City Council Minutes
June 9, 2008
June 9, 2008
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, June 9, 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 May 27, 200 8 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. Commissioner Brooks stated that the meeting minutes from April 14th and April 28th have not been approved because the Council has not met with Rob Collison yet.
Elaine Stafford Representing Residents of the Council of the Housing Authority of Cambridge to Discuss a Petition for the Changing of Name of Camelia Circle-Elaine Stafford said she is President of the Resident Council of Calvin Mowbray Park and Steven Camper Park. The residents had a meeting knowing that Mrs. Gloria Richardson was the leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and was responsible for getting these places built. Gloria Richardson, and Mayor Calvin Mowbray were summonsed to Washington DC by Robert Kennedy to get the matter of public housing straightened out. In the 1960s they looked at some of the substandard housing. Some of the houses had dirt floors. The people had to put cardboard and newspaper on the ground and then put 2 pieces of linoleum on top of that. They had to put tin on top of the linoleum to put their heating appliance on. There were situations where 5 or 6 different families were using 1 flush toilet. These are the things that brought Gloria Richardson to Washington. Mayor Mowbray agreed that the City would see to it that the residents of Cambridge had decent housing. It was agreed at the meeting with Robert Kennedy that Cambridge would get 225 units. They only got 150 at first. Then they got 40 units. They never got the other 35 units. They are asking that the Mayor and Commissioners support them in having the name of Camelia Circle changed to Gloria Richardson Circle. She submitted a petition to Council that was signed by 100% of the head of households on the street. Commissioner Sydnor said he thinks it is a very worthwhile initiative that the City can show for someone who has done a lot of work for the citizens of Cambridge. Elaine Stafford said Gloria Richardson came from a well-to-do family. Her grandfather was the first African-American City Commissioner that was appointed to the Cambridge City Council. He stayed on for over 40 years. The house numbers will remain the same. The name of the street will be different. Commissioner Cephas said he supports the idea 100%. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to change the name of Camelia Circle to Gloria Richardson Circle. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Portia Johnson Ennels said she lives in Calvin Mowbray Park. She could not sign the petition because she lives on another street. She is in full support of the City changing the name to Gloria Richardson Circle. Commissioner Sydnor asked if there was any way to get the other 35 units. Elaine Stafford said after the 90 units were built and before the other 40 units were built, HUD came into Cambridge and asked the Board of Commissioners if they would agree to put 35 units in another ward and then HUD would give the City another 35 elderly units in the Second Ward. At time the Board of Commissioners refused it. Dan Beall asked if Council looked to see if there is already another Richardson Drive and/or Circle. He also would like to know how much it would cost to do this. Mayor Rippons said he does not think there is another Gloria Richardson Circle in the City. Steve Johnson said he estimates the cost of the signs would be $200. Commissioner Cephas said the major change would be that the residents would have to notify everybody of the change to the name of their street. Labella Kane said the only cost she could possible see is that they would have to put a new street sign on each side. Mayor Rippons asked Ed Kinnamon if there have been other street name changes. He was wondering if they could change it pending Mr. Collison's consideration. Commissioner Brooks said the City changed the name of the street near the new public safety building. Mayor Rippons said Rob Collison did research on that change. Ed Kinnamon said he is not aware of any problem it would make. The local residents would have to change their personal information. Commissioner Brooks said she wishes Rob Collison would send a representative when he is unable to attend a Council meeting. The vote to change the name of Camelia Circle to Gloria Richardson Circle passed unanimously.
Habitat for Humanity of Talbot & Dorchester Counties to Request Letter of Support of a Rural Maryland Council Continuation Grant-Jackalyn Noller, VP of the Board of Habitat for Humanity of Talbot & Dorchester Counties, said they are grateful for the Council's support since 2006 for their homebuilding program that gives opportunities for first-time homeownership to those individuals residing or working in Dorchester or Talbot Counties who are making 50% or less of the median income for the area. Since that start date in 2006, they have sought partnership with Cambridge, Hurlock, and Vienna as well as Dorchester County to increase the availability of decent affordable homes. The City Council has granted them non-financial support as they applied to various State of Maryland funding sources. Due to the public sector financial support they have received from the State of Maryland and from their private sector donors, they have been very successful. They just transferred the third home in Dorchester County last month. They have 5 formal sales contracts on Dorchester land parcels which will settle by the end of 2008. They have 4 others under negotiation in Dorchester County. They have 2 families actively getting their hours and 5 more in the wings. In January 2007 they were awarded a grant for operating expenses from the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund. They are asking for the City's support as they go forward to request a continuation of this grant. It has helped them hire a full time special construction manager. They are requesting a letter of support from the City.
