City Council Minutes
January 22, 2001
The City Council met in regular session on January 22, 2001, 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 Atkinson made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 8, 2001 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Main Street Update-Commissioner Weldon reported that the Committee is moving forward on the application process. By mid-February, all documentation will be ready for Council's review and comments.
Award Certificate of Appreciation to Carl Anderson for Flag Pole Donation-Carl Anderson received a Certificate of Appreciation for donating the flagpole, which was installed in front of City Hall.
Michelle Plummer for Proclamation for Cambridge Jaycees Week-The week of January 21 through 27, 2001 was proclaimed as Cambridge Jaycees Week in honor of all the volunteer and community service work the Jaycees perform throughout the year.
Choptank Heritage Conservancy, Inc.-Dan Cada, a representative of the Richardson Museum, outlined their plans for development of a new museum and cultural center located on a 4-acre parcel of land at Maryland Avenue and Hayward Street. Their goal is to preserve maritime heritage for the Choptank River Area.
Octavene Saunders Regarding Mayor's Recently Formed 501(c)(3) Fund-Octavene Saunders questioned if work has started on this application and if it will come before the citizens for public comment. Mayor Rippons responded that all stipulations in the agreement would be presented at a public hearing. Ms. Saunders has requested "the City" (Mayor and Commissioners ??) to write their thoughts down and send them to the United States Attorney General and the State of Maryland Attorney General. She doesn't feel it is as legally clear as it is being made to sound locally. She would like the information made public. No motion was made to that effect.
Octavene Saunders to Discuss Consultant Hired by the City to Write a Community Development Block Grant Application-Ms. Saunders questioned if Mr. Middlebrooks was paid to write the grant, would he be able to benefit from the monies received from the grant through either one of his companies. Mr. Collison responded that Mr. Middlebrooks would not qualify to receive funds through any of his companies if he accepts money from the City to write the grant.
Public Hearing - Community Development Block Grant Application-The City of Cambridge intends to apply for Community Development Block Grant funds for this round. Tonight's public hearing is to receive citizens' comments for the City's proposed application. The Certificate of Publication shows that the public hearing was advertised in both the Daily Banner and in the Star Democrat on January 11, 2001. Mayor Rippons asked if any citizen present had a project they would like to see be considered by Council. Some of the items the Council initially considered applying for have proven to be items that could not be funded. Evelyn Townsend representing the Harriet Tubman Organization asked the City to include funds to convert the first floor of their building at 424 Race Street to a museum for the public. Some deficiencies need to be corrected. The cost would be approximately $6,000. Moving their offices upstairs would require approximately $8,000 (heating, electric, painting). External repairs (roof, etc.) would cost approximately $6,000; exhibits would run about $10,000. The total cost would be approximately $30,000. They believe these improvements would be in conjunction with the City's desire to improve the downtown area. Ed White of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will speak with his Department to see if this is an eligible project. Commissioner Watkins totally supports adding this project to the application.
Octavene Saunders spoke in favor of on the economic development strategy funds that were being requested. Because Pine Street qualifies as 87.9% of the poverty level, she would like streetscape funds ($50,000) for this area.
The $300,000 for homeownership construction loan fund has been deleted. Ms. Saunders feels the areas of blight should be identified for the rental housing and replacements costs of $200,000 section of the application and it should be made available for the public to see. The portion of the project for settlement costs is still included. She would like the grant to include a stipulation that if the home is sold before 5 or 10 years, the owner will have to return the money to the City. She would like the citizens to be given more leeway time to be able to look at the total grant application and comment on it in the future.
Portia Ennels is not in opposition to the grant. She is in opposition because she called Crownsville (Mr. Gordon Outlaw) and was informed that the notification must be published in the newspaper at least 5 days before the public hearing and the community should have the grant application made available so they can peruse it before the public hearing. She had some trouble obtaining the information she requested. She felt the community was not asked if they wanted the things that were going to be applied for. We already have the Service Coordinator and Consumer Advocacy part of the project through the Health Department, Social Services, the Senior programs, etc. In speaking with Crownsville, she feels this will only help the citizens living within the municipality-not the entire County whereas things that are happening in the County are for everyone. She will be sending a letter of opposition to Crownsville.
Octavene Saunders asked for a copy of the public hearing notice be read. She does not feel it tells people they can bring requests for grants to City Council. She feels this is highly improper and it should be rescinded.
Tony Thomas feels the citizens elected the Officials to do a job and they are doing the job.
Renee McKinney would like to know if the grant could cover sidewalks on Maces Lane. Mayor Rippons answered that it could. She is concerned about the children walking to school.
In response to an inquiry by Portia Ennels', Mayor Rippons responded that the complete package has not been completed yet. It cannot be finished without the public's input.
Nobody else requested to speak. Mayor Rippons closed the public hearing.
William Wallace and William Jackson to Discuss the Pine Street Committee-Rev. Wallace read a prepared statement concerning the Council and the Empowerment Center. He feels the people who did the legwork are being removed from their involvement. The Pine Street Committee members are against the CDBG line item for a Service Coordinator and Consumer Advocate for the Empowerment Center. They were not consulted during the process. The Committee also feels the present Administration seeks to control through power rather than embrace through empowerment and they do not have the right to hinder another's dreams. The Committee is questioning the intent of the Council in fulfilling their open door promise.
Commissioner Weldon, in answer to Mr. Wallace's comments on Jim Michael helping the Committee with a business plan, felt Mr. Michael's office was offered as a resource, he was not appointed to work with them. He feels the efforts the Council has put forward is not to deny anyone anything, they want to make sure it is successful for the Pine Street Committee, the people of the neighborhood, for the people of the City, and for the Council because it won't do anyone any good if it doesn't succeed. Since the City is responsible for the building and will be responsible for providing some resources down road, all they are asking for the Pine Street Committee to provide them with information that makes them comfortable taking that responsibility. He has been a supporter of the project for the past 3 years. He offered a public work session to resolve the division that needs to be bridged.
Commissioner Watkins feels we need the Empowerment Center more than anything else in the City of Cambridge. His understanding is that the Pine Street Committee would take it over and work out the details. He feels if they can be of help as a City Council, that they will do it.
Octavene Saunders would like to back up what Rev. Wallace has talked about regarding the $75,000 for a person for the next 2 years to coordinate activities at the Empowerment Center. She would like this deleted from the grant application because it is a duplication of what the Pine Street Committee has presented to the City, the Senate, the House of Delegates, and to the Governor and has been accepted by all of them.
Commissioner Weldon made a motion to extend the deadline for submission of a business plan from February 1 to March 1. This will enable them to spend some time together and get some of the issues resolved. Commissioner Atkinson seconded it. Commissioner Watkins hopes several members of the Council will be able to participate. The motion was passed unanimously.
Armond Hayward to Discuss Historic Preservation Grant Application-Additional surveys of historic sites were requested within the City. The Historic Preservation Commission agreed with this and will begin next week. They will apply for funding during the next grant cycle with the bulk of the information in place.
Open Bids - 1-Ton Truck with Telescopic Aerial Device (DPW)-Bids were received from:
M&L Volvo GMC Truck Center (Federalsburg, MD) -- $48,596
M&L Volvo GMC Truck Center (Federalsburg, MD) -- $54,400
Altec Industrics, Inc. (Plains, PA) -- $49,848
Baker Equipment Engineering Co. (Richmond, VA) -- $53,122
Commissioner Weldon made a motion to submit the bids to DPW for their recommendation. Commissioner Bohlen seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Award Bid - Regular Cab ¾-Ton Pickup Truck (DPW)-Four bids were received from three dealers. The low bid did not meet specification. The next lowest bid at $20,038.46 met the specs; therefore, it is the recommendation of DPW to award the contract to Bob Smith Automotive Group. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to accept DPW's recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Decision on Special Use Permit - Home Daycare- Barbara McKnight at 106 Patamoke Way-The public hearing was held on January 8, 2001. Planning and Zoning unanimously voted to approve it. There was no opposition voiced at the hearing. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the Special Use Permit. Commissioner Watkins seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Decision on Annexation of Parker Farm-The public hearing was held on December 18, 2000. Mr. Collison delivered an Annexation Agreement to Mr. Simmons, the attorney representing citizens who had questions. Council can give conditional approval pending the finalization of the annexation agreement and the corresponding exhibits. These include the covenants and restrictions for the community and also the public works agreement. Final approval can be given after Dorchester County gives approval for multi-family zoning. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to grant a conditional acceptance of this plan. Commissioner Watkins seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Decision on Rezoning Request by Skip Miller for Property West of Bayly Road (Tax Map 30 Parcel 116)-Commissioner Watkins spoke of the number of citizens who object to the rezoning of this parcel of land. Commissioner Watkins made a motion that the request for rezoning be denied. Commissioner Atkinson seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Decision on Annexation for Gloria Bailey on Rock Drive-Annexation was discussed at the January 8, 2001 meeting. David Pritchett stated that the ideal situation would be to annex the entire area in one annexation. A survey found that the 25% required to mandate annexation was met. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to start the process of annexation based on the survey made by the Department of Public Works. Commissioner Weldon seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Second Reading and Decision - Ordinance to Expand Police Board-The first reading of the ordinance was on January 8, 2001. It would increase the number of members from five to seven. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the ordinance. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed 4:1 with Commissioner Weldon opposed.
Discuss Park Benches for Pedestrian Mall (DPW)-DPW went to bid for benches for the Pedestrian Mall on Race Street. David Pritchett would like to set a City standard on the type of bench used in Cambridge. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to purchase the recommended benches. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Second Reading and Adoption of Resolution Establishing New Sewer Rates for Purpose of Funding On-Going Maintenance Costs and Debt Service-This resolution was introduced on January 8, 2001. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to adopt the resolution establishing the new sewer rates and have it become effective July 1, 2001. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Second Reading and Adoption of Resolution of Intent for Borrowing Up To $10 Million Through MWQFA For Environmental Upgrades-This resolution was introduced on January 8, 2001. It commits the City to repay the monies it is borrowing for the upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant and the combined sewer separation project. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to adopt the resolution. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request from Dorchester County Public Library for 16 Parking Permits for Spring Street and the Courthouse Block of High Street (January through April) for Tax Preparation Assistance Program-Commissioner Weldon made a motion to grant this request for parking permits which will be coordinated through the Cambridge Police Department. Commissioner Bohlen seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Computer Upgrade for Cambridge Police Dept. -Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request by the Police Department to upgrade their computer system. Commissioner Atkinson seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Glasgow Street Improvements (DPW) -The section of Glasgow Street, which has never been improved, is the section to the west of the Board of Education. This will be part of the sewer separation project. David Pritchett would like to complete all the engineering studies; do all the property area notifications; submit the drawings and submit in the 2002 budget the cost of doing the City's 50% of the gutter/pan/curb and repaving of that area.
Introduction of Bond Ordinance for Borrowing Up to $10.5 Million From MWQFA for Environmental Upgrades-This is in relation to the resolution, which authorized borrowing and repayment of State funds. The bond council and the State desire that the City gets authorization to issue up to $10,500,000 for this project. In the resolution previously adopted, the Council approved borrowing and repayment of $10,000,000. The extra would be a cushion in case of any cost overruns. This ordinance authorizes the issuance and sale of bonds on the full faith and credit of the City of Cambridge to finance that debt. Passage will be considered next week.
Disposition of City Property (Cars) - Estimates have been obtained for sale of several City-owned vehicles that are no longer in service. Based on DPW's recommendations, Commissioner Watkins made a motion to allow Collins Cars to purchase these vehicles. Commissioner Atkinson seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve PO 1759 for Cambridge Police Dept. -Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve this purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve Budget Amendment for Financial Administration-Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve Budget Amendment for CEMS- Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve Budget Amendment for Housing-Planning & Zoning- Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Travers seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve Financial Statement for December 2000-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Weldon seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 10:05 p.m.
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, January 22, 2001, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer