• 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

December 16, 2002
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, December 16, 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 Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the December 9, 2002 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

APPOINTMENTS

Tom Keating Regarding Fines Attached to a Foreclosure Sale Property-Mr. Keating said at the time the property at 116 Choptank Avenue came up to be foreclosed on, he spoke to a City building inspector because he knew the building was condemned.  He asked the inspector if there were any outstanding citations or fines.  The building inspector told him the best he knew there was one citation for refusal to allow him to enter.  Based on this information, Mr. Keating bid on the house on the courthouse steps.  When the attorneys started the title work, they found that there were significant fines levied against the property.  Most of the fines were for administrative issues.  Because the fines are not for work done by the City, Mr. Keating is asking if Council would remove the fines to help him settle.   David Pritchett said the fines on the property total over $2500.  There was no construction or contracting work.  They did cut the grass on three occasions which totaled $450.  The other fines are for failure to grant right of entry.  In answer to a question by Commissioner Atkinson, Ed Kinnamon didn't think there was any history to base a decision on.    Mr. Keating said he has been buying houses in Cambridge and renovating them.  Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to review the historic precedence of issues of this nature and then Council will make a decision next week.

Ed Kinnamon said he received a request from a developer, James Chaney, who is interested in purchasing properties on Wright Street, which is a short dead-end block.  He believes there are two houses still standing on that block.  The other properties have been demolished and there are demolition liens on the properties.  As of the end of September, the monies owed to the City on those properties totals $17,887.  Mr. Chaney would like to purchase these properties and have the City waive the liens.  He would then redevelop this property into first time homeowner houses.  He has offered $600 per property for a total of $4200.   Ed Kinnamon told him if the City were to do something like this, he would probably have to enter into some type of an agreement where he would do as he has said; otherwise he would be in default and subject to the full amount again. 

Ed Kinnamon said these properties were put up for tax sale.  Because they have a demolition lien on them, they are not looked at.  Commissioner Atkinson said the City would do better if they went for a tax sale and agreed to abolish the lien.  He feels $4200 is very cheap for these properties.  Ed Kinnamon said the other two property owners are willing to sell to Mr. Chaney.  Therefore, he would own the whole street.  If the City eliminated the lien and tried to sell the properties one by one, he doesn't feel they could get $600 each.    Mayor Rippons suggested that Mr. Chaney appear before Council to discuss this further.   Commissioner Weldon would like to see plans on how Mr. Chaney is planning to develop the property.  He is concerned about the nature of the housing that would be constructed and what program for first time homeowners he would use.  He also suggested an appraisal on the property.  David Pritchett said it would take three lots put together to meet the current zoning for a single family dwelling.  This would require a re-subdivision of the property lines.  Probably three homes could be built under the City's current regulations.  Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon to contact Mr. Chaney so he can present more detailed plans to Council.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Second Reading and Vote on Amendment to Inoperable Vehicle Ordinance-Because Rob Collison was not present, this item will be discussed next week.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Wal-Mart for Extension of Time for Temporary Trailers-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  David Pritchett said he sent an inspector out today, and Wal-Mart is meeting the City's codes.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Commissioner Weldon spoke with a representative from the Baltimore Zoo today.  The total amount of the items the City is requesting to purchase is $21,563.  Pritchett's Transportation has offered to provide a vehicle to transport the items to Cambridge.  The cost of the driver is $18.00 per hour which will be covered by donations.  At least six volunteers will be needed to assist with the wrapping and loading of the trailer.  The zoo will have everything tagged, organized, and ready to load.  The City will have to purchase packing material to protect the items in transit.  Regarding storage, the City was at a point where they understood that there might be space available where the City is leasing space for the fire equipment.  This might not be the case.  Commissioner Bohlen is working on this part of the project.  Commissioner Weldon had a copy of the revised list of items which he offered to share with anyone who wanted to see it.  He will bring a catalog showing pictures of the items to City Hall in the morning.  With the donation that has been offered by a source he did not name, he feels perhaps they can buy another large piece.  Mayor Rippons was under the assumption that they were getting a reduction in the cost.  Commissioner Weldon said they negotiated with the zoo, and it became clear that to keep it within the budget the City had, it was more practical to reduce the inventory rather than try to negotiate further on the cost.  They have adequate funds to do that.  Mayor Rippons said the contemplation they were to look at was the aspect of maintenance.  The price that was agreed upon with the maintenance and other contemplations was perhaps not appropriate.  He said they did nothing with the price, they simple eliminated items.  Commissioner Weldon said eliminating some of the items would cut down on the maintenance and storage.  Commissioner Bohlen said several pieces were not of a Christmas theme.  At that point, they figured they were pieces the City did not really need.  Basically everything on their list is of a holiday theme in keeping with their ultimate vision. Commissioner Weldon said it is a total of 224 pieces on the list they arrived at.  Altogether, there are 245 pieces.  They are still a number of major pieces with the animated effects still on the list.  He suggested a citizen committee to help design the display.  This is an opportunity to get the pieces at a fraction of what it would cost to get them new.  They have raised $25,000 from the community to do so.   Commissioner Travers said he would like to see what pieces were taken out.  Commissioner Bohlen said the zoo sold a couple of pieces.

Commissioner Atkinson said the Animal Control Task Force established by Council met last Tuesday evening.  Pat Taylor has agreed to chair the committee. Out of eight people who expressed and interest in serving, six were present.  He feels they will come up with something that will be beneficial to the community-not only the City, but to the County as well.

Commissioner Atkinson said last week he asked the Council to consider meeting twice monthly rather than weekly.  Mr. Kinnamon did some research.  Out of 157 cities and towns in the State of Maryland, the only two cities that meet weekly are Baltimore City and Cambridge.  Most of the larger communities meet twice a month with on-call meetings as necessary for work sessions.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion for the period January 1, 2003 through June 30, 2003, that the City Council of Cambridge on a trial basis, meet on the first and third Mondays of each month to conduct official business of the City of Cambridge.  The Mayor, at his discretion, may call for a special work session of the Council as needed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  Mayor Rippons said Mr. Kinnamon recommended the second and fourth weeks because of the contemplation that a lot of times the holidays fall on the first and third Mondays.  Commissioner Atkinson said he suggested first and third because many items have to be submitted by the last of the month.  If they meet on the third Monday, they have time to get the reports approved.  If they wait for the fourth Monday, they will be jammed for time to get reports in.  Ed Kinnamon said there are six Monday holidays a year.  Of the six, four are on the first or third Monday and two are on the second or fourth Monday.  Commissioner Bohlen said his consideration is to leave the schedule alone.  At first he wanted to agree with the proposed schedule, but after looking at it, there are times they will be very busy and things will be getting busier.  He would hate to see something get hung-up because they don't have a meeting date.  Commissioner Weldon said that is certainly something to think about.  Commissioner Watkins said with the Mayor having the privilege to call a meeting, he is able to call a meeting any time they feel it is necessary.  He doesn't see any problem with trying this to see how it works.  He doesn't have a preference on which Mondays are selected.  Commissioner Weldon said generally he is in favor of it because basically, six months out of the year, they are missing one meeting anyway.  He is concerned about planning and zoning issues and first and second readings of ordinances, etc.  Instead of taking two weeks, they will now take a month.  Regarding work sessions not being in the evening, he thinks this needs to be re-thought because some of the Commissioners cannot attend a 2:00 pm meeting because they are at work.   He prefers meetings be scheduled in the evening.  Ed Kinnamon said he talked to representatives from several towns this week.  They said the reason they can do two meetings a month is that they address only legislative issues during Council meetings.  They discuss other issues during work sessions.  The previous Council had adopted the first, second, fourth and fifth Mondays to meet with the third as a work session.  Commissioner Atkinson said if they want to move it to the second and fourth Mondays, he doesn't care.  Commissioner Travers said he would prefer the second and fourth Mondays.  Commissioner Atkinson amended his motion to reflect the second and fourth Mondays.  Commissioner Travers seconded the amended motion.  Commissioner Atkinson said the reason the former Councils have met weekly, is the Council members were in more of a management situation than this Council is now.  This Council changed the Charter to make the Mayor the Chief Executive Officer.  Previously, Council members were doing a lot of the managing which the CEO should be doing now, and is doing.  That is why they met weekly.   Mayor Rippons said the motion is to change the Council meeting dates to the second and fourth Mondays of each month commencing in January on a trial basis until June.  The work sessions will be set up at the Mayor's discretion.  The motion passed 4:1 with Commissioners Atkinson, Travers, Watkins, and Weldon for the motion and Commissioner Bohlen opposed.

Mayor Rippons announced that the City had an RFP out for the people interested in looking at a marine fuel station.  They received one reply which will be forwarded to the Committee and they will meet on Wednesday evening.

Mayor Rippons reported that Council met in executive session on an economic development issue at 6:15 pm tonight.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to meet in executive session following the meeting to discuss personnel.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 7:35 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, December 16, 2002, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer