City Council Minutes
October 14, 2008
October 14, 2008
The City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, October 14, 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 Knox, Sydnor, Stout, Thomas, and Hanson.
Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley asked for a moment of silence. Commissioner Hanson led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Hanson made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 22, 2008, Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
David Fang to Request a Resolution of Support for Conifer Village at Cambridge Phase II (70-Unit Senior Building)-Phase I, located at the end of Foxtail Drive, is a 76-unit, fully-leased project. They have approximately 150 people on the waiting list. Phase II will be age-restricted and income-restricted. It will be designed for folks with a median income of 30% to 60% of the area's median income as defined by HUD. Rents will range from about $280 to $610 for 1-bedroom units and $340 to $695 for the 2-bedroom units. The 10‑year tax abatement that the City granted in April still applies. The taxes will be reduced by $200 per unit per year for 10 years which will total $14,000 a year for 10 years or $140,000. The project will pay between $3,000 and $4,000 in impact fees per unit when the building permits are issued. In their public works agreement, it was suggested that the fee per unit for the road fee for the bypass road would not exceed $3,500. Council agreed in the past to make it $1,000 per unit instead of $3,500. Future plans include townhouses. Commissioner Knox made a motion to offer a resolution of support for the project. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Charles Evans to Make Urban Land Institute Presentation-The Urban Land Institute is an international organization that offers educational books and research for those involved in urban landscapes. A Delmarva Committee was formed to try to get cities and states together to communicate better to provide responsible sustainable growth on Delmarva. At a symposium held last week, Cambridge Main Street and the City of Cambridge received an award for their work in revitalizing downtown. Mr. Evans presented the awards to Mayor Stanley and Chad Malkus. Chad Malkus said Main Street could not have gotten this far without the generous financial and hand-on support of the City of Cambridge. Commissioner Sydnor said Main Street extends on Pine Street down to Washington Street. They are looking at ways to develop that area. Mayor Stanley commended Main Street for the exciting work they are doing.
Ordinance to Prohibit Camping in the City Limits-Rob Collison said the way the ordinance is written now, camping would be allowed on private property for up to 7 days. Beyond 7 days, the person would have to come before Council for a temporary license for up to 30 days. On public property, camping would be allowed for up to 7 days with permission from Council and up to 15 days for non-camping events on public property with permission from Council.
Set Halloween Trick-or-Treat Hours-Commissioner Hanson made a motion to allow trick-or-treating on Halloween (Friday, October 31st) between the hours of 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm for children ages 12 and under. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Request from the Maryland Dept. of Business and Economic Development to Erect a Tent at Long Wharf on October 27, 2008-Natalie Chabot said there is going to already be a tent at that location for the Schooner Rendezvous and they would like permission to extend it through the Monday event. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to grant approval to leave the tent up for October 27th. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Discuss AutoCAD Land Desktop 2009 Purchase-Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the purchase of AutoCAD Land Desktop purchase in the amount of $3,196.01 and associated Purchase Order No. 91265. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval for Electricity Rates-Ed Kinnamon said several years ago with the deregulation of electricity, the City had entered into an agreement to purchase electricity (energy costs) from a provider with Delmarva Power still being the carrier. Our current 3-year contract will expire in June 1, 2009. Our agent, APPI, contacted him and suggested that at this time, it is probably the lowest it will be. They have offered a rate of $0.10182 per kilowatt hour for 36 months. Steve Johnson says APPI offers 5 different possibilities. Integrys Energy is the best combination at the lowest rate and the fewest number of excluded accounts. He recommends entering into a contract with them for 36 months. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the rate from Integrys Energy at the rate of $0.10182 per kilowatt hour for a 3-year period. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Economic Development Plan Approval-Natalie Chabot requested permission to allow the Economic Development Department to apply for grants to fund an economic development strategic plan. Two agencies have expressed an interest in funding it. She would also like to establish a steering committee to see through the process of developing the strategic plan. The cost of the plan is estimated to be about $50,000. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the plan approval for the steering committee for the Economic Development Department along with approval for them to obtain the 2 grants for the plan. The names of the steering committee members will be approved at the next meeting. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Discuss Website Redesign and Management-Natalie Chabot presented specifications for Council to review. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request for RFPs. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Traffic & Safety Committee Report-The Committee met and discussed the following requests:
- Park Lane-It was suggested that Park Lane should be one-way from High Street to Leonard Lane because it is narrow and lacks sidewalks which forces children to walk in the street. The committee recommends granting this request.
