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City Council Minutes

March 1, 1999
 

March 1, 1999

The City Council met in regular session at 7:00 p.m. with Mayor David J. Wooten presiding.

Those Commissioners in attendance were: Commissioners Watkins, Rice, Saunders, Swafford and Vickers.

Mr. Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.

Mr. Collison advised that there was a closed Executive Session at 6:45 p.m. this evening for the Commissioners to discuss a specific personnel matter.

Commissioner Watkins then moved to approve the minutes of the February 22nd City Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

BID OPENINGS FOR GRASS CUTTER (CONTRACT #98-07)

Mr. Kinnamon proceeded to open and read the following bids:

1) Jones Implement - East New Market, MD

$13,500.00

2) E. S. Hubbard & Son - Cambridge, MD

13,194.00

3) Eastern Service Corporation - Cambridge, MD

14,080.00

4) Eastern Shore Tractor Co. - Accomac, VA

12,976.00

5) Cambridge Tractor - Cambridge, MD 21613

12,839.00

6) Talbot Lawn & Cycle - Easton, MD*

*

(* This bid was not opened since it was not received at City Hall prior to the 4:00 p.m. deadline of March 1st. Commissioner Swafford found it laying in Council Chambers when he arrived at 6:00 p.m. this evening.)

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to forward the bids to the Department of Public Works for evaluation. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

REQUEST FOR DINGHY RACK AT LONG WHARF MUNICIPAL MARINA

Mr. Keith Henry came forward representing the Eastern Shore Sailing Association as its current Commodore. Mr. Tim Furhman, Vice-Commodore was also with him. They were present to request Council's consideration of their proposal for the construction of a structure down at the marina.

Their club has approximately 50 plus paid up members, "many of which use the fine facility down here on the Choptank River." Dinghies are considered to be a very functional part of taking advantage of the waterfront. They are a life raft, when so needed, and they do allow boaters to get from land to their water bound vessel.

They are proposing to build a salt treated lumber, 24 slot, dinghy rack that would be positioned on the north end of the parking lot at the marina. He is willing to work with the City to come up with an acceptable plan. Tonight they are only asking for Council's consideration to proceed on the project.

He added that they would provide the labor to build the rack, but the structure would belong to the City and would be an asset to the marina. They would also be willing to sign any waivers that might be necessary to eliminate any liability that the City might incur due to volunteer labor working on this project.

Mr. Henry estimates that the lumber would cost in the vicinity of $500. with additional cost for the foundation. He feels the total cost would be under $1,000.

In response to Commissioner Swafford's question, Mr. Henry advised that currently some of the dinghies are kept on land, some are strapped across the bow of the boat and many are in the water tied to the boat.

Commissioner Rice stated that the City Attorney would need to look into the liability of having it on City property. It would also be necessary to look into DNR regulations since they are the ones who actually built the marina.

In agreement to Commissioner Saunders request, Commissioner Rice also felt that the proposal should be presented in writing, along with photographs of existing dinghy racks, so the Council could review it. Commissioner Saunders further stated that it would be a good idea to know the exact location , "so the public could know, then if they are going to complain if we do it, they can complain before it is done."

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to entertain the gentleman proceeding with the information Council asked for and coming back at a later date. The motion is to include that Council has the information at least a week before he is put back on the agenda. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and it carried unanimously.

RENDER A DECISION ON SYLVIA BROHAWN'S SPECIAL USE PERMIT

Mr. Collison advised that a public hearing was held last week following the approval of the ordinance which amended the zoning code to allow owner/occupied professional offices. Ms. Brohawn is proposing to open up a tax preparation/bookkeeping office at 311 Byrn Street.

Commissioner Watkins moved to authorize the Mayor to sign the Findings of Fact on this issue; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

In conjunction with this, Commissioner Watkins moved to authorize the Mayor to sign the Resolution; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGET AMENDMENT FOR DEPT. OF PUBLIC WORKS

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to ask Council to approve the Budget Amendment for the Department of Public Works; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVED BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to ask Council to approve the three budgeted expenditures over $250.; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM CITY ATTORNEY

Mr. Collison stated that last week a decision was made on the special use permit for New Earth Services. He then presented the Findings of Fact based on Council's discussions and deliberations. The decision was 5 to 0 to deny the permit.

Commissioner Watkins moved to authorize the Mayor to sign the Findings of Fact; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Collison then reminded everyone that tomorrow night, March 2nd, at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the only issue is the review and presentation by the Hyatt developers of the new zoning district, Planned Water Resort Development (PWRD). The public hearing before City Council is scheduled for March 15th at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers.

On another note, Mr. Collison advised that word was received from John Neubauer (attorney for Board of Appeals, Board of Zoning Appeals and the Housing Board of Review) that due to health reasons, he can not longer serve in this capacity. Mr. Collison has contacted other attorneys seeking a replacement and the law firm of Harrington, Harrington and Nabb is interested, but if Council wishes, it could be advertised.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to accept, with regret, Mr. Neubauer's resignation and to send him a letter of thanks; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Collison mentioned that there are not many local attorneys in private practice in this area of law currently. The firm of Harrington, Harrington and Nabb serve as similar attorneys on some zoning boards for the County and they have quite a bit of experience in that area.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion, at least from now until the new budget on July 1st, to entertain the firm that is willing to help; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

Commissioner Vickers failed to mention last week that the legal expenses incurred that the City has had to pay in reference to the sewer suit is now over $86,000.00.

COMMENTS FROM SECOND WARD

Commissioner Watkins mentioned the fine affair that Commissioner Saunders helped to put on for Black History this past Friday evening. He hopes that the City "continues to do such things in the future ... we did justice to ourselves."

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders thanked everyone for their support. They had approximately 300 people at the event.

She then mentioned that Ms. Deborah Camper needed to know if she was to send the list of proposed City demolition projects to the County as they requested.

Commissioner Rice feels that the County is interested in the list to the point that there may be consideration for waiving of fees at the landfill. If that's the case, "then I would certainly be more than happy to let them know how many we have." He further suggested that it may not be necessary to send her list but they should be advised of the number of properties with a total cost.

Commissioner Rice then made a motion to direct Ms. Camper to cooperate with the request from the County relative to number of units and total cost; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Commissioner Swafford felt that this would also be a way of helping the Assessment Office when the City does a demolition as far as assessing the property. With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders than made a motion, relative to the fireworks, that a letter be sent to the County asking for a donation. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

She then shared some good news that the Nations Bank from Baltimore has been pleased to inform that they have committed a challenge grant of $6,000. in support of the purchase of computers for the Liberty Village Empowerment Center.

A request was then made by Commissioner Saunders for Mr. Kinnamon to give either the Major or the Chief at CPD information she received regarding a grant that they may possibly be interested in.

The last item she discussed was the March 12th tour. She asked Council for approval of the agenda so Ms. Foster can forward it to Secretary Skinner and State officials involved. The agenda was then read aloud by Commissioner Saunders.

She made a motion for Council to approve the March 12th agenda; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

One more thing ... Commissioner Saunders said some people stated that the City would only let the Institute for Excellence put up so many signs for Black History month on Pine Street. She stated, "We didn't tell you where to put them and we didn't tell you how many." Mr. Andre Kane from the Institute for Excellence was present and confirmed, "you're absolutely right Commissioner Saunders."

COMMENTS FROM THE MAYOR

Mayor Wooten added to what Commissioner Watkins had said by stating, "the affair on Friday night was excellent and I was happy to be able to be there." He was also able to participate in the walk on Saturday and he appreciated the sentiment and the meaning that were behind both those affairs.

COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Swafford made a motion seeking permission from Council to explore the possibility of getting all of the health insurance to come due in July instead of October. It is difficult in preparing the budget the way it is currently set up. He feels this could be done and he would like to work with the City's Risk Manager on this issue. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Commissioner Rice stated that this issue was addressed last October and it was agreed then to do exactly what Commissioner Swafford has suggested. Motion then carried unanimously.

He then made a motion to recommend that the Traffic and Safety Committee review the "right turn on red" and "no right turn on red" signs within the City because "I think there are some that could be done away with." Motion was seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Commissioner Rice stated that he felt some of the "no right turn on red" signs were put up for pedestrian protection since there was quite a bit of pedestrian crossing in the downtown area.

Commissioner Vickers mentioned that since he is Chairman of this Committee, he will abstain from voting on it but he has no problem with them reviewing this. He then suggested that Mr. Kinnamon address a memo to the Committee to look into this. Motion then carried 4 to 0 with Commissioner Vickers abstaining.

A motion was made by Commissioner Swafford to have an answering machine at City Hall to handle calls after office hours; seconded by Commissioner Saunders for discussion. She feels that Commissioner Swafford's suggestion to have a recorded message to refer people to other departments to handle problems is a good idea but she doesn't understand how this could be done. He suggested that people be referred to the Police Department and then they could contact the individual Department Heads who need to be contacted. He stated that M.U.C. has a more detailed message on their machine.

In reply to Commissioner Saunders's question regarding the cost, Commissioner Swafford advised it could be absorbed in the office supplies budget. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM CLERK-TREASURER

Mr. Kinnamon referenced a letter from SNAP (Spay Neuter All Pets). They requested permission to set up a mobile veterinary clinic in a highly visible area of town to organize a free "Neuter Day".

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to find out what they need; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS

Mr. Pritchett referenced his memo regarding amendments to the Combined Sewer Overflow Project which are a result of the final Consent Order with MDE.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow Mr. Pritchett to move forward with the proviso that Mr. Vickers is kept appraised so he can keep Council appraised. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice. Commissioner Swafford requested that Mr. Pritchett keep him informed as to the cost.

Commissioner Rice said the part about this that irritates him is the fact that the City is doing what they said they were going to do. "We have gone all around to deal with a few people's egos ... wound up costing the taxpayers money ... and we're doing the same thing we were going to do to begin with." Motion then carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Mr. Dominick Vigneri, 920 Roslyn Avenue came to the podium to see if Council has any update on the noise ordinance as it pertains to practice sessions with the band he is in.

Mr. Collison advised that he had discussed the matter with Chief Wroten and when the ordinance was passed (approximately 5 years ago), consideration was given to the type of ordinance that had been proposed by the band with a noise meter. Chief Wroten said there was a cost factor and other factors which led the Council to adopt the ordinance which it did. Ocean City has a similar ordinance to the one that Cambridge currently has. It has been upheld on challenge on appeals.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to leave the noise ordinance stand as is for the time being; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Commissioner Rice said he would still personally like to see a copy of the minutes when the ordinance was originally passed. Motion carried unanimously.

MORE COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Mr. Larry King, representing the Cambridge Institute for Excellence, came this evening to say "thank you" to the Mayor and Commissioners for their support with the events-this past weekend. He also extended a heartfelt thank you and appreciation for the responsiveness of the City Police.

He then made an apology to both the City as well as the individuals who were a part of this or who have previously sponsored banners. It certainly spoke true to the adage that when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. He then said they look forward to a better celebration next year.

Also, he addressed Commissioner Saunders for the record stating, "she was absolutely correct." Their request was to mount ten banners on Pine Street and the City left it to them as to where they would be mounted and Council gave them no limitations or ceilings as to how many they could or could not mount. Commissioner Rice stated that there was no need for an apology because "you can't drag people to it. You can only allow them to come and I will agree that the efforts that were made along this line over the last 7 years by you and your group do not need to be apologized for."

With no further comments, meeting adjourned at 8:09 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, March 1, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk-Treasurer