvements and in-kind donations of services have exceeded $300,000.  The bookings at the Hall have increased over 30 percent.  As of this date, 56 events have been scheduled for 2002.  The Management Board remains committed to the further improvement of the grounds and welcomes all comments and suggestions. 

Mayor Rippons said the City of Baltimore invested roughly one-quarter million dollars in a Christmas light display at the Baltimore Zoo.  This display will be in the City of Cambridge this year and in years to come.  Council has looked at the items and made an offer of payment.  They have accepted the amount so the Sailwinds Management Board has moved forward with their consideration that they will aide the City as it moves forward with this endeavor.   Plans are to have the display start at the Visitors Center, go through East Sailwinds, down to Sailwinds Park, where they will have a display that the community can drive through.  Mayor Rippons is working with DDUST to have their new trolley available during the Christmas season to take groups on a tour of the display.

Public Hearing on Submission of Community Development Block Grant Application-Jim Michael said the Community Development Block Grant program is now on an annual basis.  The application is due on July 1, 2002.  The certificate of publication indicates that notification of this public hearing was advertised in the Daily Banner on June 10, 2002.   The City has also notified approximately 24 agencies and organizations in Dorchester County and Cambridge with regard to the block grant.  Mayor Rippons asked the Commissioners and the citizens present at the City Council meeting if they had any questions or comments.  Nobody asked to speak.

The City is proposing to submit an application at this time which would be an acquisition and demolition project with regard to a parcel of land that encompasses ten structures that are condemned.  The project would acquire the property, demolish the structures, survey the property, clean the property up, clear it, seed it, and plant it with grass.  This would be Part 1 of at least a 2- or 3-phase project that the City would go forward with, with regard to the total area on Schoolhouse Lane and Chesapeake Court.  It would encompass all of Schoolhouse Lane and probably part of Bethel Street and part of Cross Street where there are condemned or potentially condemned properties.   This is a long-term project which will take at least 2 to 3 years and will involve other funds besides block grant.  It involves a part of the City which is probably one of the most rundown areas and very crime ridden.  The number of criminal complaints in that area is very high.  This includes two homicides within the last few months.  Through this urban renewal type process, they hope to make this a vibrant City neighborhood in the future. 

Mayor Rippons said housing has been a concern of the Council since they took office.  With the crime, including the two homicides, in the target area, they hope to clean up an entire City block.  After the present structures are demolished, they will entertain the consideration to work with a developer to re-build the area.  The City will not sit idle while crime takes over certain areas.  Once the neighborhood can see what can be done with effective utilization of grant money and other resources that the City can tap into, you will see the vibrancy come back into the City.   Mayor Rippons again asked if anyone had any questions or comments.  Nobody asked to speak.  The public hearing was closed.

Leonard Greenhawk (Parcel 23 on 5350 Bucktown Road) to Request Permission to Connect to Sanitary District #4-Mr. Greenhawk is making the request on behalf of his father-in-law.  The subject property is deeded to his wife and him in a life estate.  They would like to hook-up to the Sanitary District.  George Doty gave them a drawing showing where they would have to go across the back side of Mrs. Roe's property.  Mr. Merryweather said the right-of-way would be written for her property also.  Dennis Roe indicated that at this time he did not want to hook up to the line, but George Doty said he would put a "T" into the line so it would be no trouble in the future.   He would run the sewer line across the back side of Mr. Paul's property to the vacant line on the one side of it. 

Rob Collison said they had a similar request several months ago.  The request was granted with the condition of annexation once the City limits reached that area.  If permission is granted, the property owner must agree to annexation if that is possible.  Rob Collison will draft an agreement. 

Commissioner Atkinson made motion to approve the request with consideration given to the annexation agreement.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Roy Todd to Request Refund for Building Permit Application Fee-Mr. Todd said they wanted to put a small addition on the side of the building next to the kitchen.  He presented information to the City and paid for the permit.  They called him and said he had to have an architectural drawing (stamp).  Research showed him that he would have to spend about $1500 for drawings to put up a $3000 building so he scraped the plan.  David Pritchett clarified a building permit is required when you are dealing with removal, alteration, or replacement of a load-bearing wall.  The architectural seal is required when the ingress or egress to the structure is changed or altered.  This is only for commercial (public access) projects.  He said the City has approximately 3 hours in the partial review of the project (phone calls, copies, partial review...).  The cost of the permit was $47.50 on a $3000 project.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to refund the fee.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.    Commissioner Atkinson asked about the time the City employees spent on the procedure.  Commissioner Weldon said the requirement for a commercial project of any size to have a certified architect stamp on it is fairly basic information.  With all deference to City staff, he feels if Mr. Todd had been made aware of this when he first went in with the application, we might not have this situation.  If he wasn't prepared with a complete application, then they should not have begun processing it.  They should have been aware that this is a requirement and as such, they should have turned it back and he never should have paid the fee until he knew what the cost of his drawings was going to be. This is the basis of his motion.  He understands there was a staff change in handing the permits.  David Pritchett said this would require changing how they process permits.  They have always allowed people to come in and have their permits processed in the manner Mr. Todd did it.  Eighty percent of the permits are processed this way.  Few people come in completely prepared.  They don't know what they need until they get into the process and sometimes things change as they start dealing with architects and the contractors.  They could start requiring everything before they collect the money, but it will be a whole new way of operating. 

Rob Collison said he believes that Council approved an ASOP regarding refunds of building permits maybe two or three months ago.  Unless Council wishes to grant the entire refund because of the application process, they should follow the ASOP.  He will research this and present it to Council on July 1, 2002.  Commissioner Weldon withdrew his motion.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Council to Approve Renewal of Short Term Loan Agreement for the Race and Cedar Street Property-Ed Kinnamon said this was a short term loan which was secured for the property at Race and Cedar Streets for what was to be the public safety building location.  These are for no longer than a specific amount of time, in this case a year, and this has come up for renewal or for full payment.  He is asking Council to renew this note.  At this point they are paying interest only.   Normally to have a building completed, you take the amount and get a bond or make the final disposition of the loan and capitalize it under one term as opposed to starting to pay the loan off with principal interest.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to accept Mr. Kinnamon's recommendation for a short-term loan.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Second Reading and Vote on Amendment to Ordinance on Demolition Liens-Rob Collison said the first reading was last week.  This would create a Section 4-34.2 to amend that section which amends Section 110.3 of the Property Maintenance Code regarding liens on properties for the cost of demolition and the amendment would be to provide that the cost of the demolition would not only be a lien on the property on which the demolition occurred but it would also constitute a lien against the owner of the premises and also add the language that the collection of the lien will be conducted in the same manner as taxes.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the passage of the amendment. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

Discuss Resolution to Submit Community Development Block Grant Application-The public hearing was held earlier this evening.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the resolution to submit a Community Development Block Grant application in consideration of the Schoolhouse Lane and Area project.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. Commissioner Weldon said this is the first step in a long process and it is an important process. The motion was passed unanimously.

Request from Bill Watkins (CEMS) to Enter Into Service Contract for New Cardiac Monitors-Bill Watkins said this is a 5-year service agreement for the monitors that the City purchased in conjunction with a State grant.  The cost would be approximately $1958.00 per year and it will cover approximately 9 different items on the monitors that only the company that makes the monitors can do.  The monitors require service at least once a year.  The contract will cover repairs and replace and upgrade the batteries as necessary.  The funds will come out of the FY2003 budget.   Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to enter into the service contract.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. He is concerned that the salesman didn't address this issue with Mr. Watkins prior to submitting the original purchase order.  If the State were providing matching funds, it would be nice if they could have matched this if it was a qualifying item.  Bill Watkins said you don't deal with the sales people until after you get the monitors through the State. They deal with the State.  Mayor Rippons asked Mr. Watkins to approach the State for additional funding.  Mr. Watkins said they received $60,000 worth of equipment for $13,500 which is a good deal.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Mayor Rippons said the cardiac monitors are replacing older monitors.  Dr. Joe Cacioppo does volunteer work overseas and he is requesting one of the older monitors to take with him.  Mr. Watkins said the older monitors are in reserve and probably won't be used anymore.   They were given to the City through a full State grant and the State has agreed that they can do disposition as they see fit.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to donate one of the old monitors to the doctor.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Recommendation to Award Contract for Combined Sewer Separation Project--Phase 2-David Pritchett said on October 22, 2001, the City received the bids for this Phase.  The City has until 2006 to complete the separation throughout the City as mandated in their consent order.  At the time Council opened the bids, they only had $200,000 in assistance in funding.  Maryland Department of the Environment agreed to allow the City a delay in this to try to procure more money.  They were unable to achieve any Federal money however they did receive another $300,000 from the State which equates to 60 percent of the Phase 2 project.  He would like to move forward at this time.  His recommendation is to award the bid the David Bramble, Inc., the low bidder, for $878,411.  They agreed to hold their bid this whole time.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to award the contract to David Bramble.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  David Pritchett said Phase 2 encompasses Glenburn Avenue, Henry Street, and Maryland Avenue.  This project is for a storm water line only.  They will not have to crisscross the street with the services to the different homes.  They will be able to maintain both lanes open on Maryland Avenue throughout the project.  The City will hold a community meeting to discuss the project with the residents.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Discuss Security at the Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin-Last week David Pritchett discussed putting security gates on the three main docks.  The prices he received have come in right at the line for the requirement to go to bid.  This would not be the most cost-effective means to procure something.  He would like to postpone this discussion for a few weeks so he can consider different options. 

