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City Council Minutes

July 26, 1999
 

July 26, 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. Saunders, Rice, Swafford and Vickers.

Mr. Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.

Commissioner Watkins moved to approve the minutes of the July 12th City Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Rice abstaining.

BID OPENING FOR REFUSE REMOVAL (CONTRACT #99-06)

Mr. Kinnamon proceeded to open the following bids:

1) Waste Management
    Cambridge, MD

 

$7,924.00

2) BFI
    Delmar, MD

 

$4,171.60

3) Peninsula Waste Systems
    Queenstown, MD

 

$10,844.65

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to refer the bids to the Department of Public Works for review; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

BID OPENING FOR CONCRETE OVERLAY FOR EXISTING PARKING LOTS (CONTRACT #99-05)

1) 1 A Construction Corp.
     Delmar, MD

 

$75,750.00

2) P & A Engineering
    Delmar, DE

 

$62,988.00

3) Jenstar, Inc.
     Subsidiary of LaFarge, Corp.
     Towson, MD

 

$76,725.00

4) Eastern Shore Paving, Inc.
     East New Market, MD

 

$65,250.00

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to refer the bids to the Department of Public Works for review; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

BID OPENING FOR ZONING REGULATIONS UPDATE

1) Chesapeake Group Inc.
     Baltimore, MD

 

$37,000.00

2) Redmon, Johnson & Associates
     Easton, MD

 

$43,260.00
$32,200.00

3) Environmental Resources Management
     Annapolis, MD

 

$46,000.00

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to refer the bids to the Department of Public Works to be reviewed by them and the City Attorney and report back to Council; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FOR "NATIONAL NIGHT OUT"

Sergeant Doyle, as representative from the Police Department, came to the podium with two requests for "National Night Out". The first is to block off Pine Street from Cross Street to Cedar Street and secondly, request a variance from the noise ordinance for August 3rd from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for the 16th annual National Night Out.

National Night Out is the Police Department's way to build a rapport with the community and also show the community some of the ways that the Police Department tries to prevent crime in our City.

Comissioner Watkins moved to grant their requests; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Watkins then moved to authorize the Mayor to sign the proclamation declaring Tuesday, August 3, 1999 as "National Night Out". Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and it carried unanimously.

Mr. Kinnamon proceeded to read the proclamation aloud.

Sergeant Doyle then extended an invitation to the Mayor, City Council and the community to the event.

CLARENCE JOHNSON - SPECIAL USE PERMIT - PRODUCE STAND

Mr. Collison said this is a request for reconsideration of Mr. Johnson's special use permit. Several weeks back, there was a denial of his original request. After speaking with Mr. Johnson's attorney, Mr. Collison advised they have two options ... the decision could be appealed to the Circuit Court or they could reapply, have it referred to Planning and Zoning and then schedule a public hearing.

Mr. Grason Eckel, attorney representing Clarence and Anna Johnson, came forward. He asked if the Mayor and Council could, as a courtesy, "fast track" this since the Johnsons have lost considerable income. They are an elderly couple who have been in business for eighteen years and, unless there is a health or safety issue that changed circumstances, he feels they should be given their permit back so they can supplement their income.

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to refer this matter to the Planning and Zoning Commission with the stipulation that the City Attorney be authorized to advertise for the public hearing immediately; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. At Mr. Collison's suggestion, Commissioner Watkins amended his motion to waive the normal two week period for referral to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Commissioner Vickers seconded the amended motion and it carried 3 to 0 with Commissioner Swafford and Commissioner Saunders abstaining.

Mr. Collison stated that this request would be heard by the Planning and Zoning Commission at their August 3rd meeting (7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers). There will be an advertising in the newspaper for the public hearing to be scheduled for Monday, August 16th at 6:00 p.m. If anyone is interested in testifying, they would need to come to the public hearing. Comments could be submitted in writing to the Council prior to the public hearing if anyone is unable to attend.

Mayor Wooten went on record stating that "although I don't have a vote on this, I'm going to say I'm in favor of Mr. Johnson's application."

DECISION ON GENERATORS FOR WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT

Commissioner Vickers made a motion to move forward with the design and purchase of these generators; seconded by Commissioner Saunders.

Mr. Kinnamon stated, as Mr. Pritchett had said earlier, this is part of the upgrade for the biological nutrient removal (BNR) at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Since this is a large expenditure, Council has, through the budget process for fiscal year 2000, set up a line in the budget to request funding through the Maryland Department of the Environment for a low interest bond loan. In the beginning, the City will have to make some initial short term loans, but in the long run, they will be applying for the bond money.

Motion then carried unanimously.

