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City Council Minutes

November 22, 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 Vickers, Watkins, Saunders, Swafford and Rice. Commissioner Watkins led in the Lords Prayer.  Commissioner Watkins moved to approve the minutes of the November 8th Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Swafford abstaining.

Commissioner Watkins then moved to approve the minutes of the November 15th work session; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

OPEN BIDS FOR HEATING AND AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEM FOR COUNCIL CHAMBERS (CONTRACT NO. 00-03A)

Mrs. Adams advised that one bid was received:

Dorchester Service Associates -- 120 Virginia Avenue -- Cambridge, MD 21613 -- $13, 968.00

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to forward the bid to the Department of Public Works for review; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Vickers asked Mr. Pritchett if this was still for a split system and he advised that there would be separate thermostats for the rear room and front room with a 5 ton unit for each. Motion then carried unanimously.

REQUEST FROM C.E.M.S. FOR PEDDLERS LICENSE EXEMPTION

A representative from C.E.M.S. was unavailable and Commissioner Saunders stated "the way it was explained to me today was" they wanted to sell items at the Christmas Parade to raise funds for the Relay for Life sponsored annually by the American Cancer Society.

Since the funds would be going to a non-profit organization, Commissioner Saunders made a motion that C.E.M.S. pay for the peddlers license and then the funds could be returned to them after the fundraiser, upon Council's approval. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and it carried unanimously. Commissioner Saunders added, "...they have to pay for the license ...then they can come back to us and request and see what happens."

REQUEST FROM SHAHBAZ AZAM FOR SPECIAL USE PERMIT

Mr. Shahbaz Azam, 308 Mill Street, came to the podium to request a special use permit for off-premises sale of beer and wine at 603 Meteor Avenue.

Commissioner Watkins moved to refer this to the Planning and Zoning Commission for their recommendation; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders asked Mr. Azam if anyone from the City explained the procedure to him and he responded negatively. She then suggested that he get together with Mr. Pritchett for an explanation of the process.

DECISION ON SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR ON-PREMISES SALE OF BEER AND WINE AT 315 SUNBURST HIGHWAY

Commissioner Saunders indicated that this refers to the request from Mr. Ted Bramble "who is within 500 feet of a church."

She then made a motion "that based on no rebuttal and based on the code as we have it, that it be denied." Motion was seconded by Commissioner Rice and carried 3 to 1 with Commissioner Swafford opposing and Commissioner Vickers abstaining.

DISCUSS SIGNAGE FOR CITY HALL PARKING LOT

Mr. Pritchett referenced his memo to Council giving an evaluation of ways to make the parking lot more efficient with the new paving and striping.

Commissioner Rice moved to accept Mr. Pritchett's recommendations; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

REQUEST TO GO TO BID FOR DEMOLITION/PUBLIC SAFETY PROPERTIES

Commissioner Saunders said that the way she understands this from Mr. Pritchett, "to go to bid for those properties just means that you'd like to set everything in motion so it won't take so long when the Council makes a decision based on the bids..." She then made a motion to allow Mr. Pritchett to get everything set in motion "and get all of his paperwork and his red tape out of the way and get his bid information put together." Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and it carried unanimously.

DISPOSITION ON SURPLUS POLICE EQUIPMENT

Commissioner Swafford advised that there was a memo received from the Police Department stating that they would like to get rid of one of their older cars. They have received an offer of $2,200.00 from Mr. Bruce Collins for this vehicle.

Commissioner Swafford then made a motion to accept the offer; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried 4 to 0 with Commissioner Saunders abstaining.

DISCUSS POSSIBILITY OF SALISBURY STATE FOOTBALL GAME IN CAMBRIDGE NEXT YEAR

A letter was received from Mr. Grason Eckel asking the City to explore the possibility of bringing a Salisbury State football game to Cambridge next year.

Commissioner Vickers made a motion "that we support him in those efforts and we hope that he's going to head it up"; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSS APPROVAL OF ACTUARY STUDY FOR NEW PENSION SYSTEM _FOR C.P.D.

Commissioner Saunders advised that when the pension system was upgraded for the City it did not include the Police Department. Being concerned about this, she had asked Council if she could look into what it would take to bring the Police Department up through the different retirement system that they are on comparable to what the rest of the City is, as well as what other police departments (with like size and population) are in the area. She found out that it needed to have an actuary study done and requested Lieutenant Malik to come forward to give details.

Lieutenant Malik stated the actual study would cost $5,000. and Major Maloney is making a recommendation that the Police Department pay $3,000. out of their budget. They asked that the Council approve an additional $2,000. to cover the total cost. It will increase their benefits from 29% to 42% for the same number of years, being 25 years.

Commissioner Saunders stated she hoped "we would take money out of discretionary funds" and do this ...this study is a mandatory procedure set in place in the State. Having said that, she made a motion "and hope we pass it" that the additional $2,000. be approved out of the discretionary funds and let the Major begin tomorrow to set the wheels in motion. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

DISCUSS TRASH PICK-UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Mr. Pritchett advised that his department has succeeded this year in picking up trash when there is a three day weekend as long as the landfill was open. They are doing the same for the Thanksgiving weekend but with Christmas falling on a Saturday, and Fridays being a slack day for them, he requested permission to give the sanitation crew Christmas Eve off..."it would mean a lot to them to have off Christmas Eve."

Commissioner Swafford made a motion "that we do allow the Department of Public Works to work with their people on the garbage trucks and give them that Friday off." Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Vickers complimented Mr. Pritchett on the past year's efforts to get trash collection on the holidays and "it's worked pretty good." He also noted that the public needs to realize that there were a couple of holidays that they were willing to work, but they couldn't because the County landfill was closed. With no further comments, motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE CITY'S CALENDAR FOR THE YEAR 2000

Based on the fact that there are no additional holidays, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to approve the calendar. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and it carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250.

Commissioner Swafford moved to approve the budgeted expenditures over $250.; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders mentioned that there was a letter from ARC in Council's packet regarding the updating of the City's zoning ordinance. Since a study is going on and individuals and organizations will be contacted, she made a motion to turn the written information over to Mr. Pritchett so he can turn it over to the consultants. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and it carried unanimously.

She then went on to say that, with permission of the Mayor and Council, they had their first meeting last Thursday of a visioning group with citizens of all walks of life throughout the City. It was very productive to get input from several people who have been unable to serve on any City committee, and future meetings will be scheduled.

Commissioner Saunders announced that a public work session is being planned with City taxpayers giving their voice about whether or not it would be a good thing to extend the City's water/sewer to families in the Church Creek area. Much effort has gone into evaluation of the needs in this area. The County Commissioners have offered to hold the next meeting in their Chambers since they have more room. As soon as the date is agreed upon, it will be announced.

Regarding the Landlord Work Session that was held this past Saturday, Commissioner Saunders expressed special thanks to Mary Huddleston of the Daily Banner for her expanded and precise news article about the meeting. She then said, "exactly what happened was said in the Banner." From this meeting, a good working relationship is being established between landlords and the City. It was requested to schedule another work session in January to bring some people from DHCD here to discuss some housing programs that could help the rental housing stock. A small task force of landlords is being put together to do some research to bring back to the Mayor and Council.

Today she attended a work session at DHCD in Crownsville relative to Section 8 and public housing, housing in general and economic development. This was brought about by the Governor to put together a five-year plan on those types of issues. Other groups were working on housing initiatives for the handicapped, homeless and general policies. Two more sessions are being planned on these issues.

A reference was made to the Main Street rules by Commissioner Saunders and she said, "Mayor and Council, please read the rules and be cautious ...that's all I'm going to say ...because everything that glitters is not gold."

COMMENTS FROM THE MAYOR

Mayor Wooten mentioned that Arbor Place is now open and fully occupied and they had a tremendous Christmas open house. They will be holding regular hours between now and Christmas and there are a lot of good places to shop. He thanked the people at Arbor Place for what they did... "the decorations were beautifully done ...everybody was warm and happy and vibrant."

He then said he recently had an opportunity to speak at a banquet honoring the students at the School of Technology who have distinguished themselves academically. The Mayor went on to say "we have a lot of good young people in our area and many of these people are never recognized for any contributions that they make..." He commended all who were there and the effort that was put forth to honor them for their accomplishments.

COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Swafford referenced a memo from Chief Hurley requesting permission to go to bid to hook up a generator to the City's municipal building. He had looked through the Chief's budget and made a motion to allow the Chief to go to bid for the hook up and that he be allowed to work with the Chief to find the funding if a bid is received that is acceptable. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and it carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Ms. Portia Johnson came to the podium to thank the Mayor and Council for their support they gave for the clean up that took place on Saturday. There were 28 students and 19 adults "and our youngest volunteer was 3 years old." She also thanked Mr. Pritchett as well as Mr. Fields from DPW for their help. The neighborhood people were very appreciative.

MORE COMMENTS...

Gage Thomas came forward to acknowledge Scout Kelly Marshall (Troop #2091, who took the challenge on to work on the pedestrian mall and put up Christmas decorations.

He then asked for consideration to be addressed by the Traffic and Safety Committee in making the driveway by The Place on Race one-way coming in from Race Street. Commissioner Rice said the committee would look into it.

Mr. Thomas referenced the work session that was held on November 15th regarding the sewer and water issue to the airport "and I assume the minutes are available to the public." Commissioner Saunders stated it was a public meeting "so all you have to do is go and ask Mr. Kinnamon for the minutes." Mr. Thomas said he was just going to ask if someone could give a brief statement as to the results of the meeting.

Commissioner Saunders said there were no results and there will be another meeting scheduled in January at the County Commissioner's Office.

Commissioner Saunders then asked Mr. Thomas "what's happening to Four Corners ...why is it still looking shoddy... it's a disgrace on that corner." She added that he's been working on it for a year and it's gotten nowhere. Mr. Thomas said he has been having trouble with contractors. He said he doesn't have the network of people to do the work and "I take great pleasure in doing it myself ...and it's a painstaking process." He said he wants to do it right and get a good tenant in there.

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, November 22, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

Heidi R. Adams, Administrative Assistant