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City Council Minutes

August 2, 1999
 

August 2, 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 26th Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

TRAFFIC & SAFETY COMMITTEE REPORT

Commissioner Rice advised that this committee met to discuss issues referred by the City Council as follows:

Mount Olive Full Gospel Baptist Church / 601 Douglas Street - A request was received to designate two handicap parking spaces in front of the church on Douglas Street. The committee recently addressed this same concern with two other churches. As a result of meeting with the two other churches, a compromise was reached which granted the spaces as needed without permanently dedicating the requested spaces during times of no activity. This was accomplished by the church taking responsibility to place temporary signs where desired at an adequate time prior to the church services.

Commissioner Rice made a motion to accept the committee's recommendation to handle this situation the same as they have with other churches relative to handicap parking. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Saunders. She then withdrew her second of the motion since she is a member of Mount Olive Full Gospel Baptist Church. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion and it carried 4 to 0 with Commissioner Saunders abstaining.

Park Lane / "Slow, Children at Play" - Commissioner Rice advised, in reality, the recommendation from everybody (from the State down) is that these signs should no longer be posted because it gives a false sense of security to the neighborhood. A motion was then made by Commissioner Rice to accept the committee's recommendation to do nothing; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Commissioner Saunders said that she would like a letter sent to the woman who made the request advising why nothing is being done. Motion carried unanimously.

704 Pine Street / Jamuel C. Askins, Sr. - A request was received for a handicap parking space in front of this gentleman's home. The committee recommended that Mr. Askins' request be rejected as submitted due to the issue of requesting a private parking space. The committee would welcome a new request under the guidelines for which the committee could designate a space. Commissioner Rice asked that the decision be held off until next week since Chief Wroten is doing more research on state law to see where the City can go on this.

STREET LIGHTING COMMITTEE REPORT

Greater Mount Olive Full Gospel Baptist Church / 601 Douglas Street - A request was received to install a street light to facilitate safe travel to and from the Church from the parking lot. The committee recommended that the light be installed as requested and Commissioner Rice moved to accept their recommendation. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and carried 4 to 0 with Commissioner Saunders abstaining.

Commissioner Saunders asked if the intensity of the light could be increased as was done on Bethel Street and Commissioner Rice said having the light is not a problem but the increased wattage is another issue that would need to be discussed by the committee.

MILTON WALLS - REQUEST TO DO WITNESSING

Commissioner Saunders said she has a great problem with Mr. Walls' request for a period of three to six months to "spread the gospel" in the community. There are other ways that this young man can do this, i.e. use a tent or public park for a specific day.

She then made a motion to deny his request; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REVEREND DARYL RILEY - REQUEST TO HAVE A TENT REVIVAL

Bishop Riley came forward to request permission to have a tent revival on September 16th, 17th and 18th "to give the young people an alternative to going into troubled areas and getting into the Juvenile Justice System and having problems in the future." He also requested permission to have a "Tent Joy Night" on October 23rd at 504 Hubert Street (private property). They intend to have amplified music and would require a noise variance.

Commissioner Watkins moved to grant the request for the tent service on Hubert Street for September 16th, 17th and 18th with a noise variance from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and for October 23rd with a noise variance from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and it carried 4 to 0 with Commissioner Saunders abstaining (the request was made by a member of her family).

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

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to accept the recommendation made by the Department of Public Works to award the bid to the low bidder, P & A Engineering Company, Inc. in the amount of $62,985.00. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

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

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to award the bid to Waste Management of Cambridge, Inc. in the amount of $7,924.00, which was also the low bid; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSS MAILING PROCEDURES FOR HOUSING VIOLATIONS

Commissioner Saunders advised that when Ms. Camper was working on her budget for the Housing Department, she mentioned the possibility of the first mailings going out "regular mail" to cut down on costs since it is so costly to mail them "certified - return receipt requested". If people did not meet the time line on the notice of infraction, the next letter would go certified.