DECISION ON DREDGING THE SHELLFISH PROTECTION POND

Mr. Pritchett said that Stearns & Wheler has contacted the City Engineer emphasizing the urgency of doing the sludge removal. This is optional to some degree in that it doesn't affect the engineering status of the plant as much as some of the other items. However, they do not consider that in the overall operation of the plant, once it goes on line, that it would be optional not to dredge the sludge down because of the water coverage over the top of the existing sludge. There will not be enough water to keep down the odor. The cost would be a total of one million one hundred and four thousand dollars for total sludge removal. The new plant design doesn't have any new sludge going into the shellfish protection pond.

Commissioner Rice made a motion to move forward with the dredging of the shellfish protection pond; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

DECISION ON KEEPING THE WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT AT 8.1 MILLION GALLONS PER DAY

Mr. Pritchett advised that currently the plant is at 8.1 MGD and it has been that way since it was renovated and built in 1972/1974. The option was given to partially reduce it and save some money down to a 6.3 MGD plant. With all the numbers in and the design being approximately 75 to 80 percent currently, we are to the point where we know to go from 6.3 MGD and maintain the 8.1 MGD status, it would be the City's cost of $600,000. to add the extra 1.8 million gallons per day capacity.

There are two things to consider very strongly here:

1) figured out per million gallons, that's a very low cost to get that increased amount;

2) there is no guarantee in the future, as these permits are getting much more difficult to procure, that we would be able to get the permit in the future if needed due to an industrial park building or increased housing.

In response to Commissioner Rice's question, Mr. Pritchett advised that right now we are averaging between 3.5 and 4.6 MGD.

Commissioner Vickers made a motion that this be kept at 8.1 MGD; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Commissioner Swafford said this would be a drawing card for future industries, "one of the things they do look for is capacity whether it be water or sewer... 11 Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE FINANCIAL STATEMENT FOR JUNE, 1999 (ASOP #10)

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve the Financial Report through June, 1999; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Swafford said, "it looks real good-. The Department Heads have done an excellent job." Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSSION OF INVENTORY TAX REDUCTION

Commissioner Saunders said that Council has received information from Mr. Kinnamon that he had obtained from the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. He has also given Council a breakdown of income received over the last few years. A motion was then made by Commissioner Saunders to begin work to institute the reduction of the City's inventory tax beginning July 1, 2000. motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders stated that all the information would need to be in by the beginning of the year, and effective July 1, 2000 the inventory tax will be reduced over a period of six years.

Mayor Wooten said this is a good progressive move on the part of the Council and "I'm certainly pleased with that."

APPROVAL OF NEW TIME SHEETS

Commissioner Saunders stated that after the Department Head meeting, it was decided for more accountability, that a time sheet be developed for Department Heads. The City Attorney has reviewed it but asked that they not be used until he adds a certified signature clause. Commissioner Saunders then made a motion, pending the City Attorney adding that clause, that beginning the first working day of August, Department Heads (with the exception of the Police Department because all of their time is kept by computers) will begin to use the time sheets; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COUNCIL TO APPROVE SECURING LOAN FOR FIRE TRUCK

Mr. Kinnamon advised that at budget time, Council had approved a line item in the fire company's budget for one half the cost of a new fire truck. He asked that Council authorize him to obtain the loan in the amount of $110,000.

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to authorize the Clerk-Treasurer to secure the $110,000 loan; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSSION OF ETHICS COMMISSION

Commissioner Saunders stated that, as one of her assignments, she has read through the City Charter and the Ethics Code. She has received information from six different municipalities regarding their code and she is in the process of going through each one to give written suggestions to the Mayor and Council for review with the City Attorney.

She then requested that this item be put on the August 9th agenda.

REQUEST TO SUBMIT R.F.P. FOR EMPOWERMENT CENTER

Commissioner Saunders advised that the City has received a letter for the release of funds from DHCD. She then made a motion to go forward with advertising for the permits for the Empowerment Center. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM YMCA TO ASSIST IN CLEANUP

Mr. Pritchett advised that he had received a request to assist in the cleanup where they dug for the pool. The City would not have a use for the dirt since it is full of rocks. He said that the City could assist in the cleanup but it is "beyond our scope to handle all of it at this time." If a meeting could be scheduled with them to see exactly how many tons there are, the City could offer to do a certain percentage of it. Commissioner Swafford asked if there were any other alternatives that the City could offer because he doesn't want to neglect our taxpayers since Mr. Pritchett stated that there are many other projects going on that DPW is handling. Mr. Pritchett further stated that if the City does choose to assist, it would be on an "as can" basis.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that at this time "that we don't say no" but Council would take Mr. Pritchett's suggestion and let him get more information before Council makes a decision and place this back on the August 9th agenda. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and it carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO RESEARCH FOR FUNDING FOR NEW PICK UP TRUCK (DPW)