Commissioner Cephas made a motion to grant a letter of support. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Commissioner Sydnor asked how many of the properties under contract are in Cambridge. Jackalyn Noller said they are all in-fill lots in the City of Cambridge.
Habitat for Humanity of Talbot & Dorchester Counties to Request Impact fee Abatement for New Home Construction at 504 Edgewood Avenue-Jackalyn Noller said in 2006, Habitat asked the City Council consider them as a non-profit developer of affordable housing. To keep their costs of the home at a point that they feel is affordable, they asked for the City's help in the form of impact fee abatement. The City granted this request for the 3 properties they already purchased. They are now in the process of readying the permit paperwork to start building a single-family home on 504 Edgewood Avenue and would appreciate the City's consideration again to grant them an impact fee abatement. Commissioner Sydnor asked if there was an existing home on the property. Jackalyn Noller said this particular property never had a dwelling on it. Ed Kinnamon asked if Dorchester County gives them the same consideration. Jackalyn Noller said the County pays their excise taxes as a similar approach. In Easton's code, they have an enabling segment that they do not have to come forward each time they are going to get a permit. A non-profit homebuilder has abated impact fees. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to abate the impact fees. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Dan Beall asked how much the impact fees are and how many the City has already given. Mayor Rippons said the impact fees are $4500. Jackalyn Noller said the City has abated them 3 times. Dan Beall asked how many times they have given an abatement to other companies building low-income housing. Commissioner Brooks said they have given them to non-profits and also places like Conifer and Cambridge Club Apartments. Dan Beall asked if the Council considered the amount this is going to cost the taxpayers. Commissioner Brooks said she does not have the figures before her but they were given totals in each and every one. It was $4500 for each of the 3 Habitat for Humanity homes. Ed Kinnamon said Conifer received a reduced rate but he does not recall the amount. Mayor Rippons said for Conifer he thinks it would be between a quarter and a half million dollars in savings. Dan Beall said we have a City with one of the highest tax rates in the State and one of the lowest incomes in the State and yet we are foregoing impact fees. Commissioner Brooks said we have a City that has no homes for low-income families. We have a City that needs more elderly homes and more low-income housing. So to meet the needs of all the residents within the City, we have to look at the people who are well off as well as those who are not well off. They are trying to make a home for everybody-not just the segment of the population who can afford the $300,000 and $400,000 homes but also the population that is only going to bring in $9,000 to $10,000 a year. When they do this, they keep in mind the homeless that we may have on the street and then that will be another tax to the homeowners within the City of Cambridge if we have to build a shelter for them. Dan Beall said the question goes back to how many homes we have that are low-income homes. Mayor Rippons said this will be analyzed in the City's new Comprehensive Plan. Dan Beall suggested it would be logical to wait until we have those numbers so we know where we stand. He is all for giving a break to certain non-profits but they should know what the figures are first. It they do not do that, it is irresponsible government. Commissioner Brooks said she thought she remembered Mr. Beall standing before Council and asking them to do away with the impact fees altogether. Mr. Beall said that is correct. Commissioner Brooks asked him if he took into consideration what that would cost the taxpayers. Mr. Beall said he asked the Council not to have the impact fees but to look at alternatives. They did not do this. Portia Johnson-Ennels said Habitat is a non-profit. Conifer Village is a for-profit. She said when the Mayor explained to them several weeks ago about the money for Conifer Village and then last week they heard about needing dollars during the budget hearings. Somewhere along the line, Council will have to put a limit on how many times a non-profit or any other for-profit business is going to come to Council and ask for an abatement of the impact fees because they need that money. She is for affordable housing and housing for everybody but there is a point where the government has to look at how much they are willing to give away. There were mistakes made on Cedar Street when a whole lot was given away with no impact fees. She can see abating a portion of the impact fees; but not 100%. Jackalyn Noller said about 6 months ago Habitat asked for a consideration on excess City-owned property. There was no money being generated for property taxes. They asked for the land as a donation. It was bid on and Habitat paid market rates for the properties. They are not settled yet but they have a sales contract at market rates for 2 single-family homes. Those property taxes have to be looked at as well when they have a challenge that they are not bringing in revenue from an impact fee. She asked what they are getting on a yield over 30-year mortgages for property tax. Habitat is a nationwide organization with over 1700 affiliates and over 85% have impact fee or local jurisdiction fee abatement to keep the homes affordable. In many areas, especially rural counties, they are the only developer who is building homes for homeownership. They are not asking the City to give money from the City coffers. They are just asking for the City not to receive monies on this particular issue called impact fees. Commissioner Brooks said there was a motion made a while back by Council to have a performance audit performed. Within that performance audit, if the motion has been granted, the effectiveness of impact fees would have been studied. Some Commissioners have taken Mr. Beall's information very seriously and have considered the impact that they are having on putting this impact fee on potential homeowners. Between the impact fee and the excise tax and all the other taxes, it sometimes frightens a person out of being able to purchase a home. They have been studying whether or not the impact fee is something that this City has to use or is there another alternative resource. Commissioner Sydnor said in reference to Mr. Beall's question, Commissioner Brooks has brought before Council many times the comparison between the impact fee and excise taxes. Impact fees can only be used in certain areas. The excise tax gives the City more discretion to use them as part of the general fund. At the present time they are under the impact fee. Mr. Collison is supposed to look at that comparison to see what would be more advantageous to Cambridge. The motion to abate the impact fees for the Habitat's new construction on 504 Edgewood Avenue passed unanimously.
Recommendation to Award Contract for Camper Street Improvements-Steve Johnson said the bids came in over what they had in the budget. To come up with the funds, he suggested taking funds that were not expended in other accounts. They need $137,405 in order to pay for the project. Commissioner Sydnor asked who determined the $11,400 portion of the expense that the developer who is building in that area has agreed to pay. Steve Johnson said the City Engineer, in negotiating with the developer, looked at what work could be apportioned to the development and the value of that work. Commissioner Sydnor asked if this could be moved to the City's 2009 budget. Steve Johnson said it could be moved. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to follow the recommendation of the Department of Public Works but moving this to the 2009 budget. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Brooks asked if they will be able to utilize any of the impact fees for these improvements because Camper Street is going to be right next to another development. She asked if the development would have any impact on Camper Street. Ed Kinnamon said he doesn't believe it would. If the development has an impact due to growth, then they could consider it but that would be the only reason. Commissioner Brooks said they should look at the funding source to see if it will have an impact and if so, then the impact fees may be an alternate funding The motion passed unanimously. [Note from typist: The recommendation was to award the project to David A. Bramble, Inc. for $137,405.]
Recommendation to Award Contract for Demolition of Three Structures (507 Rigby; 607 Robbins; 213 Washington)-Steve Johnson said they have a very advantageous bid to the City. They would like to use the abatement fees that have been collected so far this year to pay for the demolition. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the recommendation of DPW. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Sydnor said Steve Johnson mentioned in his letter that $8500 has been collected in fines. The City has assessed over $100,000 but has actually collected about $8500. The motion to accept the recommendation of DPW to award the contract for $8600 to Dorchester Dumpin' Company passed unanimously.
Discuss IT Consultant Services-Steve Johnson said the bids for this contract came in substantially higher than what they anticipated. His recommendation is that they do not award the contract.
Introduction of Ordinance to Amend Section 12-18 of the City Code to Clarify That the Discharge of BB Guns and Pellet Guns, etc. Is Prohibited Within the City Limits-Commissioner Brooks asked that this be deferred until Mr. Collison is present. Commissioner Cephas asked Chief Malik what problems they are having. Chief Malik said with the way the current ordinance is written, it says gun or firearm. This new ordinance clarifies that BB guns and pellet guns are illegal. It is more of a housecleaning thing. The terminology has been in question and it can be questioned in juvenile court or somewhere like that. They would like to clarify the ordinance itself to specifically outlaw BB guns and pellet guns. Commissioner Cephas said a friend of his lives on Bayly Road and he has 2½ to 3 acres and part of his yard goes into the woods. His grandson from Wilmington has a BB gun and they shoot it weekends on his property which is in the City limits. He would not even have the opportunity to come down and shoot his BB gun. Chief Malik said that is correct, by law he would not. Generally, if he is out in the woods and nobody calls and complains, then the police would not even know he is out there shooting it. Technically, that is correct within the City limits. He thinks this is something where they have to look at the broader picture. We are a residential area and we have kids walking around with BB guns and pellet guns and we have to make sure that they are correct in the law if they take some type of enforcement action. Commissioner Cephas said maybe they would revisit it and make an age limit or supervision by an adult or something to that nature. Chief Malik suggested Commissioner Cephas talk to Rob Collison. Commissioner Knox said he supports the ordinance. He recently saw 2 individuals having a pellet battle on the streets. They were hiding behind the houses. He thinks the ordinance is needed.
Mr. Murphy said BB guns caused over $4000 in property damage on his property in the City. He supports the ordinance so the people can be dealt with if they are caught. It is causing the homeowners a lot of money. Commissioner Brooks agreed that BB guns and pellet guns can be very dangerous. Children have been blinded by BB gun and pellet gun accidents when adults were not supervising them. When a person shoots at someone's property, there should be some consequence. However, what Commissioner Cephas is talking about is someone shooting a BB gun on their own personal enclosed property where there will be no danger to anyone else. She said he is looking for Council to take a look at that small segment of the ordinance. She does not agree that if someone's backyard is open that they should be shooting a BB gun because you can hit someone who is in their own yard. She thinks language should be included to allow BB guns and pellet guns when a property owner has an enclosed safe area. Mr. Chaney said the problem with BB guns is that when a person shoots a window out, it costs as much to have that replacement window fixed as it does to actually buy an entire window. Some of the new BB guns and pellet guns are capable of having the same power as a 22. If they are to be supervised, they need gun lock; the guns need to be in safes; they need to be out of the reach of children. Commissioner Cephas said he is opposed to kids running around with BB guns. This is an isolated situation. The gentleman he is speaking about has 2½ to 3 acres. At one time it was not even included in the City limits. He has a huge backyard. His grandson shoots into the woods from his yard. He has a target and it is supervised. He suggested a provision for a certain age. He is not in favor of running around with a BB gun. Having someone damage property is not good. He suggested if someone has a certain amount of land maybe they would be allowed to use one. Commissioner Sydnor said some work can be done to the ordinance before Council has their first reading at the next meeting.
Request from the Cambridge Fourth of July Boat Parade Committee for a Noise Variance to Permit Firing of Salute Cannons (Parade Begins at 4:00 pm)-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Request for a Dog Waste Disposal Station in Cannery Way on Race Street-Steve Johnson said the Department of Public Works will look at the request because they would have to take care of it and buy the supplies, etc.