A motion was made by Commissioner Saunders to allow Ms. Camper to proceed; seconded by Commissioner Watkins who stated that "a majority of people respond to a first letter anyhow." Commissioner Vickers asked if the City Attorney had any comments. Mr. Collison advised satisfactory steps are in place because no legal action could be taken until after a certified mailing is sent. With no further comments, the motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then made a motion that Ms. Camper be allowed to start this procedure on September 1, 1999; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

APPOINT REPRESENTATIVES FOR THE ENTERPRISE ZONE CORE RESPONSE GROUP

Commissioner Saunders explained that currently Kathy Foster represents the City as Zone Administrator with this group along with Betty Causey from the County. Otto Cheesman, who is no longer a City Commissioner, needs to be replaced. Ted Brooks, C.P.A., said he would stay on. Al Shepard who represented the Chamber needs to also be replaced. This group meets about twice a year, when necessary.

A motion was then made by Commissioner Saunders to send a letter to Dr. Flowers asking that by the end of this month to have a County Commissioner and/or a designee representative on the Enterprise Zone Core Response Group; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

She then made another motion that the same type of letter be sent to the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Ricky Travers, asking for at least two qualified persons by the end of the month who have businesses within the local community. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

Another motion was made by Commissioner Saunders to put this on the next Council agenda to leave it up to Council as to whoever would like to accept the appointment as designee from the City. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

Mr. Kinnamon was asked to have Ms. Foster send out the letters.

APPROVE REAPPOINTMENTS TO THE HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

Since Armond Hayward's term has expired on this commissioner and he has expressed a desire to continue to serve, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to reappoint him to the Historic District Commission. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

Commissioner Vickers stated that Larry Bohlen is also interested in continuing to serve on this commission. A motion was made by Commissioner Vickers to nominate Mr. Bohlen for reappointment. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Saunders and it carried unanimously.

DISCUSSION OF AUDIT ON INSURANCE BILLS

Mr. Kinnamon said he is not ready to proceed with this at this time as he is trying to obtain additional information.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow Mr. Kinnamon time to get the paperwork together; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

MAKE APPOINTMENT TO THE COUNTY'S SOLID WASTE COMMITTEE

Commissioner Saunders stated that last week while on the bed and breakfast tour, Commissioner Flowers indicated to her that the City still does not have an appointment on the County's Solid Waste Committee.

She made a motion that this be put on the next agenda so an appointment can be made; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Rice stated that because of the impact that this particular committee could have on the City, he hoped that someone from Mr. Pritchett's office who knows what those costs are going to be and has an understanding of the manpower that it takes to get the job done be the designee from the City.

Commissioner Saunders amended her motion to put this on the next meeting agenda to have Mr. Pritchett decide who from his department could serve on this committee representing the City. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and it carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM THE MARYLAND DIVISION OF PAROLE AND PROBATION

Mr. Kinnamon advised that a request was received from Robert L. Hanson, Field Supervisor, of the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation to use the firehouse as an auxiliary site for the Cambridge Office of Parole and Probation in the event of a systems failure on 1/1/00.

Commissioner Rice hoped that this would be run by the Chief to find our what areas are available, if there is adequate space, need for additional phones, etc. He put his suggestions in the form of a motion and it was seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Commissioner Swafford said that if this gentleman has a major problem finding a location, he volunteered the use of his office at 420 Muir Street for the day, if it's big enough. Motion then carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO USE GREAT MARSH FOR THE BUDWEISER CAMBRIDGE CLASSIC POWER BOAT REGATTA

Commissioner Vickers stated that this is just a matter of paperwork to correct a situation. This was originally approved around Christmas for a July date but the date was changed to August 14 and 15th. A motion was then made by Commissioner Vickers to accept the change of their date based on the same terms of the previous date. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve all budgeted expenditures over $250 that are listed; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM CITY ATTORNEY

Mr. Collison reminded everyone that the advertisements are correct for the public hearings that are set for August 16th do begin at 6:00 p.m., not 7:00 p.m. The public hearings are for Clarence Johnson's produce stand and Kevan Sullivan's day care center.

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

Commissioner Vickers said, at his request, the City Attorney supplied changes for the City Code and the Employee Manual. He would like to see a "Super Majority" or 4/5ths vote required to terminate any department head. When Mr. Collison was researching this he also found that there needs to be some changes to the Employee Manual by adding new department heads that we now have.

A motion was then made by Commissioner Vickers to put this on the agenda for next week to be voted on; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Saunders asked the reason why the change to 4/5ths vote "instead of the 3 that has been going on ever since time began?" Commissioner Vickers stated that "just because we've done it for years doesn't necessarily mean that it is right." He personally feels that it gives a little more security to the department heads.