Mr. Pritchett advised that one of their trucks was taken out of service three years ago and it can't be put back on the road. Another one should be taken off the road very soon. He asked for a full size truck, if possible, since they carry a three man crew and heavy loads.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow Mr. Pritchett to work with the Finance Chairman and the Clerk-Treasurer to realign his budget and to move forward with putting together his bids for the pickup truck; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

MAYOR TO MAKE RE-APPOINTMENT TO THE HOUSING AUTHORITY BOARD

Mayor Wooten re-appointed Mr. Carlton Stanley to the Housing Authority Board. He feels Carlton has done an excellent job and has been a real progressive leader.

MAYOR TO MAKE APPOINTMENTS TO BOARD OF APPEALS

Mayor Wooten submitted the name of Ken Edgar to be appointed to the Board of Appeals.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to accept the Mayor's recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

The second name he submitted was Gordon McWilliams.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to appoint Mr. McWilliams to the Board of Appeals; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM TED BRAMBLE FOR SPECIAL USE PERMIT TO SERVE BEER AND WINE AT NEW RESTAURANT

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

REQUEST FROM TIMOTHY MOXEY FOR TEXT AMENDMENT RE: STORAGE OF SMALL PROPANE CYLINDERS FOR PURCHASE AND TRADE-IN

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to refer this request to the Planning and Zoning Commission; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Vickers stated that he personally does not feel that there should be propane tanks there since it is a residential area. Commissioner Saunders wanted to make sure that the Commission received all their information prior to this being heard by them. Without a waiver of the two week referral period, Mr. Collison stated that this would not be scheduled for their meeting until September. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve all expenditures over $250; seconded by Commissioner Vickers.

Commissioner Swafford said there was one particular one that he would like Mr. Kinnamon to highlight on... $157,619. Mr. Kinnamon advised this is associated with the optional design costs of the odor control (BNR) for the Wastewater Treatment Plant. This will be funded through the MDE once everything is in place.

Additional comments were made by Commissioner Swafford regarding capital expenditures that have been coming before Council. Many have to do with computers and support systems.

Normally these capital expenditures are not made until later in the year, but with the year 2000 coming up quickly, City departments need to have all this in place to be ready for the year 2000. motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO SUBMIT R.F.P. FOR DEMOLITION OF 700-712 RACE STREET

The first step towards construction of the new Public Safety Building would be the demolition of 700-712 Race Street.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion for Mr. Pritchett to proceed to advertise for bids; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS

Mr. Pritchett presented a building permit application for permit #2920 for Ken and Judy Edgar to build a residence at 2412 Canterbury Drive (off Jenkins Creek) for a total cost of $175,000. with a permit fee of $1,932.50.

Commissioner Rice made a motion that permission be granted; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Pritchett then mentioned some trouble being experienced at the Yacht Basin with vandalism and people boarding boats. The Police Department has been contacted for assistance and they offered to increase bike patrol in the area, especially in the pre-evening hours. He said they are working on a solution.

COMMENT FROM CLERK-TREASURER

A request was received to have the Traffic and Safety Committee look into the possibility of a traffic light at Maryland Avenue and Dorchester Avenue. Commissioner Rice moved to refer this to Traffic and Safety; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM MAYOR

Mayor Wooten shared a letter addressed to him and the City Council from Mr. Jack Gullo, Jr., MML President and Mayor of New Windsor, expressing his most sincere and deep appreciation for the assistance rendered by the City of Cambridge on July 21st when a group of MML officials, enroute to the lower Eastern Shore, experienced car problems in Cambridge. "The immediate assistance of Administrator Kinnamon, Chief of Police Wroten and then Sergeant Wayne Bromwell and Detective Mark Lewis made our dilemma much easier to handle."

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders said she has done much research on the family day care issue and has come up with six trains of thought that she would like typed up and given to the Mayor and Council for discussion so the City Attorney can advise.

1) What is the purpose of the City of Cambridge wanting to legislate in-home family day care.

2) What would the City's legislative intent be once we say why.

3) Uniformity with state rules and regulations. (She understands the City can extend their own rules and regulations; we just cannot displace or change any of theirs.)

4) Family day care provider self-declaration. (We would need some type of declaration that they would be the responsible party for the City's legislation that does not conflict with the State.)

5) Require registration and nominal fee City will need to track family day cares.

6) What will be the City's procedure if a license is suspended? How will the City know when a license is suspended?

Since the 120 day moratorium will be up soon, she would like this list submitted to Council for their thoughts and comments.

On another note, she advised that Patrolman Naham Perry has successfully completed his year's probationary period and passed the written examination for Patrolman First Class.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow this young man to move forward; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

She then advised that on July 28th at 6:00 p.m. at Cosby Avenue, Commissioner Swafford is treating the Cambridge Police Department's Summer Camp children to a cook out. The public is invited.

Commissioner Saunders publicly announced that in trying to keep with local labor, Hyatt, through their attorney, had personally sent a letter advising of the ad they placed in the paper to let people know they are hiring people and providing training. She thinks it is really great that they are being true to their word and are trying to hire local people.

Reference was then made to a memo from Kathy Foster, Grants Administrator regarding the listing the Local Management Board has in the Community Resource Directory. Commissioner Saunders made a motion that Ms. Foster should submit an update to the City Attorney so the Mayor and Council can look at it after Mr. Collison approves it. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then read a memo dated July 22nd from Dawn Windsor, Director of Cambridge Emergency medical Services regarding the County 911 Center being hit by lightning "and they had no way to alert any company for 911 calls." The Dispatch Supervisor advised the custodian at City Hall of this fact. Commissioner Saunders expressed her extreme concern and Commissioner Vickers feels, at least in his opinion, that a letter needs to be sent to Vernon Hurley, Dispatch Supervisor, with copies to the County Commissioners stating that in the future, when anything of this nature happens, the following people should be notified (Mr. Kinnamon could list the names in the letter) i.e., Ed Kinnamon, Fire Chief, Chief of Police, Mayor and Council.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that Council follow up on Commissioner Vickers suggestion and that a letter be sent under the Mayor's signature from the Mayor and Council be sent not only to Mr. Hurley and the 911 Director, but every County Commissioner to make sure there is a chain of contact; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM SECOND WARD

Commissioner Watkins advised that he has been on Council for thirty years and is not looking forward to thirty more ( possibly one or two ). He has seen many things come and go but the way the City is moving. now, he is more excited than he has ever been.

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

Commissioner Vickers mentioned that the power boat regatta is not this coming weekend even though records indicated this was the date originally requested. It has been changed to August 14th and 15th.

COMMENTS FROM CITY ATTORNEY

Mr. Collison presented the Findings of Fact on Linda Holliday's denial for a day care center at 410 Talbot Avenue for the Mayor's signature.

Commissioner Watkins moved that the Mayor be authorized to sign the Findings of Fact; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Swafford opposing.

On another note, Mr. Collison discussed a matter brought to Council two weeks ago by Doug Stoker regarding people blocking his access to his building on Maryland Avenue.

Last Friday, he and Chief Wroten visited the site and it was their recommendation that the City pursue selling this parcel of land. In the interim, Mr. Stoker was advised to post his property with "no parking" signs and advise motorists that if his doors are blocked, the vehicle will be towed.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that Mr. Pritchett work with the Commissioner of that Ward and the Chairman of City Properties to explore Attorney Collison's recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Ms. Portia Johnson, 700 Cornish Drive, came forward with reference to the gentleman selling produce on the corner of Washington and Race Streets. When he sold last year, his truck was closer to the building. This year he is closer to the sidewalk causing traffic tie ups and she feels a safety hazard.

MORE COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Mr. Gage Thomas was present on behalf of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce to thank Council for taking the action to eliminate the inventory tax. Commissioner Swafford stated that this tax is a 60% assessment and will be reduced 10% each year starting July 1, 2000. It will be totally eliminated by the end of the 6th year. He feels this will bring more businesses into the County.

Regarding the property next to Mr. Stoker's building, he thinks the City paid $166,000. for that strip of land for the specific purpose of relocating Trenton Street. He hopes good thought would be given to this before a decision to sell it is made.

Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Thomas when he was going to paint four corners. She feels as a representative of the Chamber and a business representative, "it's always good to be the example." He said the building didn't deteriorate overnight and he can't fix it overnight but he hopes to get the exterior painted before Christmas.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Mr. Milton Walls, 1007 Race Street came to the podium requesting permission to utilize a bullhorn to witness starting August 5th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Greenwood Avenue, Park Lane, Henry Street and Camellia Circle. The same time is requested for Fridays and on Saturdays from noon until 7:30 p.m. on Washington Street, Schoolhouse Lane, Race Street, Cedar Street and Pine Street. He hoped that Council would consider a three to 6 month trial.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to take this under advisement; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Swafford asked Mr. Walls if he could submit copies of his written request to Council. Motion carried unanimously.

With no further comments, meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, July 26, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

EDWIN C. KINNAMON CLERK-TREASURER