• 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

July 24, 2000
 

The City Council met in regular session at 7:00 p.m. with Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons presiding.

Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioner Bohlen, Watkins, Weldon, Atkinson and Travers.   Mr. Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Mayor Rippons had Commissioner Atkinson lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the July 17th minutes.  Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. Commissioner Weldon made a few corrections to the minutes.  On page 2 the attorney from LGIT would discuss both of the legal issues the Council only discussed one.  On page 3 there was a working session tomorrow (July 25th) regarding the meeting with the Department Heads it should have read there was an informal meeting with the Department Heads and then individual times would be set up.   The final correction should have been that Marge Hall's name should have been Marge Hull. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to approve the minutes as amended. Commissioner Travers seconded. The motion was carried unanimously.

Mayor Rippons stated that that the Planning and Zoning Committee that is now established will remain comprised of the same individuals until Council has had time to replace any members, as they may feel needed.  The Mayor said that at this time there is a Planning and Zoning meeting scheduled for early August and if the Council does not make a decision on the Planning and Zoning Committee by that time, then the Committee as it stands will meet at that time.

Commissioner Atkinson said that his committee member would be the same person.

Mayor Rippons said that he wanted to discuss this with the Council tomorrow evening, and if possible he would like all Council members to have contacted the individual that they want to represent their ward at the Council meeting next week

Commissioner Watkins has his member selected.

PUBLIC HEARING FOR THE REZONING OF DELMARVA COMMUNITY SERVICES

The request was being made by Delmarva Community Services for additional parking.  Delmarva Community Services is located on Rte. 16 and the additional property is located behind the Rte 16 property at 1480 Chesapeake Street.

Since this was the Council's first public hearing regarding rezoning request Mr. Collison went over the procedures for this request.  This request has gone to the Planning and Zoning Commission they have made a recommendation and Mr. Pritchett will give that report.  They are requesting that the parcel of property that is designated as 1480 Chesapeake Street be rezoned from residential to a C-2 General Commercial District.  The purpose tonight is to receive public comment both in favor and possibly against and to answering any questions.  The Council tonight is sitting, as a Zoning Board to consider all the testimony, any exhibits that are delivered, and then Council will deliberate next week in open session and render a decision at that time on the rezoning request.

The applicant must demonstrate that there has either been a substantial change in the neighborhood in the area that the property is located or that there was a mistake when the original zoning was made.

Mr. Collison reminded the public that this session is being taped and the participants will need to come to the podium and give their name and address.  Anyone aggrieved by the decision of the Council will have the right to appeal within thirty days to the Circuit Court.

Mr. Pritchett said that the Planning and Zoning Commission met on June 6th to hear the argument in favor of changing the neighborhood and did vote unanimously to allow the rezoning. The rezoning is for 3 acres to be added to the approximate 3.6 acres existing of the total parcel of 30 acres.  On July 7th the first advertisement was placed in the Daily Banner and the seconded advertisement was placed on July 14th and July 11th the property was posted for public notice.

Jim Michael came to the podium representing Delmarva Community Services. The request is to change the existing zoning to C-2 the purpose of this request is to expand the parking area, which currently has maximized on the Delmarva Community Services property to overflow on this portion. 

Mr. Michael passed a memo out to the Council this memo was also presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission.  Mr. Michael explained that Delmarva Community Services has expanded their transportation program and now has a number of vehicles and several larger vehicles.   The intent of the agency is to move the larger vehicles to the portion that they are requesting for rezoning.  Mr. Michael also had a drawing of the property.

Mr. Michael went over the points of the memorandum. He wanted the public to understand that there would be no effect on the population of the City of Cambridge due to this request.  The existing public facilities are adequate and the only service to this site is electrical services for the block heaters, since most of these vehicles are diesel and security lighting for the vehicle area.  There will be no significant change to the present or future transportation patterns and since access does already exist both on Chesapeake Street and Maryland Rte.16 there will be no further impact.  Mr. Michael continued by explaining that this project is compatible with existing and proposed development as evidence by the development along the Rte. 16 corridor within the last twenty or thirty years.  There are no indications of any incompatibility with the City's conference of plan and the site was formally part of a commercial cannery. The last rezoning in the city was 1964.