Mr. Collison stated that the reason for the change is because department heads are non classified employees and technically, "you don't have to have reasons like you have those safeguards against a classified employee."

Commissioner Saunders added that the department heads work at the pleasure of the Mayor and Council as do all employees. Mr. Collison stated that department heads do not go through the grievance procedures that classified employees would go through because they are non classified employees.

Motion carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Saunders opposing.

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders addressed a letter received from County Administrator, Jane Baynard, regarding a meeting in executive session scheduled for August 3rd at 8:30 p.m. in Room 110 of the County Office Building to discuss the One Maryland Program. She asked Mr. Kinnamon to express her regrets to Ms. Baynard as she will be unable to attend.

Reference was then made to a "request to be absent" form that was in Council's books. The form included the number of. hours accumulated for vacation (equaling "x" number of days) as well as how much comp time this person had accumulated. Commissioner Saunders made a motion that this information be added to all the "request to be absent" forms for future use to keep Council appraised of who is off and when they are off. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and it carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then referenced a packet she had given to the Mayor and Commissioners regarding input she had received from employees and department heads as a result of employee work sessions that were held on July 19th and 20th.

She then made a motion to put this item on the agenda for the August 16th work session for discussion; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Swafford advised that he will be out of town on that date but plans to be at the work session by 7:00 p.m. Motion then carried unanimously.

Reference was made to a memo sent by Mr. Kinnamon to all departments with regards to tickets for Shorebirds ball games. He explained that the City has an opportunity to obtain tickets to pre-selected Shorebirds baseball games under a program called Merchant Night. The tickets are reduced in price to $3.50 each for general admission but the City must purchase 10 or more. If the City purchases 50 or more tickets, our group will be announced over the public address system and the City's name will appear in lights on the outfield scoreboard.

Currently, tickets are available for Sunday, August 8th with "The Blues Brothers" and for Saturday, August 28th which is "Fireworks Extravaganza". This would not cost the City anything as the employees purchase the tickets themselves.

On another note, Commissioner Saunders mentioned that she attended a class at the MML Convention in Ocean City on local government and ethics. After reading the current Charter, she obtained ethics ordinances from about six other municipalities on the Eastern Shore. Currently the ethics committee only consists of Mr. Kinnamon with the advice of the City Attorney. With the Council's and Mayor's permission, she passed all her information to the City Attorney for his review and recommendations.

Commissioner Saunders then mentioned "National Night Out" scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow evening and hoped to see everyone there.

COMMENTS FROM MAYOR WOOTEN

Mayor Wooten shared a letter he received from Governor Glendening advising that the City's request for Program Open Space Waterway Improvement Funds for the Franklin Street Boat Ramp timber sheeting in the amount of $25,000. was approved by the Maryland General Assembly for Fiscal Year 1999.

Another letter was received from the Secretary of the Department of the Environment informing the Mayor that the Board of Public Works approved a grant increase of $613,000 in Biological Nutrient Removal Funds for the Cambridge Wastewater Treatment Plant and a grant increase of $400,000 in Supplemental Assistance Funds for the Combined Sewer Separation Project.

COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Swafford referenced the clean-up scheduled for Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon on High Street. DPW has already painted the curbs.

On August 21st the Great Cambridge Cookout is to be held at Great Marsh Park from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

CLERK-TREASURER COMMENTS

In discussing the request from the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation earlier this evening there was a second request which was overlooked. They asked permission to park three state vehicles in the lot next to City Hall from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. to alleviate the problems they have recently experienced with the cutting of tires behind the District Court Building.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to grant their request; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Kinnamon said he had received a request from the Chamber of Commerce to hang a Seafood Feast-I-Val banner on Maryland Avenue near Burger King from August 6th through August 15th. Mr. Gage Thomas came to the podium stating that he had checked with Mr. Pritchett prior to tonight's meeting and he stated permission wasn't required in the past. Mr. Thomas felt it would be redundant to come to Council each time they put a banner up. In the past it has never been a problem. There could be a stipulation that it would not be up for any extended period of time.

Commissioner Rice said he has no problem with the request but wished they would allow other people to use that location as well. He then made a motion that permission be granted even though he thinks it is unnecessary; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Thomas asked if it was the understanding between the Chamber of Commerce and the Council that permission is not required each time. Commissioner Rice stated that permission was given to string the wire across the City street. The only regulation would be that the height requirements are maintained for traffic. Mr. Collison suggested that the minutes be researched to determine whether authority was given whenever they wished to hang the banner or was it contingent upon their advising Council each time.