Set Real and Personal Property Tax Rates for FY2009-Commissioner Brooks said she disagrees with the statement that Mr. Kinnamon made in his memo to Council. It says "If you do not plan to raise taxes, a motion needs to be made establishing the City of Cambridge real property tax rate at 0.676 cents per $100 of assessed value." She said that is exactly what we have right now. However, in the letter that they were given, if Council continues it at 0.676 cents, property taxes in the City of Cambridge will be raised. Ed Kinnamon said the City will receive more revenue because of the increase in assessments. Commissioner Brooks said then they will be raised. The property taxes will be higher. No matter how you look at it, you are going to be paying more property taxes in the City of Cambridge. Ed Kinnamon said they are taking about tax rates. Commissioner Brooks said it is still the tax rate. She said Council was given an idea of a small part that they could lower. She asked if they were finished with the budget yet. Mayor Rippons said the budget was just short of $2.6 million over. He now has it down under $1 million. There are a couple of other considerations. He notified the department heads today and is waiting for input from them. Commissioner Brooks said she would like to see what the final budget looks likes before they make a final decision on this. Commissioner Sydnor said if they do not make a decision on the tax rate, they will not be presented the tax bills until maybe August. The County is ready to go with theirs and the City's is tied to the County. He understands what Commissioner Brooks is saying that the people may be paying more money but they are keeping tax yield at the same. They may pay more money because of assessments. Commissioner Brooks asked if Council knows what they are going to need. Commissioner Sydnor said they are definitely going to need 0.676. Commissioner Brooks said Council needs the information as to what they are going to need before they pass information like this. She understands it is tied to the County. Making decisions like this before they have everything in front of them can ultimately hurt the taxpayers. She said we are No. 19 when it comes to paying taxes in Dorchester County and the City of Cambridge. We are pretty high as a municipality. She wants to be certain that there are no other avenues that we can pick prior to doing this. Commissioner Sydnor said the budget came in $2.6 million over. This is not even considering the capital. It is salaries and operations. Council has to get it down within 3 weeks. They are at the point of looking at operations at this particular time and may have to go further than operations which is why Council will have to meet together to see how deep we will make this budget. It is going to be a very conservative budget. He thinks the department heads realize it. Part of the problem is that we have the public safety building and we have to pay the debt service on the building. We have not provided in our budget from the general funds to pay the debt service. We also have the marina that we are paying debt service on. He said the City gets statements back from the State Department of Assessments of the 2 numbers. The first number is if we leave it at 0.676 or put it at the constant yield rate that would generate the same amount of money that we received last year. They took the higher one because it would help more with the general fund. This is a situation as Commissioner Brooks mentioned before with the excise tax and impact fees. If they had the excise tax, then they could utilize that money in different areas. With the impact fee, they cannot do that. This amount has been included as to what they want to do with this year's budget. Commissioner Brooks said they need to be looking at impact fees, excise taxes, and alternative funding. For the budget itself, if the 0.676 was included in the budget before Council's approval, that was a little premature. Mayor Rippons said the budget has not been approved. He took the number 0.676 as a base number and used it to connote the projected revenues along with several other sources. Since the budget has not been adopted, it is not premature consideration. He had to come up with a number. That is the number he put in there. Council has their leisure to reduce it because the budget has not been approved but when you sit down with this protracted number and you still have a $2.6 million deficit to balance, that is why he utilized that number. Commissioner Brooks said there is a lot in the budget that we need to cut out to try to balance the budget. The entire budget has not yet been presented to the entire Council. She understands we are holding the County up and she understands the City's needs. She is just having a little bit of difficulty voting for the 0.676 without all the figures in front of her. Commissioner Sydnor said their choice is either to vote for the 0.676 or vote for 0.6333 which is the constant yield or anything in between. They have to vote in order to give the information to the State. They do not have enough time to wait. If they go with another number, they will have to look at where they will find the funding to offset it.
Gage Thomas asked about the deadline for getting the information to the State. Ed Kinnamon said the deadline is tomorrow. They are holding it up for us. He was called on Thursday and was told they wanted the information the next day. The supervisor told him they are waiting for him to call her in the morning. Dan Beall asked the consequences of not having this information to the State on time. Ed Kinnamon said he understanding it will hold us up from not having our bills out and will hold the City up in receiving the revenue. We will still get it but it will be delayed.
Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to keep the real estate property tax rate at $0.676 per $100 of assessed value. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:1 with Commissioner Brooks opposed.
Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to keep the personal property tax rate at $1.69 per $100 of assessed value. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Request from Delmarva Community Services for the City to Continue In-Kind Lighting for Their Parking Lot on Route 16-Ed Kinnamon provided Council with letters dating back to 1998 when the City offered to pay for the lighting as part of a Community Development Block Grant. The City has now met their obligation. Commissioner Sydnor said it looks like Delmarva Community Services now owes the City some money. Mayor Rippons said they are requesting that the City continue to light their property. Commissioner Knox said as much as he would like to help them out, the City is having a hard enough time as it is. The contract was made a long time ago and the time is up. Commissioner Knox made a motion to request reimbursement of the over-expenditure of the City and not to honor the request to continue in-kind lighting. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Budget Amendment for CPD-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox asked if Chief Malik was planning to buy more bicycles in next year's budget. Chief Malik said they may need to with the gas situation the way it is. Commissioner Sydnor asked if the money that Chief Malik asked to transfer for printer supplies could be held over until next year. Chief Malik said it could not. If they do not have the printer cartridges, they will not be able to print their reports. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Invoices-Commissioner Brooks asked if the wetlands disturbance license could be paid in July. Steve Johnson said it could. Commissioner Sydnor asked how many of the items on DPW's list could be carried over to next year's budget. Steve Johnson said the wetlands permit could be carried over until the next year; however, that is the only one. Commissioner Brooks asked about the CorelDraw Graphics Software. Steve Johnson said they could be deferred also. Commissioner Sydnor asked if the invoices have been submitted for Purchase Orders 91191 and 91192. Steve Johnson said they have been submitted. They are old bills from December and January. They just came by his office last week. Commissioner Brooks asked about Purchase Order 91194 for Moonflicks. Steve Johnson said the City is committed to funding these outdoor movies in the City. They received a grant for half of the cost. He would not recommend deferring it. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the invoices with the exception of the invoices relating to Purchase Orders 91190 and 91199. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Sydnor told the department heads that although when they look at their particular budget it may seem that they have some funds in particular accounts, honestly they do not. That is why they are going to look very closely at purchase orders. To the department heads, the funds are there; however, to Mr. Kinnamon, they are not there. That is why they are looking to see what they can carry over to Budget Year 2009.
Commissioner Knox said he will not be able to attend the Council meeting on Monday, June 16th. Ed Kinnamon said typically Council sets that meeting on the third Monday because on the fourth Monday, they are at a conference. In trying to use their time the wisest, Council needs to review the budget. Earlier this evening, he suggested to Commissioner Sydnor that Council meet on Wednesday, June 25th, which is the day they come back from the conference. This will give them additional time to review their copy of the budget. He is trying not to extend it to June 30th, because of the holiday and the payroll that has to be done by the end of the year. Council decided to hold their next meeting on Wednesday, June 25th, at 7:00 pm. There will not be a meeting held on June 16th.
Commissioner Cephas said several months ago Mrs. Saunders came before Council and proposed a community garden. He volunteered to help. He met with Jimmy Cornish and John Seward and looked through the City for a piece of City-owned property to have this garden. An individual on South Pine said they could use his land. The three gentlemen were standing at the property and 2 kids were walking across the field. He asked them what they thought about a community garden where they could grow things. The kids said yes. There is nothing to do in this City. They started naming things they could grow in their garden. They suggested flowers so the bees could pollinate the vegetables. They are going to send out leaflets talking about the community garden to get some community input. The City spent over $10 million on a public safety building. It is time to spend some money on the kids for a community center. If they found the money for the building, they can find the money for our future. It is time to step up to the plate and do something for our future.
Commissioner Brooks said the Traffic and Safety Committee met to discuss 3 issues. A sign was missing from Muir and Academy Streets. They should have it by the end of the week. Another issue was the parking lot across from the old police department building. There were complaints that there were weeds growing between the cracks and it is not being taken care of. The downtown businesses need to utilize that parking lot. Some of the store owners have been keeping it clean. Steve Johnson said the street sweeper was not working but it is working today. They have a backlog of areas to sweep and clean. Commissioner Brooks said hopefully they could put some weed killer on the weeds. Commissioner Brooks said there was an issue about detour signs on Race Street. Commissioner Brooks made a motion that Council approves the detour signs for Race Street; however, take Mr. Duffy up on his offer. He stated he may be able to help the City find funding from Main Street for the detour signs. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Steve Johnson said even though we have some financial difficulties, those do not stop emergencies. They have an emergency back-up that they need to pay for out of the sewer fund. It is near the County pool. He took 3 phone bids and found that the City will have to expend at least $2,450 to take care of the emergency. There is an 8-in. sewer line that is full of tree roots. It is about a day's worth of labor-maybe more. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to take the lowest bid to get the work done. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Brooks said they received a letter from the Blackwater Landing Homeowners Association. The Traffic and Safety Committee already met and Council approved 25 mph speed limit signs on Hibiscus Lane. The letter states that the Homeowners Association would like 15 mph signs. Chief Malik said 15 mph is fine. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to install 15 mph speed limit signs on Eagles Nest Way, Robbins Farm Road, Caribbean Avenue, Pacific Avenue, and Osprey Circle. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox asked the cost of the signs. Steve Johnson said it depends on the size of the sign. They are at least $50 a piece. He does not know how many signs will be on each street. Commissioner Brooks asked what the speed limit would be on Hibiscus Lane. Steve Johnson said that street is long enough that people are not going to drive 15 mph. Commissioner Knox suggested that if there is a list like this one in the future, he would like to look at it before the meeting. The motion passed unanimously.
Steve Johnson said last year the County lent the City a spray station which was erected at Long Wharf. They are going to re-install it at Long Wharf again due to the heat wave.
Steve Johnson said they had intended to start resurfacing work this week. It starts with milling the street and putting down a new wearing surface. The contractor's milling machine is broken. He thinks it will be working on Wednesday so they will start milling on Wednesday and that means the paving will start a week from Wednesday.
Steve Johnson has received 2 requests that he recommends be referred to the Traffic & Safety Committee. One is for an extended marking of "no parking" on Race Street in the vicinity of Governor's Avenue. The other one is a stopping bar added next to a stop sign at the intersection of South Side and Stone Boundary. With regard to the second request, they may make it a practice in the future that when they install a stop sign, that they paint the bar in the roadway to give people 2 types of warning that they must stop.
Ed Kinnamon said on Saturday, June 14th the City will give tours of the new public safety building on Washington Street from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Portia Johnson-Ennels said going back to the lengthy discussions about the impact fees, Council approved a motion that if there was an existing piece of property that there would be no impact fees. To her, if there was never anything there whatsoever, whether it is for-profit or a non-profit, there should be a charge for impact fees. They need to decide how many times they are going to give the same entity this abatement.
Jim Chaney said he has been listening to budget amendment and how the City is so broke and how they are over-budget on everything. He asked why the departments have to come before the City Council and ask for budget amendments when conventions are being undertaken and various seminars are being attended and there is no mention of that or budget amendments for that. Commissioner Sydnor said they never said the City was broke. They are trying to better utilize the funds that they have appropriated for the budget of 2008. At one of the Council meetings it was stated why they were in this particular situation. We had an auditor here to explain why we were in this situation. It went back from something that occurred possibly in 2006 that we thought we had in 2007 that we did not have that carryover that they attempted to utilize in 2008. This is what is setting the stage that we utilize the funds that we have to make sure that our budget at the end of 2008 is not going to be in a deficit situation. That is why they are asking the department heads for zero amount at this time because normally it would be $2500 before they had to come before Council so they will have better control over what the end balance will be for Fiscal Year 2008. Mr. Chaney asked if the City is over budget on anything. Commissioner Sydnor said we are not broke. Mr. Chaney asked if we are over budget on DPW, CPD, or City Council. Ed Kinnamon said there are some things that are over budget. That is the reason we have budget amendments. It re-aligns what was approved earlier in the year. The carryover that Commissioner Sydnor just talked about that we really didn't have is the reason that we are so careful at this point not to have any further problems. Hopefully this is a one-time bite that we are having to take that we will not experience in the future. There may still be some items that are over budget and this is the reason for budget amendments. Mr. Chaney asked what Mr. Kinnamon feels is over budget. Mr. Kinnamon said it would be anything that is beyond the budgeted figures. Mr. Chaney said he understands that City Council is getting ready to go to a convention. Mr. Kinnamon said it is an annual summer conference. It was budgeted. Mayor Rippons asked if it is within the budget. Mr. Kinnamon said he believes there is a few hundred dollars beyond the total budget that was budgeted initially last year. He thinks it may be $500 to $600. Mr. Chaney asked if this is being amended like DPW has to amend their budget. Mr. Kinnamon said it has not been amended yet, but he will have to bring it before Council at the next meeting.
With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, June 9, 2008, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon
Clerk & Treasurer