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City Council Minutes

November 15, 1999

Cambridge, Md.

The City Council met in a work session at 6:00 p.m. with Commissioner Octavene Saunders presiding.

Those in attendance were: City Commissioners Vickers, Watkins, and Swafford; Clerk-Treasurer Edwin Kinnamon; William Jones, Esq. (sitting in for Robert Collison, Esq.,City Attorney); County Commissioners Flowers and Payne; Airport Manager Don Satterfield; County Economic Development Coordinator Betty Causey; and County Administrator Jane Baynard. (County Commissioner Jay Newcomb arrived towards the end of the meeting.)

Commissioner Saunders opened the meeting with a prayer.

As Council President, Commissioner Saunders stated that she had asked for this work session, with the permission of the Council, so serious discussions could begin about the extension of the City water/sewer services to the airport. Hopefully, this is the first. of many productive meetings to move forward "so we can try to work together to see if we can bring this about in the year 2000."

Commissioner Vickers feels that, even without annexation, "we need to get water and sewer to the airport." One of his concerns is what it is going to cost financially and who is going to bare the cost. Another concern is what property lines it would go through so there could be some kind of a temporary control over expanding other homes into the line until such a date that other problems could be worked out. He then stated, "unless something pops up in my face that looks awfully terrible, you've got my vote for it."

Commissioner Watkins feels that if sewer and water is going to be extended to that area, "certainly we ought to find some means to take care of the individuals who live in homes that are on Bucktown Road because a lot of septic tanks are failing in that area and we would be remiss, both the County and the City, if we didn't try to do something to help those people as well as get the water and sewer to the airport." He hopes that it could be done through annexation but it may take some time to get them in some way.

Commissioner Swafford stated that if a County property were to be annexed "it would be of no tax benefit to us at all because there's no taxes on your County property but the property that it may touch may allow other people to annex into the City if they choose to. That is the main reason that I would be looking for annexation..."

Commissioner Saunders said she agrees with Commissioner Vickers and "we don't need to be held up by worrying about annexing and whose homes might get into it." A written agreement or resolution could be written that says that at such time as would be feasible "that you would not oppose the annexation of the property into the City because it's not going to help you for us to hold up thinking about some homes, even though we should think about some homes." The realization is that water and sewer is needed now at the airport.

Mr. Don Satterfield, who has managed the airport for almost three years, stated "we're growing in leaps and bounds out there." Water and sewer would give them an opportunity to grow in the future and he also feels that annexation is something that could be addressed later on. The airport is having an economic impact for the City as well as the County. In 1995, they had a 1.4 million dollar direct and indirect impact on this community (as completed by the Maryland Aviation Administration). Next year it is likely to go from 1.4 to better than 3 million dollar impact on the community. He then referenced previous comments about pushing to have the airport grow by saying, "I would jump up and down for your support and I know I have the support of the Commissioners from the County."

Commissioner Swafford had questioned what Sanitary District this would fall under and Mr. Kinnamon advised "District 4." Another question was raised by Commissioner Swafford as to whether this would go directly into the City's sewer plant or if they would have their own sanitary district, it was determined that this needs to be researched.

Commissioner Watkins indicated that to enhance the Smart Growth area which the Governor is speaking about, extending the water and sewer to the airport would invite the construction of buildings and homes around the airport.

Commissioner Swafford presented a rough map of the area and asked if any specific routes were thought about for the line. Mr. Satterfield indicated that they had thought about coming down the rail line because there is already a right-of-way "but I don't know if that helps us for growth."

Betty Causey suggested bringing it down Route 50 to Bucktown and then do a loop back to the pumping station. Mr. Satterfield stated that by creating the loop you create a service that qualifies for continuous flow of water and sewer "so that you gain the ability, at some later date, to annex off either side." There may be a problem between Route 16, the rail and Bucktown Road in the wooded area... "you don't want to get into a situation where you got wetlands and there is no potential growth." He feels that coming down Bucktown Road would be the most advantageous way for coming in.

Commissioner Swafford asked who owns the land and Mr. Satterfield stated it is the Maryland/Delaware Transportation. Permission for the water/sewer line would need to be obtained from them, "not individual property owners" as stated by Commissioner Swafford.

Commissioner Saunders recapped "what I think I've heard so far.":

Commissioner Swafford would like to get an answer to "will the sanitary system or Wastwater Treatment Plant be the depositor for the water/sewer line?"

Another question was, "if you're talking about not getting a vote for this unless it's annexation, getting right-of-ways not just only from the rail people but from the homes.",

The other thing is "we need to know the availability of acreage that is in the airport vicinity (so much is wetlands, so much is building) ...maybe that is something that we all need to research."  She stated also that "Mr. Satterfield mentioned that when this is done, that the line should loop back to have continuous line for compression for future growth and fire fighting."

Mr. Swafford also said "we need to make sure that we know what routes we're talking about."

Mr. Satterfield mentioned about some grants, "and I would be very interested for all of us to know what would be the City's role and what criteria that we'd have to do to help you move along with applying for these grants."

To recap on the grant issue, Mr. Satterfield stated that the grant issue from the FAA and the MAA are specific to only airport property. He doesn't know if any ground could be gained with them "with bringing things to us... it has to be specific to things that are going on on the airport property."

Commissioner Saunders then threw something out for consideration by the Council people from both sides that are here. "We have a December 7th legislative, networking and wish list business luncheon coming up... and wondered if we could sort of get feelers out to see if there is any bond bill money for infrastructure building for that type of thing..." This would be another point for research.

She then expressed some of her thoughts about having this meeting tonight to know what needs to be researched. "Maybe if neither side mind, maybe Jane and Eddie could get together and say these are the points that need researching and on both sides we could send Mr. Satterfied, your zoning people and our Public Works zoning people could get together and start the process once we talk a little more. But we need to leave tonight with points we're bringing up, deciding on getting that research done as soon as possible... that's just my thoughts."

Commissioner Swafford mentioned that the City has had a couple of meetings about land acquisition for industrial parks. He then stated, "I think I read somewhere that part of that money that was available (we asked for a million dollars for County and City joint) for water and sewer too." That is another avenue that could be explored. He further stated that it is his understand on the negotiations with the Hyatt, that there was a tentative agreement, "so we're in the works of trying to make sure our water line, in case we do go down that way, is going to be all right on our side."

Commissioner Watkins indicated that he would like to press his point..."I don't want to overlook the possibility of annexation without having to go through all that problem that we have to go through if the County and City agree to do it." He thinks this is a legal matter that needs to be researched.

Commissioner Saunders said it is her understanding that when you're talking about annexing people's private property into the City, the County doesn't have control over those individual homeowners. She then stated that a survey would need to be done to see what the individual homeowners in that area would want.

Without putting the County on the spot tonight, she asked if research could be done to see if the County ever asked for the airport to be annexed into the City.

Commissioner Saunders asked Dr. Flowers if he sees any other preliminary things that have not been brought up tonight that would help start more research. He stated, "I would never, ever support anything that would allow us to put in a line down there that would not be available to the homeowners... whether you're annexed or not."

Commissioner Saunders then asked Dr. Flowers "if I could safely recap that to say one of the other things that we could look into in lieu of annexation is a written agreement with the County that the line would go in and it would be available to the people that lived along the area where the lines would go?" His reply was "certainly."

Dr. Flowers stated that he would like to see the County Engineer and the City Engineer get together to look at the maps and go over them with a fine tooth comb and make some recommendations based on more technical knowledge and that they talk with the Sanitary District to see where it stops and how it could be connected.

Commissioner Swafford suggested that when a plan is worked out, it should be a 30 year program minimum.

It was agreed to schedule the next meeting on these issues for Monday, January 24, 2000 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. "and Eddie will notify all of us." Commissioner Saunders suggested that this meeting be held in the County's Chambers, "trying to work together, we should try to switch the meetings to different chambers."

Mr. Satterfied posed the question, "should the Council have a vote ...or the Commissioners have a vote to agree to work on this... does that make us legal?" Commissioner Saunders stated that the City Council has already agreed "when they allowed me to name the beginning of the work sessions for discussion... it's in our minutes."

Betty Causey was asked to give some input and she indicated that "personally, I think the non-title wetlands is a big issue and perhaps talking with the rail people... if you wish to have a loop brought back up the rail, you need to find out how they feel about it." She indicated the person to speak to would be Eric Callaway and his office is in Federalsburg.

Commissioner Swafford brought up another situation... "with growth comes the roads situation and I don't know if somebody might want to be talking with the State of Maryland Roads Department."

Ms. Causey indicated that currently Cambridge doesn't have any industrial land with water and sewer available where companies could move right in "and you really need it."

Commissioner Saunders suggested making a list for the next meeting of all the good things that would happen with the City running water/sewer to the airport and then any negative things.

Dr. Flowers asked Commissioner Swafford if he ever thought of what the Sanitary District did out there for the City by running the whole line to the southside sewer? "We got a big benefit, but did you ever realize the benefits you got when it came right down and all of the homes that you got in? I think it's a two-way street have to think we also gave you something when we came in." He added, "it's a mutual agreement've got to work together. It isn't whether the City or the County... it's what benefits all people and that's what Octavene has been trying to say to you."

On a final note, Commissioner Saunders indicated that whenever these meetings occur, our Public Works people are to be here.

Commissioner Watkins moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:58 p.m.; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council work session of Monday, November 15, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware


Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk-Treasurer