COMMENTS FROM DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS

Mr. Pritchett referenced a memo he had given Council regarding Hughes Court off of High Street. The road is in extremely bad shape and Wall Church plans to access this road in order to do some renovations. He asked permission to increase the paving on that road, as cost efficiently .as possible. Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow Mr. Pritchett to move forward; seconded by Commissioner Swafford who said that more money was allowed for the parking lot paving than was awarded to the low bidder earlier this evening so the money could be taken from that area. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Pritchett advised that Dale Price will be attending the Growth Allocation meeting for the critical areas. They are asking to change the designation on the Eastern Shore Hospital grounds of 174.86 acres of land that is currently designated "limited development area" to "intentional development area". This has all been part of the plan from day one to allow the intense development that the Hyatt will be doing out on the property.

Mr. Pritchett said that we now have the Historic Committee and the City has had its first occasion to use it and have permits issued under it. He was very impressed how well it worked with the help of Armond Hayward.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Mr. C. L. Rippons of Cambridge came to the podium regarding the purchase of land for the new firehouse. He asked how long the search for a new location had been going on? Mr. Collison advised that it has been approximately 7 years. He then asked Commissioner Swafford how long ago he purchased the property in question and he responded, "sir, that's a matter of record."

Mr. Rippons then asked if he could get a copy of the written advisory opinion of the Ethics Commission as apportioned in the codified laws of Cambridge, 2-14 4(b). Mr. Collison said he could provide a response to that if Mr. Rippons would supply his address. He stated it was 101 Killarney Road.

He then asked how was the issue of 2-14 5(a) in the codified section answered? Mr. Rippons further stated that he had moved here last year and had no knowledge that the City was purchasing property from the Finance Chairman. He expressed that he feels this is a conflict of interest.

Mayor Wooten said that "we will answer everyquestion you have, but it is going to be done appropriately." Mr. Rippons then stated, "what's more appropriate than a public forum where citizens can ask questions." The Mayor then told Mr. Rippons that he would get everything he asked for when the City Attorney has it for him.

Mr. Collison advised that Council was negotiating to purchase the Delmarva Power & Light building from September, 1998 through March, 1999 for the new firehouse but the deal fell through.

He further stated that Bryon Johnson of the Star Democrat had requested that specifics of certain executive sessions be disclosed. Commissioner Saunders stated that in some of the minutes there were some personnel issues and if they were given what they were supposed to get, "that should be sufficient."

Mr. Rippons also requested a copy of the Environmental Impact Statement and "who did the appraisal when the Council predicated their amount for it." He stated these are simple questions that should be answered by the Mayor and Council.

Commissioner Saunders felt that these were not just simple questions..."you attacked." Shestated that Mr. Rippons started out very loudly "with accusation in your voice" and he was then asked to give the attorney everything he wanted in writing. Obviously, this is a legal issue and if he puts his questions in writing, the attorney is willing to give him everything he wants.

Mayor Wooten said that he, the Council and the City attorney were not prepared to answer some of the questions that were asked. The Mayor felt Mr. Rippons was being unreasonable since Council wants to make sure the correct information is given but some of the questions need to be researched.

Mr. Collison said if he could get from Mr. Rippons exactly what is needed, a time could be set up to disclose the information and answer any questions.

MORE COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Ms. Portia Johnson came forward to ask Commissioner Saunders a question regarding the 4/5ths vote that was discussed earlier this evening. "If they vote to have 4/5th of a vote and only 3 people are sitting, what happens?" Will that be clarified when the policy is rewritten? Mr. Collison said if there were only 3, it would not be enough to pass.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Mr. Milton Walls came forward regarding his request to do witnessing and asked if he would receive his noise variance in the mail. Commissioner Saunders said Council voted unanimously to deny his request. Commissioner Watkins indicated that Council might reconsider if Mr. Walls were to set up a tent in a specific area to have a meeting. Council does not feel it is appropriate for him to be going throughout the City to do his witnessing.

Commissioner Saunders feels there are other ways for ministering to be done. There is no problem with people going door to door but she did not find anyone she polled who was in agreement with using a bullhorn.

With no further comments, meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, August 2 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon