City Council Minutes
March 24, 2008
March 24, 2008
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, March 24, 2008 in Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Knox, Sydnor, Cephas, Brooks, and Travers.
Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 10, 2008 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Ricky Travers, RFC Seafood Feastival, to Request a Noise Variance, Police Protection, and Trash Pick-up, on Saturday, August 9th from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Sailwinds Park-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. Commissioner Cephas asked Mr. Travers about the police protection. Mr. Travers reported that there are between 1800 and 2000 people attending the event. Chief Malik said they have Community Policing Officers work in that area. It is usually a bike patrol officer or a foot patrol officer. They have done it a number of times. The motion passed unanimously.
Request from Marine Trawler Owners Association to Erect a 40' x 90' Tent and a 15' x 15' Tent on the Grass Area of Long Wharf During Their MTOA Rendezvos from September 22 to September 29; Noise Variances on Wednesday, Sept. 24 from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm; Thursday, Sept. 25 from 7:00 pm Until 10:30 pm; Friday, Sept. 25 from 8:00 pm Until 11:00 pm; and Saturday, Sept. 26 from 8:00 pm until 10:00 pm) and Permission for Participants to Consume Liquor in This Area-Nobody was present to speak. This item will be discussed at a later meeting when somebody is present to answer Council's questions.
Open Bids for Street Line Striping-Ed Kinnamon opened bids from the following 4 companies:
- Shore Striping (Easton, MD) -- $9,222.00
- Priceless Industries, Inc. (Baltimore, MD) -- $7,641.00
- Image Asphalt Maintenance, Inc. (Pasadena, MD) -- $5,518.50
- Mid-Atlantic Marking, Inc. (Gaithersburg , MD) -- $2,830.00
Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to refer the bids to the Department of Public Works for their review and recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Second Reading and Vote on Proposed Ordinance to Limit Demolition Permits to 30 Days-Rob Collison said the ordinance would provide that all other permits except demolition permits would remain valid for 6 months. Demolition permits would become invalid if the demolition is not completed within 30 days of the date of issuance. The introduction and first reading was on March 10. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to adopt the ordinance. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Recommendation to Award Contract for Large Format Printer-Steve Johnson said DPW recommends awarding the contract to DiCarlo Precision Instruments as the low bidder. Commissioner Travers made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. Commissioner Sydnor said the correspondence from DPW states that the price is $4,695 after a $1000 rebate. The invoice is for $5,695. Steve Johnson said you have to pay the $5,695, submit the rebate form, and then receive the $1,000 which will go back into the general fund. Commissioner Sydnor said Mr. Johnson provided a budget amendment stating that the 2008 budget has $8,600 in that particular fund and he wants to transfer some funds to an operating supply fund. The amount he wants to take from the general fund is $6,800; however he thinks it should be $5,000. Steve Johnson said he would like to transfer a portion of it from the general fund and then there is also a portion that comes from the public works administration fund. There are multiple funds involved. Commissioner Sydnor said one is coming from the general funds and the other is coming from the sewer fund. If you take the $6,880 that is in the general fund and deduction the $5,695, that will leave you with $1,185. If you add the $860 to that balance, it will give you $2,045 that he will have to transfer because he is not taking any out of the marina fund. Steve Johnson said nothing is coming out of the marina fund. Ed Kinnamon said there is a certain percentage that is going to be applied to both the general fund and the sewer fund for this new plotter. He thinks what they are trying to do is take an appropriate amount from both funds to make it work. Commissioner Sydnor said both funds will be depleted. Whatever is left from those 2 funds is going to go into the operational funds. They might want to check because instead of $2,324, he figures it will be $2,045 that will be transferred. Steve Johnson said he will look at it again. The motion to award the contract to DiCarlo Precision Instruments in the amount of $4,695 (after $1000 rebate) was approved unanimously.