Mr. Michael went over the photographs that showed the overview of the Rte. 16 corridor from Rte. 50 to the Delmarva property.

Mr. Michael feels there has been a significant change in the neighborhood to warrant the change in zoning.  Delmarva Community Services has hired a surveyor if approved the 3 acre portion will be tied in with the lot that includes the larger building so there really wouldn't be any new lots it essentially would be a tie in with the existing lot.

Mr. Collison asked Mr. Michael would there be any screening between this property and the residential property?  Mr. Michael explained that there would be no need to have screening since the lot would be adjacent to the existing property. 

Commissioner Weldon asked where the access was in relationship to the drive that goes back into Patamoke I?  Mr. Michael told him that Patamoke I would be further away from the area. 

Commissioner Bohlen asked was the entire area shaded in green the area they are requesting to rezone.  Mr. Michael explained that they needed to configure a portion of their parking lot because there are non-tidal wetlands that are also in the vicinity. 

Commissioner Weldon asked if the area would be lighted at night?  He also asked if there would be planting or screening added.  Mr. Michael stated that there would be lighting at night and if the Council requested planting or screening that would not be a problem. 

Mr. Collison advised the Council that they couldn't rezone for any one particular use.   When you rezone from one classification to the other anything within a C-2 may be built there.

Mr. Monroe Smith asked does the area need to be rezoned to a C-2 for a parking lot?  Could a parking lot be added even though it is a residential area?  Mr. Collison said unfortunately not when the parking lot is being used for a commercial purpose.

Mr. Monroe Smith then asked that on the map where Mr. Michael had it marked off for the parking lot and the area that Mr. Michael wanted to have rezoned was much larger and he wanted to know why?  Mr. Smith said that once it is rezoned they may do whatever they want and he feels that is unfair to the citizens.

Mayor Rippons made a point of clarification that they were asking for people in favor of the rezoning to speak and Mr. Smith's questions boarder on being against.

Mr. Collison asked for anyone in favor to come to the podium.

Richard Loeffler came to the podium, he is Vice-President of the Board of Directors of Delmarva Community Services and he is also a former businessman in the area.  Mr. Loeffler wanted to comment that when he first moved here in 1979 he rented a portion of the property that is now Delmarva Community Services for commercial use.

Mr. Loeffler continued saying that Delmarva Community Services has been and will continued to be a good neighbor to the community. 

Mr. John Pyle came to the podium.  Mr. Pyle said that there is a substantial need for transportation services.  The need for transportation has grown dramatically.  The additional parking lot would allow D.C.S. to supply even more and better transportation to the community.

Mr. Collison then asked Mr. Michael to addressed Mr. Monroe Smith's question regarding the amount of acreage that is being requested for rezoning and the size of the parking lot itself?

Mr. Michael said that they are limited by space because of the non-tidal wetlands issues.  The expansion is strictly for a 3-acre area for parking and in the anticipation that the parking lot would have to expand there would be availability for expansion.

Mayor Rippons asked of the proposed lot how much acreage would that take up? Mr. Michael said that the proposed lot would use approximately 1-acre.  Mr. Michael reminded the Mayor that they would need to use buffers for the non-tidal wetlands. 

Commissioner Weldon asked how many homes could be built on those acres if the area stayed a R-1? Mr. Michael estimated 120 houses maximum could be built and most of them along the Chesapeake Street area. 

Mr. Collison then asked for anyone in opposition to come to the podium.

Mr. Monroe Smith, 2427 Cambridge Beltway came to the podium.  Mr. Smith said that no one is against the request but they are concerned about the future.  Once the zoning is changed to a C-2 they are concerned what business may want to move there next. 

Portia Johnson 700 Cornish Drive came to the podium.  Ms. Johnson asked Mr. Collison if the city wasn't in the process of going through rezoning now? Mr. Collison said that the city is working with some consultants now and there will be a public hearing on that matter at a later date.

Ms. Johnson asked if this request should wait?  Mr. Collison said that they could not deny an applicant's request and need to hold a public hearing.

Ms. Johnson continued by saying that several of the businesses that Mr. Michael mentioned in his memo are in an industrial park area.   Ms. Johnson asked if the city is going to stop what they have started by helping the citizens to gain homes outside the city.

Mr. Michael said that it is not Delmarva's intent to put commercial enterprise in that area the soul reason is for a parking area for the vehicles.

Commissioner Bohlen asked when the current zoning that DCS has C-2 when was that granted?  Mr. Michael said he thought it was grand fathered in.

Commissioner Atkinson said when the cannery operated there was one house and one store.  The area was purchased by the city in 1978 to build Patamoke II and I.

Commissioner Weldon asked if DCS had the existing lot reviewed by traffic engineers to confirm that the lot is laid out the best way for DCS?  Is there an accessory building available that is under utilized that could be used for some of the vehicles, before we expand into another lot?  Mr. Michael said that the parking area has been maximized.

Commissioner Weldon continued by asking when they were issued the permits for the renovation of the building and the installation of the services that are provided was there any component in that permit as to how many parking spaces would be allowed?  

Mr. Michael said they needed to have a certain number of handicapped parking spaces; also they were constrained by the length of the vehicles.  It would be much more practical to place the larger vehicles off site and permit the predominance of the parking to be utilized for smaller vehicles, mini vans, passengers vehicles, and smaller buses. 

There was some discussion that the senior program has grown and with the growth of the program the parking lot is being used more.

Mr. Pritchett stated that DPW and the City Engineer George Hyde passed this request; he did review the site plan, made some suggestions and decided that this was the most feasible plan.  When the application was made for the transit building DPW looked at the employee base and realized that DCS had either maxed out or may be beginning to exceed their allotment of parking on the site.

Mr. Collison told the Mayor and Council that they did have the certificate of publication from the Daily Banner that the Public Hearing tonight had been published on the 7th and 14th of July.

Frank Herbert 101 Willis Street came to the podium.  Mr. Herbert wanted to know if DCS would move then the area would be zoned commercial he felt that this is what the citizens are concerned about.

Mr. Collison said that once a partial is rezoned it reminds zoned in that classification and any use within that classification could be built upon until it would be rezoned.

Commissioner Atkinson asked if the area that DCS is on is zoned commercial?  The whole complex is zoned commercial.  So Commissioner Atkinson said that if DCS moved that land would still be commercial.

Mr. Smith said that part of the property is zoned commercial and part of the land is residential.  Twenty some acres is still zoned residential.  Mr. Michael said that the total thirty acres is R-1 the 3 acres more or less that encompasses the sub division is C-2.

Commissioner Watkins said that the question was honest if the area is zoned C-1 and DCS moves out the area would stay commercial until someone would apply to change the area back to R-1 and that may not happen.

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously.

REPAIRS TO THE MUNICIPAL YACHT BASIN

Mr. Pritchett updated the Council on the repairs and a basic overview of the Municipal Yacht Basin.  As Mr. Pritchett reported at the last meeting he submitted on December 29, 1999 a detailed report on the Municipal Marina and the fact that it has become in need of an overhaul and repair.  

The report in its entirety encompasses the entire marina other then some of the finger pier structures.  Included is the re-sheeting of the entire exterior and interior, all new electrical and water services.  It was last bulk headed approximately 45 years on the interior and most of the outside and it is wooden.  There are wash out areas and areas that are closed to traffic, and would probably still remained close to traffic, but are unusable as service roads at this time.

The entire upgrade will run approximately $1.56 million dollars if it was all done at the same time.  Mr. Pritchett said that were asked to look at certain areas, such as doing it in phases but this doesn't seem feasible despite the fact that the money is a large amount.  The marina generates approximately $200,000 a year and has a net income is $120,000 based on that and whatever reasonable increase in slip fees could be.  Mr. Pritchett has written to other marinas to try and find out what the other marinas charge in slip rental fees but has not received a response as yet. 

It is becoming difficult to adequately secure boats, a finger pier has snapped when someone was walking on it because the under stringer was rotted.  These problems plus electrical failures are consistently.  Power is being lost in the middle of the night when air conditioners come on, food in the refrigerators have been ruined.  The Department of Public Works has been asked to reimburse on those parts. 

The problems are becoming a maintenance nightmare and they aren't going to go away.  The problems are accelerating now that the washout has started and that will sooner or later lead to dredging of the basin, which should definitely try to avoid. 

The Mayor asked if any member of Council had any questions?

Commissioner Atkinson asked if there was money spent in the seventies on the marina?  Mr. Pritchett said that there was some work done.  Commissioner Atkinson asked if part of the work in the seventies was for rewiring.  Mr. Pritchett said that he wasn't sure about the rewiring he knows that money was spent in the last six years in the key area and bulk heading that.  Mr. Pritchett said that he knows that all the terminals are corroded, as are the lines.

Even if the rewiring was done that would make this wiring almost thirty years old and with the salt environment corrosion would have occurred.

Mr. Pritchett stated that the exterior work could be done at a bulk heading company's own time frame.  The interior they would like to start in late fall, through winter and early spring when the boats are mostly out of the water or they could be shuffled easier. 

Commissioner Bohlen wanted to know if there were any State or Federal programs in place such as transportation money or any other projects that might help with funding the marina.

Mr. Pritchett said that they have checked with the Department of Natural Resources.  Mr. Pritchett can't say that they have exhausted every possible funding source, but with the marina being self-sustaining and a profit generating revenue, everyone that Mr. Pritchett has talked to feels that the marina would not fall under any grant money or low interest loans.   The pumping station was funded by the DNR.

Commissioner Atkinson asked what division of the DNR did Mr. Pritchett talk too?  Mr. Pritchett talked to the waterway division.  Commissioner Atkinson said that years ago the waterway division of the DNR provided the city money for Great Marsh and boat ramps.  Mr. Pritchett said they have already gone to the DNR for two more grants for the upgrade of Great Marsh and also for the breakwater project at Great Marsh both of these grants have been procured.  

The Mayor then asked if there were any questions from the audience at this time

Ann Strauss 17 Algonquin Road came to the podium. She read a letter that detailed her concerns about the Municipal Yacht Basin. Mayor Rippons asked if Mr. Pritchett would like to address any of Mrs. Strauss' concerns.

Mr. Pritchett said that many of the structural issues had been discussed before the complaint came forward.   Mr. Pritchett did meet with some of the slip holders of the Yacht Basin and discussed some of the same concerns. There was a problem inside the municipal building with the dumping of port a potty's.  Rotor Rooter would need to come in to pump out the bathrooms following people dumping the port a potty's .The DNR backed DPW since they funded the pump out station.  The DNR told DPW that they did not have to allow the dumping of the port a potty's.  Mr. Pritchett stopped the dumping it was not the dock master.  Mr. Pritchett said that they would try to find something temporarily until they get the new pump out working.

Mayor Rippons told Mrs. Strauss that the people she sees before her have only been here a week and there is no way that this Council can tell her what has transpired over the last thirty years.  If she feels that past Council might have been remised in the maintenance duties, the Council that sits before them has already developed a plan and the plan that Council has developed will be available at City Hall and is opened to the public.

Mayor Rippons said that a decision has been made to ask citizens to serve on Marina and Waterfront Committee.  The Mayor said that any citizen may call City Hall and leave their name and address if they wish to be a member of this committee.

Commissioner Weldon spoke on the Marina and Waterfront Committee. He knows that this has been a bone of contention for a number of years. Commissioner Weldon with Council approval wants to establish a working committee to develop a clear vision for the redevelopment and economic revitalization of the Choptank River Waterfront and Cambridge Creek Waterfront.

The committee would compose of volunteers from the community, businesses, organizations, and the residential areas along the water, watermen, and other segments impacted by the area.  The Commissioner may also want to make appointments to the committee.  Commissioner Weldon went over some of the major points of the marina plan.  Commissioner Weldon is anticipating that this committee will be established within a month or so and will start to address some of the concerns of the marina.

Mayor Rippons said that this Council is pro active and Commissioner Weldon will have his preliminary workout on the committee by this Friday, so that it may be discussed next week.  This preliminary workout will be available at City Hall.

Sherry Herbert 101 Willis Street came to the podium.  Ms. Herbert said that she and her husband have been trying to get the Marina repaired since they moved here.  She applauded every effort that the Mayor and Commissioners are doing to upgrade the marina. 

Ms. Herbert suggested using the people who pay for the slips at the marina and work with them; there are many people who keep their boats there all year and stay in the water.  While you have active members here for the summer this might be the time to have a meeting with those boat owners to find out the best feasible way to move the boats to other slips for the winter when the work starts.  There is always an issue who has the right to move someone's boat. 

Mr. Pritchett has talked to an electrical contractor and in so many words they are archaic in their amperage.  Also, the slip widths are not correct by today's boats their beams are wider.

Mrs. Herbert reminded everyone that the sailboats would not be able to get to the Hyatt Marina they will all have to come to the Municipal Yacht Basin.  There is a wonderful opportunity for Cambridge.

Commissioner Bohlen asked Mr. Pritchett if it is his belief that this project will be straightforward and not completed in phases.  Commissioner Bohlen asked for a timeline if the work was started in October when the bulk of the boats would be pulled.  Mr. Pritchett had a meeting with one of the contractors that does bulk heading and they said they could work around the boats very well, their suggestion was that it is straightforward it is a little longer then the six months Mr. Hyde is suggesting a year.  It still would be six months on the interior work.  The interior work would have to be late fall or early spring and do the exterior when the boating season is going on. 

The Mayor asked Mr. Pritchett to give the dock master the information on the marina committee and have him post the information for the boaters. 

APPROVE PROCLAMATION FOR NATIONAL NIGHT OUT

Mr. Kinnamon read the proclamation for National Night Out 2000.  The Mayor signed the proclamation.

Sgt. Patrick Doyle came to the podium he thanked the Mayor for signing the proclamation.  Sgt. Doyle spoke on National Night Out, which is an annual event held the first Tuesday night in August, and this is the seventeenth annual National Night Out.  This year there will be a block party as they have had for the last six years.

This block party will be held at the Pine Street sub station.  Sgt. Doyle made two requests for National Night Out the first was to block off Pine Street from Cedar Street to Cross Street and to be permitted a noise variance from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to permit both of Sgt. Doyle's requests Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously.   

SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR BERMAN DATABASE

The Mayor discussed a letter that was received requesting a special use permit from Ron Berman to operate Berman Database out of his home.  The Mayor asked to have his request forwarded to Planning and Zoning. 

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to send Mr. Berman's request to Planning and Zoning.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously.

APPROVE FINANCIAL STATEMENT FOR JUNE

The Mayor explained that there had been complications with the computer system and the statement would come back at a later date.

APPROVE BUDGET EXPENDITURES OVER $2,5000

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve all the budget expenditures over $2500.  Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion.  Motion was carried unanimously.

Commissioner Atkinson questioned the tents for the Seafood Feast-I-Val he wanted to know if that came out of this year's budget or last years?  Mr. Kinnamon said that this is a special arrangement, the prior Council had authorized a $10,000 up front or advanced money in the form of a loan that will be repaid out of the profits.  Anything that is disbursed through the city does require a purchase order.

The motion was carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THE ODEN WHEELER

Mr. Wheeler has a personnel matter that he spoke with Council in executive session last week.  The meeting has been scheduled for July 31st at 6:00 p.m. and he asked Council to establish an executive session for that evening. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to hold an executive session at the time Mr. Wheeler indicated.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. 

Mr. Collison said that would be to consider a grievance.  The motion was carried unanimously.

Mr. Wheeler attended a session in March concerning parliamentary procedures for opening meetings.  Mr. Wheeler thought that Council may want to consider this session for the Department Heads, committees and may consider opening this to the public, there is no charge for this session.  Mr. Richard Hilman teaches this course he would be able to do an afternoon session on Friday, September 15th and a morning session on Saturday, September 16th this a 2 to 2 ½ hour session. 

The Mayor made a point of information that there will be new committee members on several of the committees.  The Mayor felt the sooner we can get them oriented the better and there have been questions from the floor about parliamentary procedures from out citizens.

The Mayor asked the Council to consider this and there will be discussion and a timeframe needed by the next meeting.

COMMENTS FROM DPW

Mr. Pritchett said that over the next several weeks the Council and the citizens would properly see some people from the Department of Corrections being utilized on the streets.  They mainly will be removing grass and performing manual labor.    They will be supervised and this will help DPW stay on schedule for the upcoming paving schedule. 

COMMENT FROM THE CLERK-TREASURER

Mr. Kinnamon had one building permit application from the Cambridge Wesleyan Church of 801 Race Street for New Family Life Center cost of improvements $250,000. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the building permit.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously.

Mr. Kinnamon discussed the updated travel policy that was in the Council's books.  Commissioner Atkinson assisted on this travel policy.  Mr. Kinnamon asked for adoption at a future meeting and anyone who wished to look at the proposed travel policy may come to Mr. Kinnamon's office where it is kept. Commissioner Weldon commented on item#5 concerning out of state travel.  Commissioner Weldon would like the wording changed to include long distance in state travel. The Mayor said that this is a rough draft and we will have discussions before this policy is voted on. 

Mr. Kinnamon had passed out a proposed revision to establish a Police Board.  This proposed ordinance should be voted on at the August 7th meeting. 

COMMENTS FROM THE FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Atkinson asked Commissioner Watkins since he is on the Traffic and Safety Committee what is the possibility of the blinking red light on the corner of Gay and Spring becoming a stop light.  Commissioner Watkins said that he doesn't see a problem of having it made a stop light.  Commissioner Watkins would make the suggestion at the next Traffic and Safety meeting.

COMMENTS FROM THE MAYOR

The Mayor received a request from a Housing Development that had visited the old Council and A&S Development has requested to come before the new Council so they may present their proposal.

The Mayor continued by saying that on the front page of the Banner the Cambridge Classic was covered.  The Mayor gave a brochure to each Commissioner from the Classic.  The Mayor said that part of this job is to be ambassadors for the City and he hopes that the Commissioners would use these opportunities to meet people.  There were racers from as far as California and had never been on the East Coast.   

The Mayor said that this Classic will be back next year and he would like to see the City of Cambridge place more emphasizes on this next year. 

The Mayor then asked Mr. Collison to explain the Executive Session that was held March 20, 2000.

Mr. Collison said that the previous Council had decided to make inactive the Grants Administrators position and to reassign the Grants Administrator to the Executive Secretary who had given Mr. Kinnamon her notice.  The Council may need to reconsider this at this time because the grants program needs someone to be designated as a Grants Administrator.  Mr. Collison asked that Council rescind the decision to make the Grants Administrator inactive as well as the Executive Secretary position and transfer that individual.  The Mayor asked Council to rescind the motion that was done on March 20th at the Executive Session by the prior Council.  The Mayor also requested that a motion be made to adjourn into an Executive Session to discuss another issue that was brought up that evening and also for the purpose of considering a classification designation and compensation package for an employee. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to go into Executive Session immediately following the meeting. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion was carried unanimously.

The Mayor passed out a packet to the Council concerning a situation that arose with the Empowerment Center.  The City of Cambridge is the granting agency for the CBDG grant and also the state funding in the amount of $340,000.  The Mayor explained that he found expenditures that were not adopted in any written form and in essence our Clerk -Treasurer was told to set up this account.  Basically what happened was that the Pine Street Committee had requested that the city front $10,000.  When the Mayor asked Mr. Kinnamon for documentation, Mr. Kinnamon said that there was no written documentation.  Mayor Rippons was told by a source that it was not a loan that the $10,000 was part of what the city was contributing.  According to the minutes from November 10, 1997 the Pine Street Committee has a loan from the city until the grants are approved.  There was also for this Committee setup a segregated account with the city and that was established in essence to fund a place where donations for the Pine Street Committee could be placed until they had everything in place so that they could receive the funds.  One of the checks that was placed in that account was to the City of Cambridge in the amount of $19,500 for the paving project at the Liberty Village Empowerment Center. 

On July 12th the Clerk-Treasurer received a letter from the previous Finance Chairman directing Mr. Kinnamon to issue a check for the balance of the Pine Street Revitalization savings account to the treasurer of the Pine Street Committee.  

The Mayor has a problem when the Finance Chairman makes this request to our Clerk-Treasurer asking him to close this account and release these funds knowing that the money for the paving project was in that account.

The Mayor had a meeting with Mr. Rob Collison last Friday and there is a letter in their packet that the City of Cambridge is asking for that money to come back.  The Mayor spoke with Mrs. Saunders today and she stipulated that on August 7th this committee will be holding a meeting and that the check will be returned. 

The Mayor wanted Council to be aware that the "old" Council had loaned $10,000 for the Empowerment Center.  The amount of $5,576 has been paid out by the Treasurer.

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion that the Council should go into executive session and discuss how this matter will be handled.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  The Mayor asked for Mr. Collison's opinion.  Mr. Collison felt that executive session would be needed if they are going to talk about specific personnel.  The Mayor was asking Council their opinion on collection procedures for the money that is due the city.  Mr. Collison suggested that this discussion be tabled for a week so that if there is any information that Commissioner Watkins can locate and address this next week.  Possibly Mrs. Saunders could produce any documentation that she might have.  The decision was to postpone the discussion until next week.  Mrs. Saunders offered to have herself, Mr. Daniel Swafford and Mr. Walter Vickers meet with the Mayor in his office to listen to their side.  The Mayor asked Council if there was any objection to him having this meeting.

Commissioner Weldon moved to rescind the motion to go into executive session and postpone any action on this matter until next week.  Commissioner Atkinson seconded both motions.  The motions were carried unanimously.

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion that individuals authorized to dispense money from the Treasury of the City only dispense the money under the following circumstances:

  • The funds have been approved and encumbered in the budget and funds are available within that particular account.
  • Any unencumbered funds must be approved by the Council not any individual.

Commissioner Watkins asked Commissioner Atkinson to put his motion in writing for the books on Friday, the entire Council agreed.

COMMENTS FROM THE THIRD WARD

Commissioner Weldon said that he spent time at the Cambridge Classic this past weekend and what a great event.  Commissioner Weldon would start work on the

Marina and Waterfront Affairs Committee report.

COMMENTS FROM THE SECOND WARD

Commissioner Watkins said that he attended the boat races also, and he enjoyed seeing the races and seeing the citizens enjoying themselves.  He felt that it was a good affair and good for the city. 

Commissioner Watkins said that we have indicated that "Company is Coming" and we need to be ready in all areas for when company comes.  Commissioner Watkins said that in his ward and other wards there are some houses that are in desperate need of repair.  We need a plan to bring the houses up to good repair and provide affordable housing for people to rent.  Also, we need to find a way to help citizens become homeowners because homeowners make better citizens.

COMMENTS FROM THE FIRST WARD

Commissioner Bohlen said that he also went to the boat races and enjoyed himself. He felt the powerboat association did a fantastic job.  Commissioner Bohlen congratulated the Police Department on a job well done with the boat races.

Commissioner Bohlen said that the Preservation Commission met on Thursday and Commissioner Bohlen said he would be stepping down from his seat as vice chairman but will continue on as liaison to that commission. 

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM THE THIRD WARD

Commissioner Weldon said that for the past two and half years he has been serving on the Dorchester County Heritage Tourism Advisory Committee. The City of Cambridge has two people elected to that body, one being an elected official and one being appointed by the Commission.  Commissioner Weldon is going to ask Dr. Flowers to reappoint someone to his seat and ask the city to allow him to serve on behalf of the City Commissioners.

Commissioner Atkinson made a motion that the city allows Commissioner Weldon to serve as the city's representative to the position above.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THE CITY ATTORNEY

Mr. Collison gave everyone notice that the public hearing scheduled for July 31, 2000 regarding the sign ordinance had to be postponed. The public hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. on August 7th.  There was a mix up with the advertising in the Banner. There are copies of the proposed sign ordinance at City Hall and also the Department of Public Works.

Mr. Collison discussed the information that Mr. Kinnamon had in the books in reference to personal property tax abatement.  A problem has arisen with some of the businesses in the city and it is causing a hardship for some of the businesses. 

The law states that we need to rely on the State Tax Assessment Office. The State Assessment Office only keep records for three years, we have some city businesses that have back taxes for seven years, which we are able to collect.  There is no information from the years 4 through 7.   What the assessment office does if there has been no personal property return filed they triple the assessment.   Mr. Kinnamon said that he found out today that it is a 25% increase over the previous year's assessment, over each year you ignore. 

The county has adopted a policy that if the taxpayer brings in the last three record years they will take the highest amount and apply that amount to the prior years that they have no record for.  Mr. Collison asked the Council to consider doing the same.

Mr. Kinnamon said that we would collect interest based on that figure going back seven years.  Mr. Kinnamon had received a payment from a business owner on his back taxes.

Commissioner Weldon made a motion to accept the check that Mr. Kinnamon had for payment in full for that obligation.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to establish this as the procedure for reviewing future cases. Commissioner Atkinson seconded both motions.  The motion was carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Portia Johnson 700 Cornish Drive came to the podium.  Ms. Johnson spoke about the celebration that was given Palestine Elliott, Sr. on July 22,2000.  Ms. Johnson said that the Mr. Elliott was doing community service from his first day as a police officer. 

The Mayor did not know of the celebration for Mr. Elliott but asked if a proclamation should be drawn up for Mr. Elliott.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion that a proclamation be drawn up and signed by the Mayor.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously. 

Tony Thomas 109 West End Avenue came to the podium.  Mr. Thomas said that Poplar and Race Street needs some work, there are some buildings that are still boarded up.  He would like the owners to be informed to clean the area up since "Company is Coming."  Mr. Thomas said that Officer Elliott did a wonderful job on Race Street.  Mr. Thomas asked did the boy scouts quit the park because it is not finished.  He would like Council to consider placing parking signs directing the public to the public parking.  Mr. Thomas suggested that banners be hung from the street lights and maybe consider painting the streetlights.

Mr. Tolley came to the podium.  Mr. Tolley is very impressed with the new Mayor and Council.  Mr. Tolley said Race Street needs more policing, and have the illegal activity that occurs on Race Street disbanded. If Race Street is made to feel like a safe area the public will come to shop. He said that he does want to join the ARC.  Mr. Tolley requested more police officers for the Race Street area.   Mr. Tolley said that we need representation from each ward on the Police Board.

Ray Shelly 315 Somerset Avenue came to the podium.  Mr. Shelly congratulated the Mayor and Council and offered his assistance to the Council.   Mr. Shelly said that he feels like he didn't lose he has made new friends, found out he had friends, and he learned a lot and that is a win-win situation.  Mr. Shelly mentioned parliamentary procedures and asked the Council to consider taking the session on that Mr. Wheeler presented as soon as they can so everyone could learn proper procedure. 

Portia Johnson 700 Cornish Drive returned to the podium to ask Commissioner Atkinson if his suggestion about the disbursement of funds should be a procedure?  Mr. Collison said that he would be meeting with the Commissioner to write a Standard Operating Procedure.

Commissioner Weldon made a motion to go into executive session to consider a classified designation and compensation of an employee.  Commissioner Atkinson seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously. 

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned the meeting at 9:25 p.m.

I hereby certify that the forgoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, July 24, 2000 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer