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  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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City Council Minutes

August 3, 1998
 

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.

Commissioner Watkins moved to approve the minutes of the July 27th Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMITTEE REPORTS - HUMAN RELATIONS COMMITTEE

Commissioner Saunders reported on the 3rd Annual Great Cambridge Cookout. There were 480 people in attendance and, on behalf of Committee President William Jackson, she thanked the business people, the private people, Mr. Eddie Kinnamon for taking care of the port-a- potties, the Police Department and Cambridge Emergency Medical Services. She further added that there were handicapped people in attendance and they got around Great Marsh beautifully without asking for any special service. Mr. Jackson also asked her to thank the Mayor and Council for being so supportive of the Human Relations Committee.

APPOINTMENTS - NELSON STEWART

Mr. Stewart advised that he is an attorney, involved with property development and a member of the State Housing Advisory Board. There have been millions of dollars spent in various counties, and each time he attends an Advisory Board meeting, he is surprised by the fact that there is no one present from the Eastern Shore. He stated that funds from the State and the Federal Government do not have to be utilized for impoverished individuals. The funding is there to build communities as opposed to houses.

Inherent with that, all the economic factors need to be brought into play. The State has millions of dollars that are utilized in terms of building and lending to individuals who want to start businesses. If these funds are not requested, the City of Cambridge and Dorchester County will be left out. Since this is an election year, it would be a good time to make such a request. Dorchester County is the largest county, in terms of land mass, in the State of Maryland.

At the last meeting of the State Housing Advisory Board, Montgomery County, which is one of the richer counties in the State of Maryland, told of a situation where the County Housing Authority went into a joint venture with a private developer with funds that came from the County to tear down some old buildings with declining land value. They formed a partnership with a private entity. The private entity used funds from the Federal Government and funds from the County. They built not only market rate housing, but housing for individuals who could not previously afford a house for themselves. The State has raised the amount of money available to individuals who are first time home buyers.

Commissioner Saunders asked if the City can take the initiative for these funds or must it come from the County? Mr. Stewart responded that the City can take the initiative. She also suggested that Mr. Stewart get in touch with Mr. Carlton Stanley who is Chairman of the Housing Authority Board. Since she has been a member of City Council, the City has not received any cooperation from the Cambridge Housing Authority regardless of any efforts made by the City.

In some of his comments, Mr. Stewart mentioned that Airpax was shutting down. Commissioner Saunders asked if he got his information off the street or "do you know something that I don't know?" Mr. Stewart responded, "all I know is what the citizens tell me." He doesn't have any inside information.

Commissioner Saunders asked that the Mayor contact Airpax and he stated that he has been in contact with one of the administrators at Airpax and has been told that there is no chance of this happening. They are going to restructure and reorganize but they are going to stay here (and that was as recent as two weeks ago). Commissioner Saunders said they heard the same thing about Wild Goose Brewery and Metro. The Mayor said all he is able to do is take what they say at face value. He then stated, as a community, we are certainly going to do what we can to see that they stay here.

Commissioner Watkins asked if the City could work with another agency, other than the Housing Authority. Mr. Stewart advised that the City could apply for funds directly through the Community Development Block Grant.

Commissioner Swafford asked if Mr. Stewart was familiar with Homes For America since they expressed an interest in the future housing of Cambridge. He stated that he was not but he knows there are agencies who will work with communities and private individuals collectively. Commissioner Swafford stated that Homes For America had expressed interest in going into a blighted area, tearing it down and then rebuilding it. Mr. Stewart stated that HUD has funding specifically for that type of work but if the City is planning to do something in the year 2000, they must apply by 1999.

Commissioner Rice asked what percentage of the money is earmarked for economic development? Mr. Stewart said there are funds available specifically for housing and funds available for the starting of new businesses.

Mr. Stewart said that he would supply the City with documentation from the State as well as the Federal Government. Commissioner Saunders requested that he give this information to Mr. Kinnamon.

Explaining how the process works, Mr. Stewart gave the following example:

In the City of Baltimore, if there is a plot of land available within the City, a developer can write a proposal to the Mayor and City Council indicating the particular project they would like to see on that plot of land. The Mayor and City Council would then, through the housing commissioner, publish in the newspaper the fact that they have an unsolicited proposal and would state "if anyone else has any other ideas, we would invite them to submit a proposal." When all the proposals come in, they then determine which proposal best fits the situation and they decide which one they want to deal with. Mr. Stewart stated, "you give me the path, and I'll bring you back the information."

TENA SCHLINGMANN - CHESAPEAKE WOODS CENTER

Ms. Schlingmann, Human Resource Coordinator, came forward to request the use of Great Marsh Park for their employee appreciation picnic on September 13th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for approximately 150 people. Commissioner Vickers advised her that it would be their responsibility to supply portable toilets as there are none available at the park. She stated that she has already contacted ADHO Waste Management.

Commissioner Vickers then made a motion to grant their request with a noise variance from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders reminded Ms. Schlingmann that she would also need to obtain a permit from the Health Department to serve food.

DORCHESTER ARTS REQUEST

Due to the failure of a representative appearing, Mr. Kinnamon stated that he had spoken to a woman by phone who had requested to use Long Wharf Park to hold jazz concerts on Sunday evenings during June and July, 1999. The Arts Center needed to apply for some type of approval process but wanted to seek Council's approval for these dates first.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to allow the Dorchester Arts Center to hold jazz concerts on Sunday evenings during June and July, 1999 from approximately 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with the stipulation they work out any noise ordinance variance in advance and that they coordinate this through the Department of Public Works. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Vickers and carried unanimously.

ROGER WEBSTER (JAYCEES) - CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Mr. Webster was present representing the Cambridge Jaycees and the Cambridge Christmas Light Committee. Bids were received for the necessary up-grading of the wiring to meet code along High Street from Poplar Street to Long Wharf. In response to a question from Commissioner Swafford, Mr. Webster advised that the work needs to be completed by the end of October and the Jaycees only have $2,000. which is needed for the 1998 Christmas display.

Commissioner Swafford advised Mr. Webster that Council needs a few weeks to find some funds to get the job done and they will get back with an answer by the August 24th Council meeting. He then requested that the Jaycees appear before the County Commissioners to ask for financial help and the City would match their contribution. Mr. Webster said that he would make a point to get on their agenda.

OLD BUSINESS - DECISION ON SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR DAY CARE CENTER

Commissioner Saunders noted that, to her knowledge from the Public Hearing and what the City attorney presented, Ms. Weldon meets all State and Social Services requirements. She then motioned to grant the Special Use Permit; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

AMENDMENT OF NEXT PHASE OF COMBINED SEWER STUDY

Commissioner Vickers noted that Phase I was voted on last April. This phase deals with areas involving Hughlett Street, Glenburn Avenue and Maryland Avenue. He then made a motion to move forward with Phase II; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS - REQUEST TO GO TO BID FOR AIR-CONDITIONING UNITS FOR DPW

Mr. Pritchett advised that with the addition of the Housing Office in 1996, in conjunction with an already failing system, the need to replace the unit has escalated.

Commissioner Rice moved to grant permission to go to bid; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250.

Commissioner Swafford moved to approve the two items budgeted over $250. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Saunders and carried unanimously.

REPORT FROM PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR

Mr. Pritchett had presented a schedule for obtaining building permits from his department. The schedule to accept building permits is Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. They are certainly flexible if someone comes from out-of-town but would like to try to adhere to these times.

He also stated that the Power Boat Association has requested that, at their expense with a certified electrician and no cost to the City, they have permission to install two more receptacles on the other poles at the pavilion at Great Marsh. In response to Commissioner Rice's question, Mr. Pritchett advised that this is on the City's meter. Commissioner Vickers motioned to grant their request; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Commissioner Vickers then stated that some time in the future, a decision might need to be made to charge a fee for the use of Great Marsh since there will be additional expense for electrical use. The fee could be based on groups over a certain size using the park. Commissioner Saunders said she was against charging taxpayers for use of the park. If a fee were charged, make it like a security deposit to be given back if the park is left the way it was found. Motion then carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM CLERK-TREASURER

Mr. Kinnamon had a request from adjoining property owners of a potential traffic problem at the corner of Hughlett Street near the corner of Washington Street. Businesses in the area have asked for the curb to be painted yellow to keep the traffic flowing in and out of their properties.

Commissioner Saunders moved to refer these requests to the Traffic and Safety Committee; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Kinnamon then referred to a packet of information that was included in Council's books from the City's Grants Administrator regarding a letter of support for Craig's Drug Store.

Commissioner Saunders indicated that she had wished that Craig's Drug Store would have alerted Council that they were going to the state for commercial financing ahead of time so they would have known more about it. She then proceeded to read the letter of support as drafted by Ms. Foster but was concerned over the fact that nothing in the letter indicated that the City will not have any financial obligation.

Commissioner Saunders then made a motion that the letter be revised for Mayor and Council's approval; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Kinnamon referred to a letter received from Michael and Corinne Mitsak on a matter that had previously been addressed by the Traffic and Safety Committee. Mr. Pritchett advised that the Committee made a ruling to disallow parking along the side of their building because it is officially a right-of-way. The ruling stands.

Commissioner Saunders mentioned that Traffic and Safety had accommodated the Mitsaks by moving the handicapped spot in front of their store back to allow people to park. There is also free parking on the street.

Mr. Kinnamon then advised Council that the City's tax bills will be going out this week. There was a delay due to a deficiency in the actual tax bills which was not discovered until the bills were being separated. This required about half of the bills to be reprinted.

In response to Commissioner Swafford's question regarding whose cost this would be, Commissioner Rice advised that the liability is with the manufacturer. The vendor is trying to recoup the cost from the manufacturer but if he can't, he will eat the costs himself. Mr. Kinnamon noted that the labor cost is very minimal .... the major cost is the product itself.


COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Swafford commented on a memo from Mr. Kinnamon in which he listed new businesses located within the City of Cambridge as prepared for the Chamber of Commerce and supplied by Michael Baker's office.

He then asked if Certificates of Occupancy are only for new construction. Mr. Pritchett advised that generally they are for new structures only although when some people have asked for them what they really need is a zoning letter. He also advised that there is no fee involved for the certificate. It is part of the inspection process.

Commissioner Swafford motioned for Council's approval of a demolition purchase order, under $2,500.; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders noted that this particular house had drug activity going on in it and there was much concern for the neighbors. She stated, "In the City of Cambridge, when citizens health and safety are in jeopardy, we will move and we will take legal and appropriate action." She then complimented everyone involved for pulling together in such a short time to get this done.

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders invited everyone to "National Night Out" on Tuesday, August 4th at 6:00 p.m. in front of Pine Street Elks Lodge.

She then asked Chief Wroten about the two motorcycles at the Police Department that are not in use since the City is still paying insurance on them. The Chief stated that he is very hopeful in putting them to use. Commissioner Saunders then asked the Chief to have some information by Christmas. If they are not being used, they should be sold.

Commissioner Swafford then requested an inventory of all motor vehicles within the City and who they are assigned to.

Commissioner Saunders was approached by a woman who mentioned about the fact of people allowing their dogs to run free at Great Marsh and not cleaning up after them. She brought this up as a matter of record but was unsure how it could be controlled.

She then referred to a "Hot Spots" packet that was given to Council by Chief Wroten. There is a conference on September 30th in Baltimore and she would like to be informed as she is planning to attend.

The packet also mentioned some initiatives for funding for educational programs. She then made a motion to direct Chief Wroten to ask his department to apply for "The Provision of Safety and Educational Activities for Pedestrians and Bicyclists" project through Hot Spots. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM SECOND WARD

Commissioner Watkins expressed his appreciation to Commissioner Saunders for the effort she made in getting the house demolished in his Ward when he was unable to be reached.

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

Commissioner Vickers mentioned how well William Jackson sounded on the public address system at the picnic last Saturday.

FROM THE AUDIENCE

Ms. Portia Johnson gave an open invitation to any members of the City Council who would like to join her on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. for the "Seafood Blast".

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:23 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, August 3, 1998 insofar as I personally am aware.

'Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk-Treasurer