Council to Authorize Loan for Capital Equipment-Ed Kinnamon said last year there were certain items in the budget that they City has appropriated monies to borrow funds for; namely, the recent fire truck which cost the City in excess of $500,000 and a portion of the City's portion of the marina Phase 1 upgrade.  The sum total of the two loans would be $945,000.  He made an informal bid this past week of the local banks.  The lowest variable rate he received was from the National Bank of Cambridge at 67 percent of prime. Current prime is 4.75% so until that changes, we would have this note for 3.18 percent.  The fire truck would be over a period of 8 years; the marina repairs for 10 years.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to authorize the loan for capital equipment.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve Purchase Order 2449 for Cross Creek K9 Training Academy, Inc. ($9,228) for CPD-Mayor Rippons said the financing for this is coming from the drug seizure account.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve Budget Amendment for CEMS- Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget amendment.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve Budget Amendment for Financial Administration- Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the budget amendment.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve Budget Amendment for CPD- Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the budget amendment.  Commissioner Travers seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve Budget Amendment for DPW- Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the budget amendment.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Council to Approve the FY 2003 Budget-

Commissioner Bohlen made a motion for the City to approve the operating budget for Fiscal Year 2003 in the amount of $10,150,882.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the City sewer service department budget for Fiscal Year 2003 in the amount of $7,458,509.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Commissioner Weldon made a motion to set the City's real property tax rate for Fiscal Year 2003 at 0.676 per $100 of assessed valuation.  Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to set the City's business tax rate for Fiscal Year 2003 at $1.69 per $100 of assessed valuation.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget for the Municipal Utilities Commission for Fiscal Year 2003 in the amount of $1,304,013.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Ed Kinnamon said there will be a copy of the budget passed tonight at City Hall for the public to look at. 

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Chief Malik said he was questioned whether the City provides funeral escorts out to Route 50 and Route 16 going to Dorchester Memorial Park.  He said they do provide escorts but only when the funeral homes call them. 

Jim Michael said as part of the block grant proposal this year, they were considering the Christ Rock area.  After the survey was conducted, it was determined that the Christ Rock area did not meet the low-moderate income requirements.   They will look for other grant funding, for example MDE and Rural Development as a method to elevate that situation.

David Pritchett said several years ago the porta-potty at Great Marsh Park was vandalized and unsanitary conditions existed.  The City discontinued the service for one or two years.  The previous Council voted to put it back in and went to double-cleaning with the contract service.  The service contacted the City and it appears they are almost to the point of not wanting to service the City.  This has no reflection on the company; it shows the situation the City is facing trying to provide sanitary facilities at the park.  They have offered one extra day cleaning per week which would make three cleanings per week.  He is not sure if the company is willing to continue service.  He asked if the Council wanted to go back to no services at the park and have individuals provide their own facilities for functions they are having at the park.  He feels this is a bad way to go, but it is indescribable.  They don't know who is doing it and have gotten nowhere in trying to find the source but it is extremely unsanitary.  Commissioner Atkinson said there is a lot of vandalism at the park.  The light on the flag donated by the VFW was completely broken for no reason at all.  David Pritchett said they would like to have a nice facility.  They can get the money for DNR and have actual park-style restrooms available but at this point, they are back to the same problems they had a few years ago. 

Ed Kinnamon said the Commissioners received notice from the City Grantsman/ Planner notifying them of a case of public hearing on June 25 because they are an area property owner for a special use request to allow off-premise wine sales at 414 Race Street.  Jim Michael said it is a new business that is not open yet.  The public hearing will be on Tuesday, June 25th at 7:00 pm at City Council chambers.

Commissioner Travers thanked the Mayor for the advice and help that he has given the Council with the entire budget.  He thinks the Mayor has done an outstanding job and he thinks the Mayor should be commended.  He would also like to thank the Sailwinds Management Board for doing an outstanding job in the last 12 months.

Commissioner Weldon said he would like to echo Commissioner Travers sentiments on the work that the Sailwinds Board has done in managing the facility and bringing it to life.  As many people know, he had a lot of questions earlier and there are always a few that linger but the performance tells the story and the fact that every weekend the parking lot is full is all that anybody every really wanted.  He is very pleased to see how successful they have been able to make it. 

Commissioner Weldon said on Wednesday, June 26th, in the evening at the County Office building there will be a public hearing regarding the Heritage Tourism application which will be submitted to the State on July 1.  The plan is complete and there will be a presentation by the consultant who prepared it.  On June 27th in the evening, he has asked a group of people to come together to discuss some of the housing issues that Council has been dealing with.  It will be a meeting where they try to identify the numerous problems that we have regarding housing ranging from displaced people from the Chesapeake Court area to the fact that we don't have new construction middle income housing being built yet. 

Commissioner Weldon would like to thank the department heads for the work they have put into the budget because Council receives a big stack of paper that the department heads have prepared.  He would like to compliment the Mayor on his commentary in the newspaper bringing the public up to speed on a lot of the work that the City has been doing.  He appreciates the Mayor taking the time to do it. 

Commissioner Watkins added to what was said about the work that was done at Sailwinds and the personal work the Mayor has done in making it possible.  In his judgment, it has been an outstanding job serving all the people in the community and also coming out with a profit. 

Commissioner Bohlen wants to echo those sentiments that have been shared by the other Commissioners in both the matters of the budget and Sailwinds. Commissioner Travers and he had gone to look at the Christmas light display at the Baltimore Zoo and that it is an excellent deal.  He hopes it can all come to fruition.  It should certainly brighten up the dark winter months. 

Commissioner Bohlen said he met with the Transportation Advisory Board on Wednesday last week.  Lots of good things are coming out of that group.  The final transportation plan for the County has been taken care of.  In talking with Santo Grande, there will be a new trolley bus running City routes in the City.  The City is working with him on proposed bus stops and bus shelters. 

Rob Collison gave Council copies of the final lease and occupancy agreement for the Liberty Village Empowerment Center that incorporates all of the changes requested by the Pine Street Committee with the exception of the reporting requirement.  Last week the Council voted to retain the quarterly reporting requirement in the lease agreement.  It will be going to the Committee and hopefully they will have it before the Board of Public Works at the July meeting.

Jackson R. Todd (309 Byrne Street) gave a petition to the Council and to the City Police.  It is for the City to remove two Rotweiller dogs from the residence of 200 Franklin Street.  The dogs are vicious.  The neighbors of Franklin Street and Henry Street cannot walk down the street without carrying a weapon or some sort of protection.  Children wait near here for the school bus.  The City police have been called 12 times.  Out of 12 times they gave one citation of $25.00.   They have called the Humane Society but they haven't been able to catch the dogs.  He is recommending that the City pass a law that they must have a 6-ft fence if they want to keep the dogs.  Right now the law prohibits a fence over 3-ft in the front yard.  He has been attacked three times.  Rob Collison said there is a provision in the Code for dogs that are considered a nuisance.  Chief Malik said the Police Department will make an investigation. 

Wendell Foxwell (413 Glenburn Avenue) thanked Mayor Rippons and Rob Collison and the Commissioners for the demolition lien ordinance.  Maybe it will bring more money into the City.  People should be accountable for their buildings if they are in disrepair. 

Susan Antonelli (Snappers) said she appeared for a noise variance which the City granted.  On her original letter she stated the music would play until 11:00 pm.  They book the acts from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm.  But sometimes with beach traffic they don't get there until late.  Sometimes people ask that the band play longer.  There was a misunderstanding on her part when she said the groups were booked from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm so the noise variance was granted until 9:00 pm but she would appreciate it if she could get it until 10:00 pm.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to grant the noise variance until 11:00 pm.  Rob Collison said there are some residential properties opposite the creek so this should be advertised in the paper before a vote is taken to grant the variance until 11:00 pm.  Commissioner Weldon said he doesn't recall any opposition last week but will change his motion to 10:00 pm.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

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, June 17, 2002, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer