• 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
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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City Council Minutes

August 31, 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, Saunders, Swafford and Vickers.

Mr. Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.

City Attorney Robert Collison advised that prior to tonight's meeting, Council met in closed Executive Session at 6:00 P.M. for a personnel matter and at 6:30 P.M. in closed Executive Session to discuss a real estate matter (potential new business coming to town).

Commissioner Watkins moved to approve the minutes of the August 24th City Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMITTEE REPORTS - TRAFFIC & SAFETY

Commissioner Vickers advised that this committee met in regards to painting a small section of curb yellow on Hughlett Street. The reason for the request was that this section of curb is less than the length of a car and cars have been parking there making it difficult for people to get in and out of their property. He stated that work is moving ahead on this.

PUBLIC HEARING & SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR PRODUCE STAND

Mr. Collison stated that this public hearing is for a request by Lawrence Edwards for a special use permit to operate a produce stand at 746 Race Street.

Mr. Pritchett, Public Works Director, advised that on August 4th the Planning and Zoning Commissioner heard Mr. Edwards' request. They recommended the approval unanimously to Council. On August 10th, Council accepted the committee's recommendation and ordered posting of the property and the setting up of the public hearing. On August 17th, the property was posted and notice of the public hearing was advertised in the August 17th and August 24th Daily Banner. On August 17th letters were mailed to area property owners advising them of the hearing.

Mr. Edwards came forward to advised that he plans to start selling his produce in June and continue until he runs out (generally in October). His hours of operation would be from 3:00 P.M. to approximately 6:00 P.M. There is adequate parking in Delmer Willey's parking lot for his customers.

With no comments received either in favor or in opposition, Commissioner Watkins moved to close the public hearing; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Collison advised Mr. Edwards that Council will render their decision at their next meeting to either approve or deny his request. If it is approved, the permit would be for one year. After that, he would need to reapply but it would not be necessary to go through the public hearing process.

OLD BUSINESS & TOWING POLICY (CPD)

Chief Wroten advised that he had submitted a memorandum some time ago in reference to getting appropriate guidelines for towing service for the City.

Commissioner Vickers stated that this has been discussed a number of times and he sees no problem with the latest guidelines submitted by the Chief. He then made a motion to adopt the towing policy as it stands; seconded by Commissioner Swafford.

Commissioner Saunders referred to the paragraph stating, "Any business whose owner or manager fails to comply with the inspections or correct the deficiencies so noted may have its privileges suspended and/or removed from the qualified tow service list." It is not noted what time frame they have to correct the deficiencies. Chief Wroten stated that he would see that this is included in the guidelines. Commissioner Vickers modified his motion to include this; seconded by Commissioner Swafford.

Commissioner Saunders then asked if these people pay a fee for the privilege of making this money for towing within the City limits? Chief Wroten said that he had suggested doing this but currently there is no fee. Motion then carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion that the towing policy become effective October 1, 1998; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously. Chief Wroten indicated that he would be able to get the applications processed by the effective date.

DISCUSSION OF TAXI LICENSE REGULATIONS (CPD)

Chief Wroten indicated that they want to do a better background check and photograph taxi-cab drivers. The current fee is $1. and he would like to see it increased to $25. so the Police Department can do a background investigation on each operator. It was previously determined that a convicted felon was driving one of the taxies so they would like to photograph and fingerprint each driver.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to approve the policy as written and that the issuing of the license, and all that pertains to it, be moved to the Police Department; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders then made a motion, beginning October 1, 1998, that the cost of the license be increased to $25. per applicant and that this be handled through the Police Department; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Chief Wroten noted that the taxi licenses have already been issued for this year so Commissioner Saunders amended her motion to make the effective date of May 1, 1999; seconded by Commissioner Watkins.

Commissioner Swafford noted that when Council revamped the fee schedule effective July 1, 1998, he believes that taxi-cabs were covered and would like to look further into it.

Commissioner Saunders then rescinded her motion and made a new motion that as of May 1, 1999, Council would put in place the taxi-cab licensing fee as was identified during the budget session for new fees; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSS FUNDING FOR WIRING FOR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Commissioner Swafford advised that he is still awaiting a letter of support from the County. He noted that "time is of the essence, but money is of the essence." Mr. Kinnamon indicated, to his understanding, that the County has approved a figure but it has not been revealed as to what that figure is. He further stated that he was asked to provide a copy of the invoice, which has not been approved, for the work to be done. Until a commitment letter is received from the County, the City will not know what their portion will be.

Commissioner Vickers referred to a letter from Comcast offering to pledge $2,000. "provided the balance of the cost can be raised." He then entertained a motion to send them a letter to thank them and graciously accept their donation of $2,000. towards this project even though Council is still waiting on the County; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS - REQUEST BY ANDREWS, MILLER & ASSOCIATES

A request was received by Andrews, Miller & Associates to be referred to Planning and Zoning to change zoning of several parcels of land owned by Zion United Methodist Church from R-3 to C-2. Commissioner Saunders moved to refer their request to the Planning and Zoning Commission; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Judy Moody asked what meeting this would be scheduled for and Mr. Pritchett advised that it would make the October agenda. Mr. Pritchett advised her that she would be notified directly by mail, as an adjacent property owner, if there was change.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250.

Commissioner Swafford moved to approve the expenditures; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM CITY ATTORNEY

Mr. Collison advised that he had two minor legal matters to discuss with Council following tonight's meeting.

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

Commissioner Vickers requested that the City attorney assist him in reviewing the City Code. There is a stipulation that if real property remains unrented for a period of two years, it reverts back to single family dwelling. He would like to explore the possibility of reducing this from two years to one.

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

Commissioner Saunders referred to a memo from Mr. Pritchett advising Council of the need for a pickup truck at DPW. She noted that according to the vehicle inventory list, there is a truck at the Police Department which might be able to be transferred over to DPW. Chief Wroten said that he could share it with them but CPD uses it quite a bit. This particular truck will not take a lot of wear and tear... its old and has many miles on it. Chief Wroten noted that Mr. Pritchett can look at it and make the determination himself. They will let Council know within a week as to their decision.

Commissioner Saunders then asked the Chief what is being done with the motorcycles and he said that he is working on it.

An open invitation was then extended to everyone to attend the Elks Lodge on Pine Street at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday. There will be some talks by a "prestigious person in the State of Maryland".

COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Swafford made a motion, in connection with the in-kind services share for the Dorchester Community Services CDBG grant, to go forward with these funds by taking this year's portion out of the contingency fund and budget the remaining years; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Swafford mentioned the need to get the Municipal Code book up-to-date. The cost of the printing is $168.50 more than anticipated so Commissioner Swafford made a motion to take that amount out of the contingency fund and go ahead with the printing; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

He then referenced a seminar being hosted by Local Government Insurance Trust entitled "The Year 2000 Problem".

Commissioner Swafford feels this is very important and made a motion that Department Heads either attend or send a representative to this seminar so we can keep on top of this; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

A budget amendment was received from the Housing Department to transfer money from "salary" to "advertising". He then made a motion to approve this request; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to go into Executive Session immediately after this meeting to discuss two legal matters requested by the City attorney; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENT FROM PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR

Mr. Pritchett addressed a request from Duane Zentgraf to change "Gypsy Drive" to "Landing Drive" in Southside Landing Mobile Home Park.

Since it is unclear whether this would require a public hearing or whether it would be considered part of a new development, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to table this request until the City Attorney can advise Council; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Pritchett stated that he had received a letter from the Director of Public Works for Dorchester County requesting the City to install "low shoulder" or "no shoulder" signs along Bayly Road where sharp turns exist. Mr. Pritchett advised that he can cover this cost under his sign budget. Commissioner Saunders then made a motion to allow him to install the signs; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMENTS FROM CHIEF WROTEN

Chief Wroten commented that Bayly Road is probably the most dangerous piece of road in the City of Cambridge and this needs to be addressed. Commissioner Swafford recommended working with the County to possibly install guard rails in the future.

COMMENTS FROM ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR

Mr. Wheeler referred to his memo regarding updating of some job classifications and Commissioner Saunders motioned that this be tabled for two weeks; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

Reference was made by Mr. Wheeler to the lease agreement drafted by Mr. Collison that was in Council's books last week regarding the fire boat for RFC. Mr. Collison advised that this was to be discussed in Executive Session tonight.

Per Mr. Wheeler's request, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to also have an Executive Session tonight to cover a personnel issue; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

Lastly, Mr. Wheeler mentioned that he had spoken with Mr. Thomas Spangler from Utility Audit Company regarding the possibility of looking into reducing the City's utility costs for phone bills and electric service.

Mr. Spangler came forward to answer questions from Council. He stated that he had contacted Mr. Wheeler at Commissioner Rice's request. In answer to Commissioner Swafford's question, Mr. Spangler stated that his company would not put restrictions on what the City can or can't do. They have a staff of trained analysts who will look at the City's bills and come up with any anomalies. They will look for any overcharges, unjustified charges, reduction in billing rates due to different rate structures and pass the savings on to the City. Their only fee for this is to share the savings with the City 50-50.

Commissioner Swafford asked Mr. Spangler, if the City deals with a particular utility company, would he try to get better rates from another company? Mr. Spangler said he really can't address this issue because this is something down the road and they do not know how that would work. If they can find savings from past billings, that's found money for the City. For future, if they could get a lower rate, and in the meantime the City decides to go to another company for a better rate, they can't stop that. Commissioner Swafford asked if they consider themselves efficiency experts and Mr. Spangler said "exactly, to the point of billing routines and certain billing structures."

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to table this for a two weeks until Council has had a chance for more review; seconded by Commissioner Saunder. She then asked Mr. Spangler if the 50% fee for him was a yearly fee or a monthly fee? He said it would be monthly based on the life of the contract which is usually five years. The City would need to give him power of attorney to deal with the utility companies on the City's behalf. Commissioner Saunders stated that before she could vote on anything she would need to see the track record from Mr. Spangler's company as well as letters of reference from the people he deals with. Motion carried unanimously.

OTHER BUSINESS

Mr. Collison advised Council that a request was received from Homes For America for a revision to the original resolution approved by Council. They have since created a limited partnership and Glenburn Associates is now formally the sponsor and not Homes For America. Commissioner Saunders made a motion to have Mr. Collison do a revised resolution to indicate this change; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried unanimously.

FROM THE AUDIENCE

As Chairman of the Human Relations Planning Committee, Ms. Judy Moody came forward to turn over the financial report for their 3rd annual Cambridge Cookout to Mr. Kinnamon to make copies for Council.

Commissioner Saunders said that on Sunday she and Commissioner Watkins were approached by someone on the Human Relations Committee who made the statement that the Committee raised additional monies for the cookout and they should be able to spend it the way they want without coming to the City with procurement procedures. Commissioner Saunders took the position that they made this money as an appointee from the City, representing the City, and this is money that should go through the City.

Reverend Barry Miller came forward to say he appreciated the notice received about Lawrence Edwards' business although he did not arrive tonight in time for the Public Hearing. He is not speaking against the business but wanted to go on record as a representative of his church, they are opposed to Sunday sales. They believe in keeping the Sabbath Day holy and his church stands against merchandising on the Lord's Day on Sunday.

He went on to say that he did not receive a notice when the video store across the street was planning to open so they could have voiced opposition. Mr. Pritchett advised that this is a C-2 zoned property and the business is in total conformance with the zoning and there was no public hearing required.

Reverend Miller stated the opposition they have is with the adult section of the video business. Commissioner Saunders suggested that he check with Chief Wroten since there is a law that such videos need to be covered and not accessible to children.

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, August 31, 1998 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk Treasurer