- Leonard Lane-Because Leonard Lane varies in width, it was recommended that parking be restricted to one side of the street between Glasgow Street and Park Lane. The committee recommends that parking be allowed only on the east side of the street between Glasgow Street and Park Lane.
1. The committee does not recommend granting the request for 4 dual- painted walkways, painted 'stop' between the lines at the intersection of Bayly Avenue and Peach Blossom Avenue.
2. The committee does not recommend granting the request for a 25 mph speed limit sign at the beginning of each end of Bayly Avenue.
3. The committee does not recommend the 'radar enforced' signs, 'children playing' signs, and 'no trucks' signs. The committee recommends a 'no trucks over 10T GVW' sign at each end of Bayly Avenue.
4. The Police Department agrees to monitor compliance with stop signs and speed signs.
5. The committee does not recommend granting the request to move and/or add stop signs so that cars cannot block them.
Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve all the recommendations of the Traffic and Safety Committee from their September 19, 2008 meeting. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. Council began voting; however, a question was raised from the audience. Portia Johnson-Ennels said people are still using Park Lane as a two-way street in the section that is currently one-way. People ignore the signs. Chief Malik said that is not a good reason to deny the change. Mayor Stanley said people will have to change their pattern. The Police Department will help enforce it. Portia Johnson-Ennels suggested asking the citizens before a vote is taken. Mayor Stanley said the motion has been made and seconded to accept the report in it's entirety. The motion passed 3:1 with Commissioner Thomas abstaining and Commissioner Hanson opposed.
Commissioner Knox said the committee met on October 10th and discussed the following items:
- A request that the 'no parking except Sundays' signs on Church Street be changed to 'no parking' signs. The committee recommends approval of this request. Commissioner Hanson made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commission Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- A request was made for a new street light on Edgewood Avenue on Pole 32981. The committee recommends approval of this request. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the additional street light on Edgewood Avenue. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- A request was made to make Gay Street one-way in a northerly direction between Spring Street and Court Lane to support the new courthouse parking plan. The committee recommends approval condition on implementation of the new parking plan. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to accept the recommended. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- A request was made to paint stop lines on the road adjacent to the stop sign at the intersection of Locust and Mill Streets. The committee recommends approval. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- The committee recommends replacing a stop sign with a yield sign at the intersection of Woods and Roslyn Avenue. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- The committee recommends replacing the stop sign with a yield sign at the end of Washington Street near the Ace Hardware and the Egide entrance. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Resolution for Maryland Municipal League's Geocache Program-Ed Kinnamon said this is a tourism and economic development draw. People will log onto a Geocache website and learn things about different areas in the state. This is done all over the country. Using a hand-held GPS system, they can search out Geocaches. The City will put something inside it relating to the city. A stamp will also be included to stamp a card to prove you have been there. Maryland Municipal League has asked Cambridge to participate. It will cost the City no more than $30. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Purchase Orders:
- PO 4978 - Municipal Code Corporation - City Code Supplement No. 6 for $2,584
- PO 5005 - Wor-Wic Community College - Police Academy Tuition - 3 Recruits for $7,429.10
- PO 5006 - Ford Motor Credit - 2nd Year Lease Payment on CPD Vehicle C-30 for $5,584
Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve Purchase Orders 4978, 5005, and 5006. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Financial Statement for August 2008-Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the financial statement. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Sydnor asked for information on the upcoming Community Legacy grant applications. Natalie Chabot said the Lighthouse Committee is to submit a project; the Richardson Museum is going to submit a project; Main Street may be submitting a project; and the City will re-submit the application for a parking lot study. Commissioner Sydnor asked if Pine Street is included. Jim Duffy said they were talking about doing a streetscape project linking Gay Street to Pine Street, Muir Street to Pine Street, and then the 400 block of Pine Street. Commissioner said the City is looking at 4 years of neglect in the 700 block. If anything could be started, that would tremendously add to Main Street.
Mayor Stanley said she has had several conversations with the Amistad America Group. It is the Amistad Slave Ship that made the trans-Atlantic trip from Africa to America and all of the history that goes with it. They will be part of the Schooner Rendezvous next week. They will also be coming back in the spring.
Commissioner Thomas noted that Council has not yet received a final written report from Deborah Johnson from the Corporation for Healthy Homes.
Commissioner Thomas announced that the City received a letter from Dorchester County regarding the hotel tax. The City has requested an increase in the tax with part of it going toward EMS, tourism, and/or economic development. He suggested that Council pursue it again. Commissioners Knox and Thomas thought their presentation to the County was clear. Commissioner Sydnor said he thought there were some taxes that Cambridge did not consider. Hyatt has to pay an additional 2% tax on top of the other taxes that they are paying. Natalie Chabot said the law was changed about 2 or 3 years ago. Any hotel in Dorchester County with over 300 rooms has to pay an additional 2.5%. Hyatt is already collecting a higher fee from guests. It does not apply to the other hotels in the County. Commissioner Knox suggested an additional hotel tax increase for hotels under the 300 limit and at the same time make it clear that a portion of this tax would be designated for tourism and economic development. Rob Collison suggested an amendment to the existing law that eliminates the 300 room criteria. Council decided to revisit this issue with the County.
Ed Kinnamon said the City received a bill for use of the air conditioning at Sailwinds Park on Election Day. This was not a budgeted item. Commissioner Knox asked Steve Johnson and Chief Malik to come up with an estimated figure of in-kind services that they provide for Sailwinds. Chief Malik said Sailwinds pays the officers so they do not have any in-kind services. Steve Johnson said he will come up with a number. Mayor Stanley said it is time to invite the Sailwinds Board back to speak with Council.
Ed Kinnamon said the City received a bill for the purchase of a Christmas light fixture that he was not aware of. He contacted the company and according to them it was intended to be rented. This $4,000 unit was used the last 2 years. He believes if he told the gentleman to come get it, he believes it would be o.k. Mayor Stanley suggested they send it back because the City does not have $4,000 for a Christmas decoration. Council suggested they pay a nominal rental fee for using it.
Commissioner Sydnor asked if they will have Christmas lights on Pine Street. He said Council budgeted an additional $1,000 in 2008 and 2009 for the Jaycees for Christmas lights. It is his understanding that the poles have been increased in height so decorations can be put on them. Steve Johnson said there is at least a one-time cost of $1500 required to prepare the poles so they can power Christmas decorations. Last year they thought there would be 5 poles that could accommodate decorations based on the height of the poles. Delmarva Power recently replaced a lot of poles so now the number is up to 10. The poles have to have an attachment made to them at the top so the light can be plugged in. It is at least $150 per pole. Then there is the issue of who is going to mount the decorations. The Jaycees do it on Race Street, High Street, and Poplar Street. Last year they said they did have the manpower to do it on Pine Street. Delmarva Power is requiring the City sign an agreement with them for the privilege of having someone put decorations on their poles. The City must have liability insurance. Right now the requirement is $2 million per occurrence. The City's limitation on insurance right now is $1 million. He asked Delmarva Power to lower their requirement and they have not yet given him an answer. There is no agreement required for the poles the City currently decorates. The decorations are available for Pine Street. The issue is hanging them on the poles. The City would have to put out an RFP to have the electrical work done. Commissioner Sydnor said the residents have been looking forward to this for many years. That is why the additional money was given to the Jaycees. Mayor Stanley said according to Mr. Cephas, money was put into the budget for decorations on Pine Street. It is good PR to include Pine Street into the whole holiday spirit and she thinks it would behoove the City to live it up to an obligation that was made 2 years ago. Sometimes money is not always the issue. Sometimes the goodwill of the community cannot be bought or sold. She was under the impression that the poles were tall enough and already wired. She said money is an issue and we do not have money but they made an obligation to put lights on Pine Street so she wants it done this Christmas. Steve Johnson said they are talking about at least $1500, maybe more. Commissioner Sydnor said he thinks they can find $1500+. Mayor Stanley asked Ed Kinnamon to work with Steve Johnson to get the insurance issue worked out.
Jim Duffy said now that Cambridge is a pilot Maple Street project, even though they do not have the final grant agreement and access to funds available, they may be able to do a match and cut the City's price in half on getting lights on Pine Street and they would love to do so as part of the Maple Street project.
Commissioner Sydnor made a motion that the City appropriate up to $1,500 for the Christmas lights on Pine Street. Commissioner Thomas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Ed Kinnamon said the Council was recently asked to assist the Boys and Girls Club with a small amount and also on behalf of a local fire department that had some damage done to a piece of equipment during our Race Street fire that was not covered by insurance. The fire company asked that the City appropriate $1000 over a 4‑year period. There is a fund that is no longer in use that has approximately $400 in it. He said Mayor Stanley suggested splitting that between the Boys and Girls Club and the fire department. The fire company was just under $20,000 short in fixing their truck. It was a $60,000 loss and they had $40,000 in insurance. The former mayor used the fund for paying for Christmas lights, electricity, etc. The funds were donated to the City. It was called 'The Mayor's Discretionary Fund'. Mayor Stanley recommended that $200 be given to the Boys and Girls Club for Dorchester County and the remaining $193 (plus a private donation of $57) be made to the Madison Bay Fire Company. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to accept Mayor Stanley's recommendation. Commissioner Hanson seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0 with Commissioner Knox abstaining.
Meredith Lathbury, Chair of the Clean, Safe, and Green Committee of Main Street said they are going to be having a spruce up, planting, and clean-up day this Saturday from 9:00 a.m. at Cannery Way. She asked Council's permission to plant some native shrubs in the municipal parking lot on Muir Street. A Board Member has offered to pay for the plants. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request to have shrubbery planted in the municipal parking lot on Muir Street. Commissioner Stout seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Portia Johnson-Ennels asked if citizen's input was still welcome at Council meetings. She said Council is rushing through things to be voted on when there may be an opinion from the audience. Mayor Stanley said they are trying to run their Council meeting as they were instructed by the Maryland Municipal League. They have been instructed that citizen's input is welcome but the discussion is to be held by the Council with the citizens as observers. They have an opportunity to change the format again. Prior Councils have had citizen input on every discussion. They have learned from MML that they can have their agendas publicized prior to the meeting and open up the Council meeting to have people give input on the agenda items that are printed. They would go through their normal meeting and then at the end, if there is more information that someone needs or anything someone would like to add to the agenda, it would be entertained at the end of the meeting. The meeting is open to the citizens for observation and if there is input they would like to give, it is to be given at the end of the meeting. Portia Johnson-Ennels said when Cambridge had a newspaper that was published 5 days a week, the agenda would be in the paper way ahead of time. If someone had a question, they could call the Council ahead of time. It seems like Council is going to make decisions without community input or without having an overall knowledge of what they are trying to put forth. Commissioner Stout said his idea is to give Council and the citizens a greater period of time to research, reflect, and gather information about agenda items. Currently, if the finalized agenda isn't in that state until the Friday before the meeting, he doesn't think that gives the citizens enough time. His suggestion is to finalize the agenda by Monday or Tuesday which would give everybody more time to do the research they need to come to the meeting. This would give the public time to speak to their Councilman before the meeting. Mayor Stanley said Council is going to do their best to run the meeting efficiently. They still want the public involved.
With no further business, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley adjourned the meeting at 9:21 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Tuesday, October 14, 2008, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon
Clerk & Treasurer