Approve Auditor's Invoice-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the auditor's invoice. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Remainder of Invoice for S&G Improvements-Rob Collision said the action to secure the contract to demolish the house was taken by the City. There was a delay in securing the invoices. The City will be going after the property owner for the amount that they pay out. They are starting a new process by which funds owed to the City for demolitions will be collected the same as taxes. If they are not paid within the time period required for tax sales, it will go up for taxes. Interest will accrue. It is his recommendation that the City pays this invoice and adds it on to what they collect from the property owner. They have been trying to get the entire amount paid by the property owner's insurance company. The fire was considered a suspicious activity and the insurance company has been reluctant. The City will continue to do that as well as pursuing it through a tax sale. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve payment of the remainder of the invoice. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox asked if the City's incurred this interest. Steve Johnson said he has had difficulty getting a straight invoice from S&G. At this point there are 2 businesses affected-S&G and J. Neal Waste, a subcontractor to S&G. The City will pass the costs on to the property owner. If the property owner has not paid the City in 2 years, the property will go to tax sale. The motion passed unanimously.
Request from Faith Baptist Fellowship to Use Long Wharf on Saturday, July 12th to Show the Film "Facing The Giants" from Approximately 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm and a Noise Variance (in conjunction with Second Saturday)-Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request with the noise variance not to exceed 11:00 pm. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Request from Eastern Shore Motorcycle Charities for a Noise Variance for Their Fundraiser Event at Sailwinds Park on Saturday, May 31st from 9:00 am Until 9:00 pm and Sunday, June 1st from 9:00 am Until 6:00 pm-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Request to go to Bid DPW - Operations Building-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Introduction and First Reading of Ordinance to Amend Section 4-34.2 to Provide for the Imposition of Fines When a Property Owner Fails to Comply with a Demolition Order-Rob Collison said as the Code presently reads, they do not have the option to assess any type of fine. They only have the ability to demolish a structure. This ordinance would give the Department of Public Works the ability to do one of two things. Once a demolition order becomes effective, they could give the property owner a deadline to have the work complete. If they do not complete the work and 60 days pass, the City could impose a $100-a-day fine and then on the 60th day, they could start demolishing the building. In that case, the City would assess the property owner with a bill for 60 days of fines plus the cost of the demolition.
Discuss Annual Spring Clean-Up-Steve Johnson said they would like to hold the spring clean-up on April 5th and April 12th. On April 5th they would do streets west of High, Poplar, and Race Streets. On April 12th, they would do streets east of High, Poplar, and Race Streets. Commissioner Brooks asked for clarification of the streets. Steve Johnson said west would be streets like Glasgow and Locust Streets and Glenburn Avenue. Streets east of High Street would be Pine Street, Academy Street, and east Cambridge. Commissioner Sydnor asked that a description be put in the newspaper so people know what day their clean up will be on. Steve Johnson said it will be the same as last year. Mayor Rippons asked that they also print what the City can and cannot pick up.
An unidentified woman asked if this included abandoned stores that have items in them that need to be cleaned out of is it just residential. Steve Johnson said it is for residential properties only.
Approve PO 1141 - DiCarlo Precision Instrument, Inc. - Hewlett Packard T1100 Plotter - DPW - $5,695-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve PO 4755 - Schaefer Pyrotechnics, Inc. - 4th of July 2008 Deposit for Fireworks - $7,500-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Budget Amendment for DPW-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the budget amendment. He said whatever amount is in the general fund for the account and whatever amount is left in the sewer funds ($860) should be transferred to office supplies to buy supplies for the printer. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Steve Johnson reported that DPW is going forward for a Maryland Historic Trust grant. It is a non-capital grant for preliminary engineering for reconstruction of High Street from Glasgow Street to Long Wharf. The study will tell the City everything it will take to rebuild that street.
Ed Kinnamon said the City received a request from Cambridge Little League to have their annual parade on April 12th starting at 9:00 am at Long Wharf and ending at their ball field. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Brooks said she met with Commissioner Sydnor and Ed Kinnamon to discuss a limited scope audit; agreed upon procedural with talking about a performance audit. At this point, Mr. Kinnamon has informed them that he understands everything that Council is looking for and asking for and has contacted the auditors to find out whether or not they would be interested and if so, what kind of a price. If at all possible, they would like to include this in the City's budget for next year so they can get a proper audit next year according to the regulations.
Commissioner Cephas said at the lat meeting, Council discovered that they had additional funds for paving. For 2 years in a row, a particular street was earmarked for paving and it was not on the current paving list. He said he will speak to Steve Johnson about it after the meeting.
Commissioner Sydnor said he received quite a few phone calls complimenting the foot patrols in the Pine Street area during the last couple of weeks. The citizens appreciate it and feel very safe going to the churches and their activities there. He complimented CPD on this patrol.
Commissioner Sydnor said they are going to have a meeting on April 7th which will include contemplated reorganization of the Department of Public Works. They will also look at the budget for CEMS as that time. They may also have some questions for Chief Malik.
Commissioner Knox said he visited the old police station today. He commended MUC and DPW for the work they have done in the building. They are shaping the place up. He commended the personnel working on the building.
Commissioner Knox said he is seeing more untagged scooters around town. He is extremely concerned about their safety. He asked if they could pass an ordinance to put helmets on these folks. Some people are riding them on Route 50. Commissioner Knox asked Rob Collison to look into this.
Rob Collison said Mr. Kinnamon submitted a memo to Council on behalf of the City's building committee concerning the excess City-owned properties. Ed Kinnamon said he and Commissioner Brooks met earlier this evening and discussed the bids opened at the last meeting. Rob Collison said the one bid received for the Goodwill Avenue property was $15,100. The highest bid for the High Street property was $10,100. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to award the bids to the highest bidders. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. Commissioner Sydnor said the City did not receive any bids on the Wells Street property. Commissioner Brooks said she will contact the pastor of the church who was initially interested in the Wells Street property.
Gage Thomas, on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, said they have expressed a possible interest in that lot if the City would allow them to build on it. Steve Johnson said if someone from Habitat comes to DPW, they will discuss it. Commissioner Brooks said it will have to be re-advertised.
Portia Johnson-Ennels said in order to put a house on the High Street property, it would not be able to face the street. It would be sideways. Habitat should not be building houses just to be building houses. Even though it was deemed excess property by the City, it may not be a piece of property that can be used for a house. It is not in the best interest of the consumer who will be living on that property. It would be the same thing with Wells Street. It is not a neighborhood that she would like them to pay a mortgage for 30 years on. There are a lot of things that need to be looked into even if the property is excess property. She said she is not the only person in the community that has questions like that. If they are asking people to put their hard earnings into things, they have to make sure the neighborhoods are cleaned up, well lighted by the City, and the streets are maintained. We do not need housing built on streets that do not have sidewalks or curbing. It is a crucial aspect. The motion passed unanimously.
Rob Collison reported that Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm to discuss a personnel matter and in open executive session beginning at 6:15 pm.
Wendell Foxwell asked when the road from Chesapeake Street to Washington Street will be opened. Mayor Rippons said the State is not going to allow it until there is a round-about. The property owner who was going to complete that phase is in bankruptcy. They are having discussions with the new owners. They foresee that the round-about should be constructed in late spring. That should be the last phase to facilitate the opening. Steve Johnson said the only thing that is holding up starting construction is the fact that the asphalt plant is closed during the winter and should open shortly. Mayor Rippons said all the financing is in place and the contract has been awarded.
Wendell Foxwell asked how long MUC will be using the old police building. Mayor Rippons said there is contemplation that there will be a renovation of the current City Hall building. The City will probably go to engineering soon. The renovations will probably take 1 year. Steve Johnson said in early winter of 2009 the folks will be moving out of 410 Academy Street and back into 307 Gay Street based on the current schedule. Wendell Foxwell said he has heard some talk that it is like being in a prison because there are not any windows in the building. He suggested that if they are going to be there for awhile and any money is available, they might put some windows in the building. Mayor Rippons said he thinks the people in MUC are more than happy to be in that structure.
Cornell Hoke said she had a question about the Christ Rock water situation. She asked if there is money in the budget to run the water lines or if they have taken care of that yet. Mayor Rippons said that will have to go through a Federal grant. That grant has not been approved yet. The first step is to have the funding in place. Then the City will be able to move forward to make the extension.
Cornell Hoke asked about youth activities for children under age 12. There are some programs but a lot of people cannot afford them or they do not have transportation. When they had the parent university at Maces Lane, she was the only one from her entire neighborhood that went and they had transportation and daycare. She is not sure if the people know about other programs. Mayor Rippons said there are a host of programs that occur during the summer. A lot of churches and other organizations have programs for the youth. There is no mechanism in place to outline all the programs. The programs at the Empowerment Center on Pine Street are year round. Commissioner Brooks said the YMCA has a scholarship program for families who attend. She said the library also has programs throughout the year. Commissioner Cephas said Recreation and Parks has other programs for the youth.
Cornell Hoke asked show she could become a community advocate. She would like to be involved more. Commissioner Cephas asked her to call him and he would discuss it with her. Commissioner Brooks said there are different committees that the City has. She suggested Ms. Hoke contact Mr. Kinnamon to find out about the committees and he will tell her what is available and when she should submit a letter of interest. Commissioner Sydnor said the City is also in the early stages of formulating committees for the comprehensive plan. Someone at Planning and Zoning can help with those committees.
Portia Johnson-Ennels said a few meetings back, Mayor Rippons turned the decision about the Housing Task Force over to Steve Johnson. She has not heard anything yet. Before they move forward, she would like to know if Steve Johnson has a deadline to make a decision. Mayor Rippons said there is no deadline. Portia Johnson-Ennels said the citizens are all volunteers and they are up in the air because they do not know what direction the City wants them to go in. They would like to know what to do. Mayor Rippons asked Steve Johnson if he could discuss this at the April 14th Council meeting. Commissioner Brooks asked Steve Johnson if he could attend the next Housing Task Force meeting on April 15th and then talk to Council at the meeting on April 28th.
Gage Thomas asked if the bypass will continue to Bayly Road and Route 16. Mayor Rippons said the transportation impact fee will facilitate the work. It is hard to come across, you the property owners, when on the north side of the property, the developers paid for everything on the other side of the road. Mayor Rippons asked County Commissioner Ricky Travers if the County put the bypass back in their priorities when they did their planning. It was put on in the 1970s and then taken out in 2003. When the City seeks additional funding from the State, the first question they ask is whether it is a priority within the confines on the comprehensive plan of the County. If the County has taken it out, it will be much harder for the City. He asked why it was taken out when it was in there for almost 3 decades. Now that there is growth in that area, the Commissioners have said it is not a priority. Commissioner Ricky Travers said he does not know what happened in 2003 because he was not there. They spoke to the State about the round-around. They had some concerns with the way it was going to empty out. As far as submitting it to the State, they would not submit that side because that would not be a State road. It would be under the auspices of the City. As far as putting it back into a priority funding, he does not know anything about it. He will check into it.
Mayor Rippons said they have the contemplation of the transportation impact fee. The developers on the north side will say that the City mandated that they pay but then they are giving it to the others for free. The City could create an ordinance to say the City would create the road up front and then recover the costs from any developers. Rob Collison said they would be creating a special taxing district. They have the right-of-way across the utility lines and sewer line. There are wetlands issues and construction costs. Mayor Rippons said the engineering has different routes that they can utilize to get it through there most efficiently.
With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned the meeting at 8:15 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, March 24, 2008, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon
Clerk & Treasurer