• 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

May 1, 2000

May 1, 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 Commissioner Vickers, Watkins, Saunders (arrived late), Swafford.  Commissioner Rice was absent. 

Mr. Kinnamon led in the Lord's prayer.

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the April 24th Council meeting minutes.  Seconded by Commissioner Vickers after the correction to page 401,

"Commissioner Rice brought a question to the cost of fans in the amount of $5,000" that should have been Commissioner Vickers.  Commissioner Watkins then amended the motion to include the correction.     Motion carried by the three Commissioners present.


Mr. Kinnamon read the proclamation aloud and Mr. Bill Amari came forward to receive the proclamation.  Commissioner Watkins moved to have the Mayor sign the proclamation.  Seconded by Commissioner Swafford.   Motion carried unanimously with Commissioner Saunders now in attendance.


Mr. Kinnamon read the proclamation aloud and Amy Craig came forward to receive the proclamation.  Commissioner Watkins moved to have the Mayor sign the proclamation.  Seconded by Commissioner Vickers.  Motion carried unanimously.  Ms. Craig then explained how hearing loss can occur.  She reminded everyone to have a hearing screening this month.


Mr. Collins was to come forward to discuss his sign at Long Wharf but he was unable to attend.  Commissioner Saunders said she thought the sign had been put on hold and handed over to Mr. Prtichett's department since we have had several requests for signs for tour boats at Long Wharf.  Commissioner Saunders said we didn't cancel this but put it on hold until Mr. Pritchett can get an appropriate plan together so there won't be so many signs at Long Wharf.

Mr. Prichett stated the three areas that will be used are also reserved for transient boaters. His concern is that they will be leased out and the people that have a sign there won't have access to the area.

Mr. Prtichett will be in contact with Mr. Collins. The approval was to allow the boat to stop at Long Wharf not for the sign. 


Mr. Pritchett said the evaluation of the two bids received had been completed.  They had chosen to award the Contract to Dome Corporation in the amount of $59,733.00.  It was a budgeted item in the amount of $70,000. Commissioner Swafford made the motion that we accept the bid from Dome Corporation.  Seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Commissioner Saunders said "Mr. Pritchett I see where you will be realizing a savings of $4,000 to $6,000.   "If there are any overruns would this probably be finished before June 30th, so you will know if you will need that money to pick up any overruns?"  Mr. Pritchett said it won't be finished but he can absolutely dedicate that there will be that much left over.   The motion was carried unanimously.


Mr. Pritchett stated that they did do a study and forwarded it to Sterns and Wheler.  The low bidder was L.A. Merle of Suddlersville and it was requested to award the contract to them.

Commissioner Vickers made a motion to accept the bid in the amount of $13,145,757.  Seconded by Commissioner Saunders.  Commissioner Swafford said that from high and low there was a difference of $2,315,000 (roughly) for the same thing.  Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Pritchett is the account where Mr. Kinnamon can draw down as needed or do we already have money set aside?  Mr. Kinnamon explained that this is a multiple year item, and some monies have already been budgeted for this.

Commissioner Saunders asked if we would be receiving any money from the state or grant money?  Mr. Pritchett replied we would be receiving $3,000,000 Federal and it is based on a 29% Maryland Department of the Environment reimbursement.  Which will work out that if it is DNR eligible it is 50% reimbursement.  This leaves us with $6,200,000 locally to fund. 

Commissioner Vickers explained that this is an upgrade of the treatment plant that is mandated by Federal and State Environmental Laws that has to do with the removal of nitrogen and odor control.  The motion was carried unanimously.


This amendment would allow them to include construction phase of services for wastewater treatment upgrade.  Mr. Pritchett has been working with Commissioner Vickers on this as directed by Council.  Mr. Pritchett and the Commissioner are in strong favor as is MDE that we go with the designers of the plant.  In doing the final portion of the construction which is the construction phase services.  The bids did run over which was not abnormal.  Sterns & Wheler did reevaluate their whole system and what they had charged, they came up with a cost savings overall of about $120,000.

Commissioner Saunders asked if this was a 27-month project?  Mr. Pritchett said it should be less than that, more like 24 months.  Commissioner Saunders read the three important reductions:

  • Reduce the overhead multiplier for the resident representative service from $1.60 to $1.50.
  • Reduce the resident representative hourly rate from $24.50 to $16.50 per hour.
  • The hours of the pile-driving inspector were reduced from 540 to 360 hours.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to accept the amendment.  Seconded by Commissioner Vickers.  Motion was carried unanimously.


Commissioner Swafford made a motion that they are allowed to go to bid for the Computer equipment.  Commissioner Watkins seconded.   Motion was carried unanimously.


Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve all budget expenditures over $250.  Seconded by Commissioner Saunders.  Motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Collison brought up that some time back the Council formally approved the Department of Housing as the enforcement official for the garbage collection guidelines for the City.  It was an over sight on his part and had the resolution prepared for this evening.  Commissioner Saunders read the resolution aloud.    Commissioner Saunders made a motion to have the Mayor sign the resolution.  Seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Commissioner Saunders said that people were complaining that garbage was being put out on a Friday and would not be picked up until Tuesday.  The garbage finds its way all over the street and people will now know that they will be fined.  She suggested Mr. Kinnamon keep copies of the code at City Hall.

Commissioner Swafford asked if it was only going to be the Housing Department or would the Police Department be involved?  Commissioner Saunders said this would take it away from the Police Department and give it to the Housing Department.  Commissioner Swafford said that no one in the Housing Department works after 4:30 p.m. Friday and won't be back to work until Monday.  So, on Saturdays and Sundays it won't be enforced.  Commissioner Saunders said that some enforcement may be done on Saturdays and Sundays if Ms. Camper can work out staggered hours with her employees.  Motion was carried unanimously.


Commissioner Saunders made a public apology that she made a mistake last week.  Tuesday Mr. Kinnamon called Commissioner Saunders and said the site that we had for the Public Safety Building on Race Street was across the street from where she thought the current site is. 

Mr. Kinnamon approached her to bring to the Mayor and Council there is a map being put together through the Chamber to highlight Cambridge and Dorchester County. It would cost $435. for us to be a part of this project.  Mr. Kinnamon wanted permission for us to be a part of this.  Mr. Kinnamon said it would be a welcome from the City of Cambridge and each participant would receive about 100 maps.  Commissioner Saunders made a motion to let Mr. Kinnamon proceed since there is money in the economic development budget.  Seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Deborah Camper sent a memo with a letter attached to the Mayor and Council in regards to hearings that were held before the housing board relative to demolition notices.  Commissioner Saunders read the memo aloud.  Anyone who has a demolition hearing before the board should have a copy of the letter that was attached to Ms. Camper's memo.  Commissioner Saunders made a motion to turn the letter over to Mr. Rob Collison and let him advise Ms. Camper and us in writing to what should be done.  Seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders read a letter from Mr. Ricky Dukes in reference in contracting his services for the maintenance of City owned vehicles.  Commissioner Saunders made a motion to turn this over to the City attorney for advice.  Seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders spoke about the Maryland Municipal League and the book they are printing called Maryland 157.  Commissioner Saunders worked on the project with Ms. Kathy Foster (an employee) and Mr. Armond Hayward (Volunteer).  She shared that the book is ready.  The book is to be used as an educational cornerstone on Maryland Government curriculum.  Each school and all libraries will receive a book at no cost.  On Friday May 5th there will be a book unveiling in the Rotunda at the State House. 

Commissioner Saunders asked the news media tonight to give the same front-page coverage concerning the Mayor's powers, as they had done in the past.  She read the information aloud from Kevin Best that she had received on April 26, 2000 at 9:50 a.m.  He stated that there are four basic forms of municipal government:

  • Commission
  • Council Manger
  • Strong Mayor
  • Weak Mayor

Maryland's Municipalities have practically all taken variations of each form.  A quick inspection of your charter reveals that the Mayor has veto powers, presides over the Council and can vote in case of a tie.  Although our veteran body is called a Commission your form of Municipal government more closely resembles a Mayor and Council form of government and actually your Mayor is probably relatively slightly stronger than many other Mayors in Maryland are.   A pure Commissioner form of government would have each Commissioner performing discreet executive functions and would perform as a whole bolt as an executive and legislative function of the town.  The cities in Maryland that really fulfill the Strong Mayor/Council are Baltimore City, Salisbury, Annapolis, Frederick and Hagerstown.

Referring to the landlord meeting being held Commissioner Saunders made a motion to have a public work session to ask the City for at least a period of a few years putting a cap on the housing rental fee at $20.00 per unit.  If after the agreed years of the cap they had to raise it, it would be for a just cause and after public discussion and a work session. Seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Motion carried unanimously.

Continuing Commissioner Saunders made a motion to have a public work session to discuss having a tax abatement on a one-time basis on one property for landlords who brought their property up to code after being sited by the Housing Department.  Seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Commissioner Saunders amended her motion to be any property in the City limits.  Commissioner Watkins seconded.  Motion was carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to immediately start a sign moratorium within the City until all the planning and zoning studies are complete and the public has had a chance to speak.  Mr. Collison's understanding was that the proposal for a signage in Cambridge has been pending and that would be scheduled for a public session as soon as possible.  Commissioner Saunders amended her motion that during this moratorium the planners would attend the public work session for citizen input. Three carried the motion.  Commissioner Swafford opposed.


The Mayor shared a letter from the HUD secretary.  We were congratulated on our housing system.  This secretary believes in rewarding successful agencies not the agencies that need to do better. Your agency will be rewarded for your outstanding performance as follows:

  • Your agency will receive bonus points in connection with any nova which is submitted to this Department.
  • Your agency will have the benefit of paper work reduction in connection with filing required by this Department.
  • As a standard performer you have the potential to improve year to year.

If you Agency is a high performer this coming year you will also receive a Capital Grant Bonus of 3% per year based upon your agencies capital grant award.  This bonus increases to 5% in years six and on.  This means that over five years your bonus will be $60,725, and after seven years $101,209.  HUD will inspect your agency only in alternate years while your agency is a high performer.  The Secretary believes that public houses in America works because of people like you and the members of authority and administration that work there as well.  Commissioner Saunders asked for a copy of the letter. 

The Mayor gave a public invitation to the meeting May 4th at the American Legion.  This meeting will host our Comptroller who will speak on what he had accomplished in Baltimore City when he was the Mayor.  There will be speakers there to discuss the Hyatt and what it will do to better Cambridge.  The Mayor says the changes we see coming he feels will help all us.  The meeting starts at 9:00 a.m.


Commissioner Swafford stated that next Monday he would like to talk to the Council about setting up budget hearings for the Department heads.  Also, in the budget we have again for the third year in a row a City Manager.  He is going to be watching closely in Salisbury on Tuesday to see what they are doing.  He feels when dealing with the millions of dollars that Cambridge is dealing with you can't depend on 5 part time people and the Mayor part time.   Commissioner Swafford feels very strongly that we need a City Manager.


Mr. Kinnamon suggested a Work Session should be scheduled for May 15th at 6:30p.m. for the landlord work session. 

Mr. Kinnamon brought up that there was a "March for Jesus" proclamation that was given but there was also a request to use the services of the police, and the medical support from C.E.M.S.   That part was not addressed.  Commissioner Saunders made a motion that we support them, but that they contact the police and the medical support of C.E.M.S.  Seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Motion was carried unanimously.

Mr. Kinnamon received a request from the "Pride of Baltimore" that they want to come in on May 10th, for an afternoon business affair.  Mr. Pritchett said the dock is available.    Commissioner Saunders made a motion that if everything is worked out with Public Works we allow the "Pride" to dock here.  Seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Saunders amended her motion to waive the dock fee.  Commissioner Watkins seconded this motion.  Motion carried unanimously.


Commissioner Saunders made a motion that also for the work session, that we need to consider lead paint abatement.  She would like the City to consider putting this in a public work session for landlords, businesses, and private homes.  We could have a three-year grant bill to hire and train a person that would work for the City of Cambridge to do the actual lead paint abatement and lead paint reduction inspections.  Seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Pritchett reminded Council that on Tuesday, May 2nd at 7:00 p.m. Redmond & Johnston will be meeting with Planning and Zoning and everyone is invited to attend.

Tuesday, May 9th at 1:00 p.m. in Council Chambers will be the interview with the final three architects.  These three will be narrowed down to one that will best work on public safety building project and meet the needs of the City. 

Mr. Pritchett stated Council had directed him to contact Mr. Bishop Johnson about a church bazaar to be held June 17th and the 18th.  This involves two items one is the noise variance, for the times of 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both days.  Mr. Pritchett reviewed the minutes and he thought that was granted. The other was to block off the street, that it is a fairly small section of Robbins Street.  Mr. Pritchett told him that if Council approved tonight that he would take care of getting the barricades for the 17th and 18th.  It is Robbins Street between Central and Pine.  Commissioner Swafford made a motion to table this until next week. Seconded by Commissioner Watkins.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Prtichett brought up that he had applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management on the snow removal from the one storm we had.  He had received word today that they would be approved.  The City's cost was roughly $15,000 and the reimbursement is roughly $11,000, which is estimated to be within a $1,000 of that amount. 

Mr. Pritchett reported that at a recent meeting for the Empowerment Center, the building is going to be marked off and staked either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, and the footers will be poured either the end of this week or the beginning of next week.  Everything is on schedule.

A memo was put in the packets with a letter attached in reference to the deterioration of the bulkhead at the Yacht Basin.  Emergency repairs are being made now.  These are going to be more expensive than was expected.  But this has to be done to stop the wash out from under the roadway.  Mr. Pritchett requested to give the Council a walking tour of the Yacht Basin.  Some of the things to go over would be the signs for the boats, also to show the monthly things that they are dealing with at the Basin.  He suggested doing this prior to the work session on May 15th.  Commissioner Vickers suggested doing this at 5:30 p.m. on May 15th prior to the working session.  Mr. Pritchett said they are losing some boaters, but most people say this is their favorite marina.The Mayor and Commissioners will meet at the fountain in the park.

A letter was given to J. L. Hearn and they have been relieved of that responsibility at this time.


Mr. Gage Thomas 1502 Race Street, came to the microphone in reference to the sign moratorium.  He thanked Mr. Swafford for his opposing vote.  He doesn't think this is a good idea.  That we have gone to extremes of having no policy to the moratorium.  We should consider what Planning and Zoning has put forth to us and adopt this on an interim basis.  He assumes this would mean grand opening banners, no special promotion posters, that up coming election signs would not be allowed either. Commissioner Saunders explained her motion again; that it was business signs until the Planning and Zoning could look at this again.  Commissioner Saunders amended her motion to include temporary or permanent commercial business signs only.  Commissioner Watkins seconded.  Three Commissioners carried the motion.  Commissioner Swafford opposed the motion.  Mr. Collison said we should try to have a May 22nd public hearing.

Mr. C.L. Rippons 101 Killarney Road, came to the microphone and asked Mr. Collison if something is done in executive session or passed before it becomes a mandate does it have to come to open session of the Council to be voted on?  The question was brought up again about the land deal.  Mr. Collison said he would look into this and get back to him.  If it was voted in a general meeting he would like a copy of that.

Mr. Rippons addressed the hiring procedures; his question was basically about the individual hired at City Hall.   The explanation was that all positions are advertised in house first.  If no one was hired an advertisement would be placed in the newspapers. Secondly he wanted to know who is on the selection team.  The team varies for the hiring.  When the City hired a floater Mr. Kinnamon, Chief Hurley, nor Chief Wroten were considered.  These would be the floaters direct supervisors and none of them were asked to review the applications. He wonders if we do have Department Heads and the rationale behind the hiring process.  Mr. Rippons wanted to know what the hiring practice is?   Mr. Collison offered a copy of the hiring practices that are in the employee manual.  Mr. Rippons said he would like to have a copy of that.  Commissioner Vickers asked if he would pay for this.  Mr. Collison said yes he would pay for the copies. 


Marge Hall came forward wanting to know if the sign at Zion United Methodist Church would fall under the moratorium?  Because of an appeal process that was followed by the West End Group in another issue the precedent had been set and there were instructions on the spot prior to the appeal.  Therefore any changes in code regulations did apply.  Commissioner Saunders did not have the church sign in mind.  There are concerns about some of the signs, sizes, colors for the downtown area.  Mrs. Hall just wanted them to know that she feels this is a commercial sign in a residential area.

With no further business, Commissioner Watkins made a motion to adjourn, at 8:33 p.m.; seconded by Commissioner Vickers.  Motion carried unanimously.

I hereby certify that the forgoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, May 1, 2000 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer