City Council Minutes
November 12, 2013
A motion by Commissioner Thomas to amend the agenda by adding a budget amendment from the Administrative Office and a request for authorization of grant funding coming from the Economic Development Department was seconded and passed 4:0.
A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the minutes of the October 28, 2013 Council meeting with the addition of a sentence to the section of the report on 509/511 Race Street that said that Mr. Mariner responded to a question about any imminent danger that there was not any imminent danger to public health and safety for at least two years or more, was seconded and passed 4:0.
Cambridge Commons - Community Development Block Grant (Final Update) - Notice of tonight's public hearing was advertised in the Dorchester Star on Friday, November 1, 2013 and on the Chesapeake Publishing & Printer Internet site.
The City received $300,000 from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development as a Community Development Block Grant. The City loaned these funds to Shelter Development to acquire land for the development of 96 units of affordable rental housing and anticipates repayment to begin after Shelter repays other project loans. The loan term mirrored the loan that Shelter Development received from the State of Maryland which is a 40 year term. As the project has cash flow, they will pay money back to the State first and cash available after that will go to the City. Repayment to the City is known as "Program Income". The terms of the grant required the City to develop an approved program dedicated for the expenditure of any and all funds received. On August 14, 2008, the City adopted an Affordable Housing Plan for Program Income whereby the City agrees that the funds shall only be used for the development, rehabilitation, and/or renovation of affordable housing within the City for families of low to moderate income. This program was approved by DHCD on August 18, 2008. To date, the City has received $14,880.
Maria Miller, a developer with The Shelter Group, further described the project which is located on Bayly Road. All of the 96 units are affordable to families that are earning less than 60% of the area median income. In addition to the CDBG funds, the State of Maryland allocated about $1 million in tax credits and about $2.5 million in cash-flow loan funds. They also borrowed a private first mortgage of about $2.2 million and were awarded about a $500,000 loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. The community was developed on 21 acres. Most of the land was left undisturbed. They built on 7 acres. An endangered species, the Delmarva Fox Squirrel, was found on the property. This squirrel is now de-listed; that is-no longer endangered. In addition to the land preserved on their site, they also purchased and preserved additional habitat for the Delmarva Fox Squirrel. The community is designed to be livable for working families. Energy-efficient appliances, including washers and dryers, were installed in each unit. The clubhouse includes a fitness facility, management office, leasing space, computers, etc.
Richard Lalka suggested that the City finish the houses that are being built now. There are four or five subdivisions that are started and not even finished. Now the City is going to start another subdivision for affordable housing. There is nothing wrong with affordable housing. The City should finish the ones they have and stop allowing more and more. What happens if this one goes broke? Commissioner Sydnor explained that this development is already completed. Mr. Lalka thinks anything that the Council allows in this neighborhood or this City should be thought about. The City Council said yes to subdivisions that are not completed. He doesn't think the City should allow any more building unless they get 100% guarantee that they are going complete it or take a bond out on it to make sure it gets completed.
Nobody else asked to speak. A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to close the public hearing was seconded and approved 4:0.
Report from PKS (City Auditors)-Ginger Heatwole and Boyd Bounds, representing PKS & Company, made a presentation on the 2013 financial statements. For the year ending June 30, 2013, the auditors are pleased to state that the audit was an unmodified audit which means that it is the highest opinion that auditors can give. For 2012, the total revenues (General Fund) for the year were $12,365,457 and total expenditures were $11,617,710. In 2013, the total revenues were $10,976,850 and the total expenditures were $11,466,982. Loan proceeds were $673,337. This gives a total net change in fund balance of $183,205 positive. For the Proprietary Funds, the total revenue was $5,688,839. The total operating and distribution expense was $4,638,124. The total general administrative expense was $1,126,057. This gives an operating loss of $75,342; however, the City had non-operating revenue (mostly grant) of $1,968,614 which gives the City a positive change in the assets of $1,893,272. It was a good year. The City had positive income as well as positive net assets. A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to accept the audit report as presented was seconded and approved 4:0.
Jane Devlin, James B. Richardson Foundation, Inc. to give overview of Cambridge Schooner Rendezvous 2013 and announce a December 7, 2013 Grand Opening Event-This was the largest event to date, with success in all quarters. Of the 20 vessels expected, 16 were able to visit Cambridge; four were major schooners. Because of the conditions on the bay, some of the smaller vessels did not come. They had 450 school children visit on Thursday and Friday. Over 2500 people attended on Saturday and Sunday. The encampment was double in size. They are getting glowing reports from everyone.
After a number of years, the James B. Richardson Foundation is getting ready to open the new Ruark Boatworks. At the same time, they will be opening the Brannock Education and Research Center in a limited capacity. Their grand opening and fundraiser will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2013 from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Ms. Devlin said they may be requesting a limited number of barricades from the City. The next step to the project will be the interpretive trail.
Presentation of the Draft Cambridge Gateways Report by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Center for Towns-Sarah Abel, Community Design Manager, and Amy Owsley, Deputy Director, reported that they have been working on the project for one year. They gave an overview of the report and the thoughts, visions, and ideas that were generated from the process. The purpose of the project was to look at the Route 50 and Maryland Avenue gateway to Cambridge. The project was designed to initiate a conversation about the impression this gateway gives to Cambridge, the physical conditions there, and how the gateway can be used as a true opening door to the City of Cambridge to draw people into the downtown. Research was done on the environmental, socioeconomic, community and physical context of the gateway. The community was involved to try to understand what they want for this important intersection. ESLC wants to bring Council specific concept plans and ideas that could represent what came from the community and then help Council find ways to use what was learned through this process and other gateways. A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to accept the report as presented was seconded and approved 4:0.
Fines for 507 Race Street-The owner of the property wants to close on the property as soon as possible and has offered to pay all outstanding monies due to the City including the outstanding fine of $1,000 but would like to have the $1,000 (plus court costs) put in escrow until the case has been heard by the court. Pending an outcome of the court (December), would dictate whether the $1,000 is returned to the owner. The citation is associated with the window board-ups. A motion by Commissioner Sydnor that the City does not abate the fine and does not allow the fine to be put in escrow was seconded and approved 4:0.
Approve holiday schedule for 2014-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve the holiday schedule for 2014 was seconded and approved 4:0.
Approve Council meeting schedule for 2014-A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve the Council meeting schedule for 2014 with the options of June 2 and December 15 was seconded and approved 4:0.
Approve budget amendment for Financial Administration-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve the budget amendment was seconded and approved 4:0.
Community Development Block Grant funding for streetscape upgrades to the 500 block of Cedar Street-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to begin the process of applying for the grant was seconded and approved 4:0. Further information will be provided at the next Council meeting.
Approve Purchase Orders:
PO 2014-040 - Dell Marketing LP - desktop computers for CPD (forfeiture account) - $8,768.48-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve PO 2014-040 was seconded and approved 4:0.
PO 2014-041 - Taser International - case of 15-ft cartridges for tasers (CPD) - $1,047.50-A motion by Commissioner Hanson to approve PO 2014-041 was seconded and approved 4:0.
PO 2014-042 - Lehigh Valley Safety Supply Company - safety shoes for DPW - $2,700.00-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve PO 2014-042 was seconded and approved 4:0.
PO 2014-043 - Mid-Atlantic Waste Systems - snow plow blades for DPW - $1,450.00-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve PO 2014-043 was seconded and approved 4:0.
PO 2014-044 - Cambridge Tire Center, Inc. - Tires for CAT backhoe and John Deere backhoe for DPW - $2,400.00-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve PO 2014-044 was seconded and approved 4:0.
PO 2014-046 - Atlantic Emergency Solutions - Ladders for RFC - $3,273.00-A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to approve PO 2014-046 was seconded and approved 4:0.
Mayor's and Commissioner's Comments
Special Election-Information will be presented at the next Council meeting.
Report on 509-511 Race Street-Commissioner Vickers suggested asking George, Miles & Buhr to put a timeline in their report concerning imminent danger.
Retirement of Commissioner Hanson-Commissioner Hanson announced that he will be retiring from the State after 38 years. Because the pension system for the City of Cambridge is intertwined with the State's pension system, the law requires that any employee who retires has to have a 45-day suspension period from each employer at the time of retirement. He will effectively have to resign his position as a City Commissioner on December 1st for at least 45 days. The Fifth Ward may be included in the election with the Third Ward. He is asking Council to hold both elections at the same time-whenever it is set by Council.
Closed Executive Session-Mayor Stanley announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm to consider the investment of public funds.
A motion by Commissioner Sydnor to adjourn the meeting was seconded and approved unanimously.
With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 8:15 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Tuesday, November 12, 2013, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon
Clerk & Treasurer
COMMISSIONERS OF CAMBRIDGE
CLOSED SESSION REPORT
A Date: November 12, 2013
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: City Council Chambers
B Citation of Authority/Purpose: State Government Article, Section 10-508(a) (check one of the following):
1 discuss: (i) the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction: or (ii) any other personnel matter that affects one or more specific individuals;
2 protect the privacy or reputation of individuals with respect to a matter that is not related to public business;
X 3 consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto;
4 consider a matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the City;
X 5 consider the investment of public funds;
6 consider the marketing of public securities;
7 consult with counsel to obtain legal advice;
8 consult with staff, consultants, or other individuals about pending or potential litigation:
9 conduct collective bargaining negotiations or consider matters that relate to the negotiations:
10 discuss public security, if the public body determines that public discussion would constitute a risk to the public or to public security, including: (i) the deployment of fire and police services and staff; and (ii) the development and implementation of emergency plans;
11 prepare, administer, or grade a scholastic, licensing, or qualifying examination;
12 conduct or discuss an investigative proceeding on actual or possible criminal conduct;
13 comply with a specific constitutional, statutory, or judicially imposed requirement that prevents public disclosures about a particular proceeding or matter; or
14 before a contract is awarded or bids are opened, discuss a matter directly related to a negotiating strategy or the contents of a bid or proposal, if public discussion or disclosure would adversely impact the ability of the public body to participate in the competitive bidding or proposal process.
C Members present and vote of each member as to closing the session:
Victoria Jackson-Stanley (only in a tie)
Jackie Vickers Vote: Y
Donald Sydnor Vote: Y
Octavene Saunders Vote: deceased
Gage Thomas Vote: Y
Robert Hanson Vote: Y
Motion to close meeting: Comm. Sydnor Seconded: Comm. Thomas
D Topics Discussed: Explanation of topics to be discussed (this may be by reference to the citation of authority listed above if further explanation would thwart the purpose of closing the meeting: (1) Recommendations from City's auditors; (2) Sailwinds Park Project
E Persons Present at the Closed Session: If listing an individual as present would thwart the purpose of closing the meeting, do not list the individual but note that an individual was not listed for this reason Mayor Stanley, Commissioner Vickers, Commissioner Sydnor, Commissioner Thomas, Commissioner Hanson, Ed Kinnamon, Rob Collison, Oden Wheeler; Ginger Heatwole and Boyd Bounds representing PKS & Company
F Actions Taken at the Closed Session: No motions were made.