• 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

March 27, 2000
 

March 27, 2000

Cambridge, Md.

The City Council met in regular session at 7:00 p.m. with

Mayor David J. Wooten presiding.

Those Commissioners in attendance were: Commissioners Vickers, Watkins, Saunders and Swafford.  Commissioner Watkins led in the Lord's Prayer.

Commissioner Saunders moved to approve the minutes of the March 13th City Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried to 0 with Commissioner Watkins abstaining.

BID OPENINGS FOR B. N. R. UPGRADE AT WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT

Mrs. Adams advised that D.P.W. received four (4) bids for this project:

1) L. A. Merrell Construction Co. (Sudlersville, MD)  --  $13,145,700.

2) J. F. Fischer, Inc. (Baltimore, MD) --  $14,393,920.

3) Schlosser Co., Inc. (Hyattsville, MD)  --  $14,882,000.

4) M. A. Bongiovanni, Inc.( Syracuse, NY) --  $15,463,400.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to forward the bids to the Department of Public Works for their recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

PROCLAMATION DECLARING "THE 2000 MARYLAND CHIEFS' CHALLENGE MONTHS"

Mrs. Adams read aloud the proclamation declaring April and May, 2000 as "The 2000 Maryland Chiefs' Challenge" months in Dorchester County.

Commissioner Watkins moved to authorize the Mayor to sign the proclamation; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

Sergeant Patrick Doyle, Cambridge Police Department, accepted the proclamation on behalf of Chief Russell E. Wroten.

UPDATE ON EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT FOR PEDESTRIAN MALL

Kelly Marshall came to the podium to seek final approval for his plan to "spruce up" the pedestrian mall on Race Street in fulfilling requirements of the Eagle Scout Program.

Since Mr. Pritchett recommended that D.P.W. be involved every step of the way, Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Marshall if he had any problem coordinating his plans with them. He indicated that it would not be a problem.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow Mr. Marshall to move ahead with his plans with the stipulation that Mr. Pritchett be completely involved; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Swafford asked Mr. Marshall if he had the funds for this project and he indicated that he is trying to seek the necessary funding. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made an additional motion "that whatever Mr. Marshall raises, that the Council use public funds and match 50a in case he falls short." Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM THE FAMILY TABERNACLE OF FAITH FOR CHURCH BAZAAR

In a letter to the Mayor and Council, Bishop Robert Johnson requested permission to hold a Church Bazaar on June 17th and 18th.

Commissioner Watkins moved to grant the request. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Saunders, for discussion. She indicated that she is concerned with the streets they want blocked off and the hours they are requesting and suggested that Bishop Johnson contact Mr. Pritchett so he can make a recommendation as to how much should be blocked off and the hours scheduled. Commissioner Watkins agreed with her suggestion and the motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST SUPPORT FOR UPGRADE OF DOWNTOWN CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Jimmy Bryan of the Cambridge Christmas Light Committee came forward to address the letter that was sent to the City Council requesting additional financial support for Christmas decorations.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that the City not deny this assistance but that a letter be sent to the County to see what amount they would be willing to "kick in" to help with this; seconded by Commissioner Vickers.

Commissioner Swafford addressed the fact that the figures submitted for the purchase are for an early purchase date by March 31st..."I do have a problem with a four days' notice on asking for funds." Mr. Webster stated that the cost would be less if done by that date. Commissioner Swafford advised Mr. Webster that the City has a budget process and if funds are being requested from the City in the future, requests would need to be made in a more timely manner in order to budget funds for such projects.

Mr. Webster stated that when the Committee came to the City two years ago seeking help, it was because the electric company required updating of the electric lines for the lights.

Commissioner Saunders then amended her motion "that we go ahead as a City and pay the part they are asking up front and try to recoup some back from the County"; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Webster said the Committee will take care of the one-third needed in advance and the other money is not needed until mid-July.

Commissioner Saunders made another motion to ask the City's Clerk-Treasurer to forward the proposal from Mr. Webster to the County with a letter requesting, in this year's budget, that they try to pick up one-third of this total cost. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF CONDITIONS OF SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR PRODUCE STAND

Commissioner Saunders stated that when Mr. Brohawn received the approval letter for a special use permit for his produce stand there was a stipulation that the two refrigerators be removed from the property and he was under the impression that they only had to be removed from view.

Mr. Brohawn had contacted Commissioner Saunders, as Council President, and explained that he would be willing to move the refrigerators from view of the citizens with lattice work and flowers. His plan was relayed to the other Commissioners by Commissioner Saunders and she feels this is not an unreasonable request because he has been selling produce on his property for at least ten (10) years and has kept it clean. She then made a motion to allow him this leeway as long as he works closely with Mr. Pritchett to make sure it meets all standards. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

Commissioner Watkins wanted to go on record that he has always been in favor of this type of activity whereby residents can buy fresh local produce.

DISCUSS APPOINTING AN ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON PUTTING A SKATEBOARD PARK IN THE CITY

This is with regards to the presentation made to Council a while back by a few youth members of the community requesting a skateboard park. Commissioner Saunders indicated that they were having problems, "knowing they shouldn't do it", skating on the streets and sidewalks. They said the Police Officers are good to them, but they run them away.

She had asked Council to have permission to do research to bring back to Council. The Police Department indicated in a letter that it was a great idea, if done correctly and a public work session was held last week.

Eric Dickson, 414 Cemetery Avenue, came to the podium and stated that he has been skating for about six (6) years and there is only one main part of Cambridge where he can skateboard without getting in trouble (by Artwell's). That park was built by amateurs and there is broken glass and the ramps have deteriorated. He totally supports a new facility.

Chris Jones, 316 Cedar Street, said he was in favor of the park also.

Jacob Mandell, 17 Hughlett Street, said the current park is messed up "so we have to skateboard on the streets... so we need the new park."

Joshua Luther, 306 Washington Street, was also in favor of a new facility.

Commissioner Saunders asked what type of protective gear do skateboarders use to protect themselves? She was advised they wear elbow pads and helmets.

Steve Whitten came to the podium and advised that skateboarding is much more than an extreme sport. It is an expression of individuality and for many people, a way of life. It can be enjoyed by someone from age 5 to 50 and has personally affected him by increasing his interest in art, music, traveling and similar board sports... "all things I consider positive."

Construction of a quality skateboard park would be a direct message to the youth of the community by saying "we care for you, we want the best for you and we want to provide for you ...positive kids become positive, productive adults."

He asked the Council to vote tonight in favor of aggressive pursual of making a skateboard park in Cambridge a reality. This could be as difficult as the Hyatt project or simple as building an oversized, elaborate sidewalk. "With teamwork, ingenuity, and common sense, together we can build something we can all be proud of."

Mr. Whitten then reviewed with Council the packet he had submitted. The first two pages explain the myths of the liability issue as far as building a skateboard park. Huntington Beach, California has opened two (2) public, unsupervised skateparks and they are prepared to open a third "and there has not been one liability suit since 1993." There are more liability claims on softball fields.

He included a plan design with three (3) suggested locations within the City and he feels the best location would be adjacent to the County Pool..."the one problem with it is it is County property. "

Mr. Whitten indicated that he feels an ideal park should:

  • be made out of concrete so it couldn't be vandalized
  • it should have lights
  • be open 24 hours to the public
  • fenced in
  • helmets always required
  • Police patrolled to make sure people skating have their passes and are wearing their helmets
  • landscaped to make it esthetically pleasing
  • and make sure no bicycles are allowed inside the park area (rollerbladers would be OK to help generate more money).

He listed the "pros" and "cons" of three possible skatepark locations:

  • Great Marsh
  • Meadow Park
  • land near County Pool on Cedar Street

The last pages of his packet included a list of skate parks throughout the United States.

Commissioner Saunders thanked Mr. Whitten for submitting the detailed information and asked that he sit down with the young men who came tonight so they can be a part of the project.

William Jackson, Chairman of the City's Human Relations Committee, was next to speak. He feels it would be a tribute to the City of Cambridge to address the needs of our young people in helping the City to grow and he was pleased to see so many young people at tonight's City Council meeting expressing their views. He further stated that the Human Relations Committee would certainly endorse such a project for the City.

Commissioner Saunders added that last week Marge Hull, representing the West End Citizens Association, saw no harm in moving forward with this endeavor.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to move forward with developing this skateboard park for our youth and that Mr. Whitten and the young gentlemen schedule an appointment with Mr. Pritchett "and see where we can go from here and some costs be worked out." Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins.

Commissioner Swafford asked Council to include this in the City's budget talks that are coming up. Commissioner Saunders amended her motion to include this in the 2001 budget; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then requested the young men to give their names, addresses and phone numbers to Odie Wheeler.

COMMUNICATION CENTER IMPROVEMENTS

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to honor Chief Wroten's request to complete the improvements; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE CITY'S FINANCIAL STATEMENT (ASOP #10)

Commissioner Swafford moved to approve the City's Financial Statement for February, 2000; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM DORCHESTER ARTS CENTER TO HANG BANNER ON MARYLAND AVENUE

Gordon Bugby, member of the Board of Directors for the Dorchester Arts Center, came to the podium to announce their gala dinner-dance on the evening of April 29th at Sailwinds Park and request Council's permission to hang a banner announcing the event.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to approve this, with the Chamber of Commerce's permission, and to coordinate hanging the banner through the City's Department of Public Works. Commissioner Vickers thought there was a charge from the Chamber to do this and Mr. Bugby said he is aware of that fact. Motion was then seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM DELMARVA COMMUNITY SERVICES TO REZONE A PORTION OF THEIR PROPERTY TO BE USED AS A PARKING LOT

Commissioner Watkins moved to refer this request to the Planning and Zoning Commission; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM KOOL ICE AND SEAFOOD REGARDING SHELLFISH AGREEMENT

Mr. Collison advised that the current agreement they have with the City expires at the end of April, 2000. The license agreement with the City allows them to purchase shellfish from waterman between September and April each year at the current rate of $100. per month.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to continue with the process since the Attorney sees no problems with the contract and Mr. Pritchett has had no complaints. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford. At the suggestion of Commissioner Vickers, Commissioner Saunders amended he motion to include looking into the electrical expense. Commissioner Swafford amended his second and the motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO WAIVE AMBULANCE TRANSPORTATION FEES FOR INMATES AT THE DORCHESTER COUNTY DETENTION CENTER

Commissioner Saunders indicated that she had requested this to be put back on the agenda since Commissioner Nichols and Commissioner Newcomb spoke with her about this.

In the spirit of cooperation, since the County has helped financially with the fireworks display, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to limit it to 5 per year and also have the Director of C.E.M.S. draw up the type of calls that they would make. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously. Commissioner Saunders made an additional motion to ask the City attorney to draw up what was just stated and that it be delivered to the Council; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve all budgeted expenditures in Council's packets over $250.; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

MAYOR MAKES APPOINTMENT TO M. U. C. BOARD

Mayor Wooten stated that he had the privilege of working with David Townsend on the M.U.C. Board. Mr. Townsend has served on this board for eleven (11) years and due to some health problems that he is experiencing, he finds it necessary to give that slot up. The Mayor wanted to do something on behalf of the City to express gratitude to him for his dedicated, lengthy service.

Since there is an opening now on this board, Mayor Wooten asked Council to approve Glenn Ford, a public school teacher, to take Mr. Townsend's place. Commissioner Saunders moved to accept the Mayor's recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM CITY ATTORNEY

Mr. Collison said the City has received another request for annexation from Gloria Baily on Rock Drive. She has had the property surveyed and Mr. Collison asked Council to make a formal introduction of Annexation Resolution No. A2000-001 to begin the process and advertise for a public hearing.

Commissioner Swafford moved to grant Mr. Collison's request; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Collison then advised Council that he will not be attending the April loth Council meeting as he will be attending a conference in Washington that day.

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to go into Executive Session after tonight's meeting to discuss a personnel issue and a legal issue; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Swafford said he would like to include a real estate issue also. Commissioner Saunders then amended her motion to include the real estate discussion. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders announced the Cambridge Day celebration activities are scheduled on Saturday, April 8th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. She personally thanked Dwight Cromwell for the announcements on the radio and Bryon Johnston for the notices in the Dorchester Star.

Council then sang "Happy Birthday" to Bryon Johnston.

Commissioner Saunders then stated that a call center is being considered for the Eastern Shore where people can call in their unemployment insurance claims. if this facility could be located in Cambridge, it would bring in 66 new State jobs. She, with the support of her husband, has sent off at least 50 letters in support of this coming to Cambridge. She asked the public to send letters to the Governor, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Senator Colburn and Delegate Eckert.

COMMENTS FROM MAYOR WOOTEN

The Mayor read aloud a letter he had received from the Governor indicating that the bill for the Empowerment Center was approved.

Another letter from the Governor referenced the interest Cambridge is showing in locating the Unemployment Insurance Claim Center in Cambridge... "it's great to know that Cambridge is interested in such an important endeavor." Secretary O'Connor and the Department of General Services are currently working on the location for the Western Maryland Unemployment Insurance Claim Center. Part of their five-year plan is to find a suitable location on the Eastern Shore to place the 5th Unemployment Insurance Claim Center. A final decision for the Eastern Shore location will not take place until some time this summer. Cambridge's interest will definitely be taken into consideration.

