• City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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City Council Minutes

January 22, 2007

Cambridge Maryland SealMINUTES

Council Meeting

January 22, 2007

 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, January 22, 2007 in Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:25 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 January 8, 2007 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.

Appointments

City Auditors to Present FY2006 Audit-Keith Novak, a partner with Clifton Gunderson, said they are the CPA firm that performed the annual audit of the financial statements of the City. Their responsibility under generally accepted auditing standards is to provide assurance that the statements are free of material misstatement. When they are doing their test work, they are not verifying 100% of every transaction that occurred in the City. They provide their work through the use of sampling techniques which tend to look at major and material items because that is where the greatest risk is. With regard to the City's accounting policies, there were no changes in accounting policies during the year. There are certain estimates and judgments that are made in the preparation of the financial statements such as depreciation, etc. They reviewed the estimates and the underlying assumptions for those estimates and did not find any differences with any of them. With regard to management, they had no disagreements with management. They understand that management did not consult with any other accountants other than Clifton Gunderson throughout the year on accounting matters. They discussed no issues prior to their retention. They did not encounter any difficulties in performing the audit.

Mr. Novak explained the financial statements and what is in them. The only part of the financial statement that is truly his is the audit opinion itself. The opinion is an unqualified opinion which is the highest level of opinion that you can receive. The City's audit was performed in accordance with generally-accepted auditing standards as well as government audit standards which are promulgated by the U.S. General Accounting Office. In accordance with those standards, they have also issued a report on internal control over financial reporting and compliance and other matters in accordance with government audit standards. The financial statements themselves include both the operations of the City and the Municipal Utilities Commission. There has been no change in format or disclosures from previous years. The components of the statements are the management discussion and analysis (an executive overview); the government-wide financial statements; a fund financial statement; and supplemental information. There is also a budgetary comparison for the general fund (Page 16). That is at a very high level. On Pages 43 through 57 there is a much more detailed breakdown of the budget comparison.

The major variance in the budget was that the City came very close to meeting their budget. In the public safety area, the City was over budget primarily due to the construction of the public safety building. That was the largest budget variance of all. With regard to findings, they had a couple of findings during the year. They cannot write the good things that are being done by the management team with regard to financial accounting. They are only allowed to write the things where they can see improvement needed. There are a couple items they have included in the financial statements.

Commissioner Travers made a motion to accept the audit for FY2006. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. Commissioner Sydnor asked if they were accepting it without having the knowledge of what exactly is in it. Rob Collison said they are not endorsing or approving it, they are just receiving it. The motion passed unanimously.

Open Bids for Furnishing and Delivering One New 2007 Dump Truck with Snowplow and Spreader for DPW-Ed Kinnamon announced that Council received four bids:

- Barr Truck Group (Salisbury) -- $85,273

- Barr Truck Group (Salisbury) -- $86,568

- Elliott Wilson Capitol Trucks (Landover) -- $89,304

- Criswell Chevrolet (Gaithersburg) -- $85,391

Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to refer the bids to DPW for their review and recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Jane Devlin and Bill Jarmon, Representing Cambridge Museums and Attractions, Requesting Funding for Cambridge City Bus Tour-Bill Jarmon said their committee consists of 40 to 50 individuals who meet monthly. At their last meeting they came up with the idea of having a bus tour of the City with the understanding that individuals who maintain the certain sites of historical significance and/or museums would be open on Saturdays to entertain tourists. Council was previously provided with written information outlining their plans and the associated costs. Jane Devlin said the project is not 100% formalized. It is past the point of early discussions. They have the partners together to basically create a tour of museums and attractions specifically within the City. They have established the timeframe of once a month. There will be docents at the sites or on the bus to speak to the guests. When she spoke to Mayor Rippons about their proposal, he said they could possibly get a better price through Delmarva Community Services for the bus. They were originally talking about $100 per tour which was already a reduced cost. Mayor Rippons spoke with Santo Grande. She followed up with a phone call and explained to him what they were attempting. As non-profits, they will not financially gain anything from this. They are putting the project together as a partnership to showcase the City. They will gain foot traffic, tourism, and hopefully some economic benefits downtown. They will market this project through the Hyatt and currently have a number of programs that they are already advertising in where they can get free press. Santo Grande has very generously agreed to support the project and has brought the rate down to $60 per tour. They are figuring on 10 tours over a one year period. Tonight they are asking for funding that will carry them through this fiscal year. They would like to start with tours in April, May and June. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to give the committee $180 to help the tour. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Jane Devlin said they will provide Council with an evaluation of the program.

Representatives from Cambridge Power Boat Regatta Association to Request Permission for Exclusive Use of Great Marsh Park from Friday, July 27th Through Sunday, July 29th (set-up beginning July 24th)-Nobody was present to speak. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Unfinished Business

None

New Business

Request to Go To Bid for Dumpster Service at Marina and Boat Ramps- Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request to Go To Bid for Harriet Tubman Museum and Education Center Renovations (grant funds)-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request from Butz, Inc. for Connection to Public Sewer and Water to Their Property on Johnson Street (Tax Map 30, Parcel 305, Lot 6)-Rob Collison said this request raises the issue that was discussed at the last meeting. This lot is in the Sanitary District. The MOU that was drafted when the City was in negotiations with the Sanitary District states that if there was a lot of record in an existing Sanitary District, they would be entitled to get sewer. It does not mention water. The problem has arisen that the Health Department will not issue well permits in Sanitary Districts. The property owner has to pay all the applicable impact fees. There are probably only a handful of undeveloped lots remaining in the existing Sanitary Districts and they are lots of record. It is his recommendation that they amend the MOU to allow them to get water and sewer. The document will be ready for the next meeting. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request from Butz subject to the fact that the lot is a lot of record and all applicable impact fees are paid. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request to Purchase a Section of a Piece of City-Owned Property Behind 312 High Street-Mayor Rippons said the property is a brick addition to the MUC building. It is currently being used for storage. Gary Newcomb suggested that the City retain this piece of property. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to refer this item to Rob Collison for his recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox said this property is in the Historic District and demolition of the building might not be allowed. Rob Collison is to speak to HPC before making his recommendation. The motion passed unanimously.

Discuss Promoting Cambridge Through a Series of Online Videos-Mayor Rippons said a production company produces a free video for the City. The video showcases the City and will be placed on the Cambridge website. They sell advertising spaces to local businesses. He asked Rob Collison to review the contract. Rob Collison said there are other companies that may also provide the service. He suggested that Council solicit other companies. Ed Kinnamon said he and the Mayor reviewed the websites of other Maryland cities to review the work of the company. Bel Air and Salisbury are examples. Mayor Rippons said other companies would charge the City. This is a three year contract.

Approve Budget Amendment for DPW-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the budget amendment. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 842 - Criswell Chevrolet - $35,550 - Three Pick-Up Trucks for DPW-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 4183 - Princess Royale - $2,699.88 - Maryland Municipal League-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Additional Items

Rob Collison said last summer the City held a public hearing and then voted to declare the section of Eutaw Street between Governors Avenue and Goldsborough Avenue as excess property. Pursuant to Section 2-141 of the Real Property Article, the adjoining property owners acquire whatever the City is giving up. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to authorize Mayor Rippons to sign the quit-claim deed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Rob Collison said he and Mayor Rippons had a discussion recently with some concerned citizens regarding some impending or proposed dredging or hauling materials out of the Cambridge Creek. This is the utility company or the former oil company site at the foot of Cherry Street. He is contacting the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Army Corps of Engineers to give Council a briefing at a work session. That may be in February or March.

Rob Collison announced that Council met in closed executive session at 6:15 pm to discuss personnel matters.

Commissioner Knox commended Chief Malik and his department and the Department of Public Works for all their work last night getting the streets cleared.

Commissioner Sydnor thanked the Department of Public Works for getting the light fixed on Race Street.

Commissioner Brooks said Council has discussed the mail order prescriptions with the City's insurance. She asked Council to review this again. They have been told that they save a small amount of money by using the mail order prescriptions vs. using local pharmacies. She asked that they look again at how much they are saving when they are not keeping money within our own community. If the Council is going to try to revitalize Cambridge and help Cambridge to grow, they need to do things to support businesses within our own community. It might seem like a small thing, but some of these local pharmacists hire teenage children to do some of the running with their prescriptions. When we send these prescriptions somewhere else to come through the mail, we are loosing an opportunity to give some of our young people an opportunity to have some job experience to get prepared to move out into the real world. Mayor Rippons said they have a meeting with their provider on Thursday. He will address the issue then.

Chief Malik asked the Council to look at the fence and gate on Wright Street near the Douglas Street playground. He asked Council to consider removing the gate and having DPW put a fence up there to stop foot traffic and access onto Wright Street. There have been some problems there. People can still enter the park on Douglas Street. Commissioner Brooks said someone is revitalizing that community by building new homes. It sounds like a good idea. Ed Kinnamon said the City had a Cornish Park Task Force but he is not sure if it is still in operation.

Rev. Keifer Jackson said he received a letter from Council saying an action is definite but he hopes it can be reversed. It is concerning a "no parking" sign that was placed across from his driveway in 2001 on Allen Street. Since the sign has been removed, it has caused him many problems getting in and out of his driveway because of parked cars. It also causes a problem for his visitors. The street is only 20-ft wide. The other resident who has questioned this situation has no problem getting in and out of his driveway. His only problem is that his visitors cannot park in front of his house. The last thing they put in his letter was that they wanted to be fair. Mayor Rippons said the Traffic and Safety Committee has looked at it quite a few times. Chief Malik said the original complaint did not talk about cars turning onto Allen Street. It was about Rev. Jackson being able to back out of his driveway. They tried to address it in a number of different ways. The fairest way they could establish was if he backed straight out. Making the turn from Washington Street to Allen Street was not an issue. Rev. Jackson said if he is backing out and a car is parked behind him, and he wants to go to Robbins Street, if he is not careful, he can back into the parked car. Commissioner Brooks said she sits on the Traffic Committee. They have reviewed the situation many times. They tried to come up with a decision that was 50/50 for both residents without telling the other gentleman that he was not allowed to park in front of his home and without telling Rev. Jackson that he cannot park in front of his home and at the same time setting the parking back for several feet on both sides. There was an understanding with the other gentleman that Rev. Jackson can utilize his driveway any time so if he backs straight across the street, he can turn right or left without any problems whatsoever. The Committee did everything they could to be fair to both gentlemen. They could go back and forth forever. Rev. Jackson said the only problem the other gentleman has is that his business cannot park in front of his house. He has no problem backing out of his driveway. The intersection is dangerous for a collision. Chief Malik said they could look at the intersection.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:08 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, January 22, 2007, insofar as I personally am aware.

                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                    Edwin C. Kinnamon

                                                                                    Clerk & Treasurer