City Council Minutes
September 22, 2009
September 22, 2008
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, September 22, 2008 in Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Sydnor, Stout, Thomas, and Hanson.
Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley asked for a moment of silence. Commissioner Hanson led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 8, 2008 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion was passed 4:0.
Habitat for Humanity of Talbot and Dorchester Counties to Request a Letter of Support for Their Grant Application to the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust to Obtain Funds for Their Homeownership Program to Acquire Land Parcels and Build New Homes Using Green Building Technologies-Jackie Noller said they are applying for funds that are set aside from escrow taxes to be used for affordable homebuilding and are asking for a letter of support from Council. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to submit a letter of support. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Representatives from Main Street to Request Letter of Support for Urban Greening Grant-Meredith Lathbury and Dave Harp asked for a letter of support to the Chesapeake Bay Trust. They are asking for just under $10,000 to help support a volunteer-driven tree inventory so they can inventory all of the trees in the downtown. They also would like to plant approximately 25 urban trees in front of homes of businesses. It would be completely voluntary. The homeowner or business owner would sign a maintenance agreement. They want to start in the "Main Street" and "Maple Street" areas. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to submit a letter of support. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Wanda Cole and Jim Newcomb to Presenting the Little Blackwater River Watershed Management Plan-Copies of the plan were given to Council and are available on the City's website. The Little Blackwater Advisory Group is a technical group formed to provide a baseline assessment of water quality, water volume, water levels, elevations, foliage, animals, etc. They received a grant from DNR to develop a management plan. They also received monitoring money to see if there are pesticides in the water and to perform run-off water quality testing. Ms. Cole presented the plan to Council. The City and County both implemented a policy where all new development within this particular watershed would have to manage for the 10-year storm even though the State law requires the 2-year storm. They would like this codified in the zoning code. The biological oxygen demand samples were very good. There were no pesticides appearing in the groundwater. Of the 750 acres that the State purchased, one-third will remain agricultural; one-third will be planted in trees; and one-third will be turned into 40-ft wooded swamps to help clean the water and slow it down before it enters the Little Blackwater system. They will have a public information day on-site to explain it to the public. One recommendation is to de-annex the property. They are looking for a vote of support from the City Council at the next meeting. Commissioner Hanson suggested a public hearing.
Deborah Johnson, The Corporation for Healthy Homes & Economic Development, to Give Final Report on Lead Hazard Risk Reduction Program-Deborah Johnson said in June 2006, her corporation worked with the City to create a lead risk reduction program. It was a joint project through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The purpose was to eliminate and reduce the amount of hazardous lead-based paint in rental housing that housed limited-income families. Her corporation monitored the project; selected and supervised the contractor; and insured that all who were bidding were certified and had an MHIC license and were qualified to do the work. They worked with all the homeowners who were interested in enrolling in the program. Over 100 landowners responded. They were able to treat 17 units belonging to 5 landowners. Landowners were qualified if their tenants earned below the area median income. S&G Contracting was the only qualified contractor in Cambridge who responded to the bid. The grant amount was approximately $200,000. Ms. Johnson said The Corporation for Healthy Homes would like to continue to build a partnership with Cambridge to address lead hazard problems that still exist. Approximately 76% of the existing housing stock in Cambridge qualifies as a lead concern. Her corporation's compensation for the management of that program amounted to about $6,250. They are interested in preparing a grant directly to HUD for a local program to be administered here; however, HUD's grant cycle is not open at this time. Council will have a written report by their next meeting.
Ordinance to Prohibit Camping in the City Limits-Rob Collison said as drafted, the ordinance would permit overnight camping in tents or trailers on privately-owned property for up to 7 nights without Council approval. If someone was going to camp for more than 7 nights, they would have to get a temporary license from Council which would not exceed 30 days. On publicly-owned land, you could use a tent or trailer for social, religious, or commercial purposes for up to 15 days with the Council's permission. Council will only allow camping on publicly-owned property for up to 7 days (with prior approval). A clause will be added to prohibit people from camping for 5 days, leaving for 1 day, and then returning. Rob Collison will submit another draft for Council to review.
Second Reading on Ordinance to Increase the Number of Members of the Municipal Utilities Commission from Five to Six-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the ordinance. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Discuss Community Legacy Grant Applications-Anne Roane said the deadline for the application is October 29th. Some of the projects they are talking about are: (1) updating the zoning ordinance; (2) a comprehensive parking study; (3) engineering costs for the lighthouse; and (4) another phase for the streetscape project. She asked Council and the public to submit other ideas. Council will have to prioritize the applications. The purpose of the grant is for community revitalization.
Approve Cost-Share Agreement for Christ Rock Public Water Service Project-Anne Roane said this is a requirement of the Maryland Department of the Environment. Rob Collison said the Christ Rock area was proposed for annexation. The property owners provided conditional consent based on the final dollar amount that it will cost them to connect to the water and sewer. At this time, the City does not have the total costs. Anne Roane said they have been told that a little over $800,000 has been approved for the project. When they applied for the grant, the total cost for water and sewer was around $1.2 million. They applied to the Community Development Block Grant program for the $500,000 gap funding but did not receive it. The City will submit another application in the spring. They will prepare an RFP and get the engineering for the actual water and sewer. When they submit the CDBG application in the spring, they will also ask for connection fees. At this point, they feel confident it will not cost the community anything. The community will be updated at a meeting shortly. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the cost-sharing agreement for the Christ Rock public water service project. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
City Government Website and Website Video Promotion by CGI Communica-tions-Natalie Chabot said she has heard that several members of Council have expressed an interest in updating the City's government website. The City has a second website that focuses on economic development and tourism. They received quotes last year that ranged from $4,000 to about $9,000. She has asked them to give her a quote to update the government website. Another option would be to merge the 2 websites. The proposal to re-design the government website would be about $1200. There would also be a monthly maintenance fee. CGI is a production company that had an agreement with the previous Council to do a web video. It is free to the City; the cost is being paid through advertisers. Commissioner Hanson made a motion to solicit seals bids for updating the City's website. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0. Oden Wheeler and Natalie Chabot will work on the specs.
Approval of an Administrative Standard Operating Procedure (ASOP) for Discounted Marine Fuel Price for Large Fleets of Transient Boaters-Rob Collison said Steve Johnson requested this procedure. Approximately 80 trawlers are coming to Cambridge for a rendezvous this weekend which will bring in excess of $18,000 in transient boater fees. A 10¢ per gallon discount on marine fuel will help attract other large groups. The discount would apply to groups of 20 or more who are paying transient slip fees. Commissioner Hanson suggested a percentage rather than a 10¢ discount. George Hyde said they did research on what other marinas did and this was common to what they found. Commissioner Sydnor said the marina is supposed to support itself; however, it is not supporting itself. The Council cannot put the City in debt for something that is not profitable at the present time. He suggested waiting on this ASOP. George Hyde said this is a promotional tool to draw more traffic and sell more fuel. Commissioner Stout made a motion to approve an ASOP to give large groups (15 or more) of boaters who pay for transient slips, a 10¢ per gallon discount on fuel. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:1 with Commissioner Sydnor opposed.
Formally Approve Amendment to Airport Tech Park City/County Cost-Sharing Agreement-Rob Collison said the original loan amount was $1,718,896. There was an amendment in February 2008. When the system was designed, they did not anticipate that they were going to be using the Jacktown pumping station that is owned by the Sanitary District. The February 2008 amendment changed that because they felt it was a better design than constructing a new one. This new amendment will amend the loan amount to $2,987,500. It will be split with 76% being paid by the County and 24% by the City. A paragraph was added which states that the lots within the project will not be developed in such a way by MEDCO that would create a tax abatement that the City and County do not consent to. The $1,718,896 is already in the pipeline. The difference will have to be submitted as an additional amount. It could be by bond issuance if they decided to go that route. Because of that, he amended the term 'lender' because they may not wish to go with USDA because they may be able to get a better rate. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the amendment between the City and the County and the cost-sharing agreement. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. Commissioner Thomas said MEDCO is not a party to this agreement. Rob Collison said he is not sure if MEDCO obtained ownership of the land. The County purchased the farm. At some point it will be transferred to MEDCO. The County will market it. MEDCO will start selling the lot to end users. Commissioner Sydnor added to his motion that the City will make it clear to the County that they are agreeing to the additional $1.3 million provided it is clear that the parcels will not be tax abated without the City's and County's consent. The motion passed 4:0.
Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) Application Approval-Natalie Chabot said this grant is through the Department of Housing and Community Development. They will provide technical assistance toward the goals of communities. They have encouraged Cambridge to apply. Ms. Chabot said she would like to apply for assistance in structuring and implementing the revolving loan program. Commissioner Hanson made a motion to move forward with the revolving loan fund and the technical assistance grant. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Request from Hyatt for Skeet Shoot at Hole 17 at River Marsh Golf Course on Monday, October 6th-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Approve Budget Amendment for Department of Public Works-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commission Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Approve Budget Amendment for Cambridge Police Department and Purchase Order 4970 - Stalker Radar Applied Concepts - Radar Units & Speedboard - $10,180 (GOCCP Speed Control Initiative Grant Full Funding/No Matching Funds)-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the budget amendment and the purchase order. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. Commissioner Thomas made a friendly amendment that it be conditional upon replenishing the funds when the grant is approved. The motion passed 4:0.
Approve PO 4973 - Arrington Police Distributors - Ammunition - $2,999.73-The ammunition is for training purposes. It is required by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Approve PO 91238 - Dissen & Juhn - $103,460 - Construction of Stone Breakwater and Hydrographic Survey (50% reimbursable by DNR)-George Hyde said this work was completed in the prior fiscal year. Council had asked that the payment be deferred to this fiscal year. Commissioner Sydnor said this is a capital item so it will not come directly from the general fund. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Approve PO 4991 - Winstead's Fire Equipment - Pathfinder and Thermalert Heat Alarm and Required Equipment - $181,500 - RFC - Sole Source Supplier-This is a budgeted item. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Approve PKS & Company Invoice 00152189 for $10,000 - Progress Bill for FY 2008 Audit-Commissioner Hanson made a motion to approve the invoice. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Commissioner Sydnor asked that the department numbers be used with the complete account number on purchase orders. This will give Council a method of control to see that accounts are correct. Mayor Stanley will issue a memorandum to the Department Heads to make sure this is done.
Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:00 pm to discuss pending litigation.
Commissioner Thomas made a motion to forward a request from the County with regard to the proposed possible parking re-alignment near the courthouse to the Traffic and Safety Committee. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Rob Collison submitted an ASOP to Council with regard to being consistent in the recordkeeping of in-house posting and outside advertising of employee positions and have it come under the responsibility of the Administrator Coordinator/Human Resource Administrator. Commissioner Hanson made a motion to adopt the ASOP. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Commissioner Sydnor said the Cambridge Church of Christ applied for building permits and met all the conditions and qualifications of ASOP 37 to receive a 50% reimbursement of the fees now that they have their occupancy permit. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to allow Mr. Kinnamon to issue the reimbursement. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.
Commissioner Sydnor said the City spoke with the County Councilmen concerning using their machine to cut the high grass on Bayly Road. Mayor Stanley said the County has graciously reduced the price from $1000/hr to $345/hr. They will only bill the City for the amount of time used to cut the ditches.
Commissioner Stout thanked the Department of Public Works for their document on sidewalks and their willingness to work with the citizens if they have concerns about time limits and/or requirements of repairing sidewalks. He also appreciated the options issued.
Wendell Foxwell suggested that the City change their policy on boarded-up houses; they should be torn down. Rob Collison said you could have a situation where it does not qualify for demolition because the cost of repairs may not exceed the value. If the house is boarded-up and not inhabited, they may be within the law. There are some things the City could pursue as a policy to put a time limit on how long a property is boarded up and then some repercussions following that. Mr. Foxwell asked about the Rob Roy building. Rob Collison said it went to court about 10 years ago. At that time, it did not qualify for demolition because the cost to repair did not exceed the accessed value. Even if it does qualify for demolition today, the cost for tipping fees along would be tens of thousands of dollars. That is strictly a cost issue. George Hyde said DPW will give an update at the next meeting.
Rob Collison announced that the next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 14th, because Monday is Columbus Day.
With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, September 22, 2008, insofar as I personally am aware.
Oden C. Wheeler