A third letter from the Governor was in response to the Mayor's letter regarding the need for additional industrial land in Dorchester County. The Governor has consulted with the Maryland Office of Planning, the Dorchester County Office of Economic Development and Secretary Mike Lewin of the Department of Business and Economic Development. it was determined that a feasibility study should be conducted in order to identify the best parcels for acquisition and future industrial development. The Governor thanked the Mayor for bringing this to his attention.

Mayor Wooten said Cambridge and Dorchester County owe the Governor "a debt of indescribable gratitude for what he has done for us, how he has helped us, and what he's brought to us." The Mayor shared three instances tonight where the Governor has helped the City of Cambridge. He additionally thanked the Council for all their interest in these issues.

COMMENTS FROM COMMISSIONER SWAFFORD

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve a Budget Amendment submitted by D.P.W. in the amount of $1,700. for ADA materials and municipal property maintenance; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM COMMISSIONER SAUNDERS

Commissioner Saunders said she is amazed when she picks up the newspaper and reads comments about the "do-nothing, know-nothing" Mayor and Council. So much is being done in Cambridge... "for the first time, in the history of tax dollars coming in this town, we have something in a predominantly African-American community that we can be proud of and that's going to be the Empowerment Center for the whole community."

She added... "I know we are working and I don't need to prove myself to them. All I need to do is keep doing what I was put into office to do and that's to help Cambridge to move forward and grow. "

COMMENTS FROM EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Mrs. Adams advised Council that on Wednesday, March 29th from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. City Hall will need to be closed due to no electricity as a switch is being installed on the generator at R. F. C.

A motion was made by Commissioner Swafford to leave the decision up to the Department Head as how to handle the situation; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR

Mr. Pritchett addressed comments he has received regarding the traffic signal on the corner of Spring and Gay Streets which is currently a flashing light. Mayor Wooten stated that he personally would like to see it go back to red, yellow and green.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to refer this issue back to Traffic and Safety for further study and recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried 3 to 1 with Commissioner Vickers opposing.

Mr. Pritchett then referenced his memo regarding Phase II of the combined sewer separation. George, Miles and Buhr, the engineering firm, has recommended to do new storm water instead of new sewer lines and the City Engineer does concur that this is the best way to proceed.

Commissioner Vickers made a motion to move forward as recommended; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Pritchett to explain his memo regarding the next step toward the BNR construction and facility upgrades at the treatment plant. She was concerned, as stated in Mr. Pritchett's memo, that any funding assisted projects through State or Federal money clearly mandates use of a low bid unless it is clearly discovered that the contractor is not qualified and asked if the contractor with the low bid is qualified. Mr. Pritchett advised that this has not gone to bid yet. The City has the option on this case to look into amending the contract to include the people who designed the plant to actually do the inspection of it. At some point it could go to bid and that was what Mr. Pritchett was addressing.

Mr. Collison indicated that if the City chose not to accept a low bid, "you would have to be able to establish by some criteria that they were not qualified."

Commissioner Vickers felt a representative of the design firm should furnish someone for the inspection to protect the City's interest.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to get Commissioner Vickers involved with this and that he come back to Council with some insight before they make a vote; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried 3 to 1 with Commissioner Vickers abstaining.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Marge Hull came to the podium and advised that the West End Citizens Association Newsletter is now out with the notice about the Cambridge Day celebration.

MORE COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Janice Banks came forward stating she addressed the Council a few weeks ago to give them an opportunity to look over a situation that had occurred with the C.E.M.S. system. She had heard information that she was not qualified and she presented Council with documentation that indicates she is currently a Cardiac Rescue Technician with the State of Maryland.

Ms. Banks indicated that she was not here to give her current qualifications. She addressed the City about the discrimination that is taking place. if she doesn't receive a response from the City within one week, she will turn this over to her lawyer and the A.C.L.U.

She stated that when she answers fire calls or ambulance calls she doesn't discriminate... "when I come there to treat you, I treat your home and you with due respect."

Commissioner Saunders questioned Ms. Banks about some documentation that she presented to Council because there is conflicting information.

With no further business, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to adjourn at 8:35 p.m.; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, March 27, 2000 insofar as I personally am aware.

Heidi R. Adams, Executive Assistant