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Minutes of December 3, 2001

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Town of Riverdale Park

Mayor and Council Legislative Session

Call To Order

The legislative session of the Mayor and Council was called to order. Present were Councilmember's Feldberg, Blaschke, Tiberio, Davis, Almirez, and Scott. Also present were Police Chief Evans, and Administrator Prangley.

Pledge Of Allegiance And Moment of Silence

Approval Of Agenda

The Mayor pointed out that there were changes to the agenda format. CM Tiberio made the motion to approve the agenda. CM Davis seconded the motion.

Town Administrator and Treasurer's Report

Mr. Prangley read aloud the Treasurer's report. The motion to approve the Treasurers report, subject to audit, was made by CM Tiberio and seconded by CM Blaschke. The motion passed unanimously. There were no questions or comments.

Mr. Prangley reported that the Mayor and town staff have worked diligently with WSSC on utility work around Town, and specifically addressed the area west of the railroad tracks. Concerns about future project scheduling and reimbursement commitments by WSSC for repair work were discussed. WSSC committed to a 50/50 or 100% reimbursement for streets worked on depending on whether or not they'd been worked on in the last few years.

Leaf collection is continuing but an engine repair delay occurred last Friday which altered the collection schedule. Snow removal operations are ready. Sign replacements have occurred around town in the last month. Major tree plantings have been done (CM Feldberg will report on later in evening). The Route 1 project on the west side of the 6200 block of Baltimore Ave should begin this spring, with the state funding their share of improvements (along side our Senator Sarbanes grant) to repair sidewalk, curb, and gutters . Riverdale Rd work continued today with resurfacing from Lafayette Ave to Taylor Rd. According to the Town Engineer, completion of the remainder of concrete and brick work, along with the median strip from Taylor to Kenilworth, will occur this week before resurfacing takes place.

Correspondence Summary

No letters were requested.

Mayor's Report

Mayor Herman announced future meeting agenda modifications, to cover topics of the most interest earlier, for residents in attendance or watching, as follows: regular obligatory items will begin the meetings followed by public hearing matters, legislative items, committee and ward reports, followed last by pro-forma matters (introduction of legislation or topics that aren't controversial or having little or no public input).

The Mayor explained that the negotiated agreement with WSSC will pay 50% of resurfacing/engineering/road repair costs of older streets they work on, and 100% of resurfacing and construction costs on any street that was recently restored or that was in pristine condition before they began work. The Mayor said the agreement has the potential to save the Town hundreds of thousands of dollars (depending on the subsurface conditions encountered). Approximately 20 street blocks in Ward 4 will have brand new water lines and asphalt this spring. It's an historic type of agreement that other communities will be watching.

Project updates: Riverdale Rd paving date was scheduled for completion November 30th but resurfacing was delayed last week due to 3 days of rain. The vast majority should be completed this week and work will continue around town following.

More information regarding 43rd Ave will be provided later in the meeting but he said that negotiations between Riverdale Park, Hyattsville, and the utility companies are continuing.

Mayor Herman commended department heads, Administrator Prangley, and Finance Committee Chair Tiberio, for their hard work on cost containment in the face of financial challenges for the first 6 months of the new Council's service. A deficit in the current year is not anticipated following their efforts.

Bids for the public works improvements to provide a separate locker room for female employees there will begin soon.

A Town Center Advisory Committee meeting will be scheduled later in the meeting to review any and all redevelopment proposals. Interested residents are encouraged to attend.

A restaurant will be redeveloping the old McDonald's on Route 1 in Ward 4. The building has been vacant for 3 - 4 years.

The Mayor thanked Susan Levy for her summary of items for the Spanish page in the Town Crier. He noted that the Gazette followed Riverdale's lead, and are now providing a Spanish page as well. He also thanked CM Almirez for his help translating the first few months and for his ongoing participation to review Ms. Levy's submissions for translation accuracy.

The Mayor also thanked members of the Recreation Board for a successful holiday party with over 100 children in attendance. He specifically thanked Tracy Toscano and her family, Susan Hines, Doris Pullman, Cecelia and John Salvadore, Wendell Davis, Diana Hiles, and Santa Claus. The Riverdale Fire Department, Public Works and the Police Department were thanked as well.

Mayor Herman noted important upcoming dates (also noted on page 2 of the agenda):

December 9 - Hanukah

December 19 - Employee holiday party, Town Hall, 1:00pm

December 14 - Lyons Club holiday party, Town Hall, 7:00pm

December 18 - Senior's Luncheon, Town Hall, 12:00pm. The event is open to all seniors and is free of charge. Please RSVP to 301-927-6381, no later than December 14th.

On December 18th, Mayor Herman, CM Davis, and others, will testify before the Historic Preservation Commission in Upper Marlboro, at 7:00pm the Riverdale Park historic designation. Residents who are interested, and would like to attend to testify, in support of or opposition to, should plan to attend.

The Mayor announced that Town Hall will close at 2:00pm on Christmas Eve by Executive Order, allowing employees to be with families. Offices will be closed December 25th for Christmas. He recognized that December 26th is the first day of Kwanza.

The next worksession is rescheduled for December 26th at 7:30pm (otherwise it would fall the regularly scheduled meeting would fall on New Years Eve).

Mayor Herman wished a happy, safe and healthy holiday season to all Riverdale Park residents.

Police Department and Code Enforcement Report

Chief Evans reported that the recently hired code enforcement officer has resigned. Sgt Timmons is handling code enforcement issues until a replacement is found. Reports should be called in to the police department at 301-927-4343.

Officer Phelps, the community policing officer, has resigned to take a position with the Calvert County Sheriffs Department. Candidates for that position will also be reviewed.

The Riverdale Park, University Park, and Hyattsville areas have seen a significant increase in burglaries, and in particular, shed burglaries. Chief Evans said they're working with the Hyattsville Police Department to arrest two suspect, hopefully this week.

Chief Evans read the crime report, which he noted is significant for the first time in 2001.

He encouraged residents to please contact the police department if they notice suspicious individuals or activities. Community assistance is needed and appreciated. Residents are encouraged to be particularly vigilant and to take precaution during the holiday season and while out shopping.

Public Works Report

Mr. Prangley said 55 of the 110 street lights ordered for Riverdale Rd have arrived (covering the 1.2 mile stretch along Riverdale Rd to Lafayette Ave). The first set should be installed within the next 2 weeks, from Lafayette to Taylor Rd .

Reports have been received about lights that are out on Queensbury Rd - NE Electric investigated, and reported that it's a utility company problem. A meeting between the town's utility company and WSSC will be held on Wednesday.

Joseph Coleman, the new Public Works Director, will begin work on January 2nd. He has 27 years experience with Berwyn Heights. He was recommended by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council. He'll soon be sharing policy procedure change ideas for consideration.

Fire Department Report

Dave Sutton reminded residents of the necessity to exercise fire safety and prevention during the holiday season. Wires and bulbs should be examined, and all lights and decorations purchased should be "UL Listed". Live trees should also be well watered.

Always follow manufacturers recommendations when using portable space heaters during the cold weather season. Do not put gasoline in kerosene heaters. Keep heaters away from flammable or combustible materials. Chimney's should be cleaned regularly. Those and other safety recommendations can be found on the fire department's website at: www.riverdalevfd.org. Residents are welcome to call 301-927-0356 for holiday fire safety info, or stop by the fire house.

Mr. Sutton thanked the residents of 4310 Queensbury Rd, who opened up their home to the Riverdale Park Fire Department as a haunted house on Halloween to solicit funds. A few hundred dollars was raised as the result of their generosity. The Mayor added that hundreds of people stopped by the haunted house that evening.

Mayor Herman also reminded everyone that the fire department will escort Santa Claus through Riverdale Park on Christmas Eve. Exact information will be posted on the Town's cable channel as soon as it is available.

Mr. Sutton announced results of elections held at the fire department last week, noting that two will require council approval - Chief and Deputy Chief. The new officers are as follows: Chief Wayne Goldberger, Deputy Chief Vincent Harrison, Assistant Chief David Whiting, Tower Captain Gerard Dixon, Engine Captain James Johns, President Dave Sutton, Vice President David Whiting, Treasurer Gerald Bunn, and a there is anew board of directors.

After the Mayor verified that the Chief, and Deputy Chief, were the same as before, CM Tiberio made the motion to approve their election for the 2001 - 2002 year. CM Davis seconded the motion. CM Davis asked for a letter announcing their re-election. CM Tiberio acknowledged that the filling of all the positions seemed to indicate that growth is coming back. The motion passed unanimously.

CM Davis made the motion that the Town pay for the fire department's gasoline to escort Santa Claus around Town on Christmas Eve. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.

Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, said there had been no specific Christmas Eve activity fund appropriations since 1991.

CM Tiberio said there was a "charitable and community contributions from the Mayor and Council" item in the current budget that the expenditure would qualify for. The Mayor said he believed they could make the appropriate financial reflection.

The motion passed unanimously.

Public Comments

None

Presentation by Department of Public Works and Transportation on proposed bus service enhancements for Riverdale Park

Jim Raszewski, Chief of Transit Division, and Ms. Deanna Archey, Senior Planner, representatives from the Department of Public Works and Transportation were present for the required public hearing on, The Bus, a DPWT bus service. The Mayor asked Mr. Raszewski and Ms Archey to introduce themselves, and recap discussions from last weeks meeting.

Mr. Raszewski explained that in 1996 Prince George's County completed a transit master plan which included introduction of a local county bus service. In the past 5 years, service grew from 500,000 passenger trips, to over 2 million, with 14 bus routes. In the present fiscal year, (2002 beginning in July) another 10 routes are planned. One, Route 14, is slated to come through Riverdale Park. Conceptual routes contained within the plan were presented at the last worksession and have since modified them to present at this public hearing.

Ms. Archey, DPWT planning staff, entered the hearing docket for the record, and presented the Route 14 proposed bus route. Route 14 hours of operation are, Monday - Friday, from 6:00am to 7:30pm. They do not intend to operate evenings or weekends at this time. Route 14 will run from the College Park Metro station to the Town of Riverdale Park with a 40 minute run. They will try to operate on a 30 minute service frequency. Smaller buses will be used to penetrate through the neighborhoods. Base fare will be 75cents. Day passes and transfers will be accepted between this and other transit services (i.e. Metro).

Ms. Archey described the following proposed route flow: From College Park Metro rail station to River Rd, to Kenilworth Ave, to Rittenhouse, to 58th , to Roanoke Ave, to 62nd Pl, to Riverdale Rd, to Taylor, to Longfellow, to 47th, to Lafayette, to Queensbury, to Beale Circle East, back onto East West Hwy, to Kenilworth Ave, to River Rd, and back to the College Metro station. The reverse direction (the counterflow) will continue the same direction down Kenilworth.

Mr. Raszewski said the service is intended to be a local bus service, serving local community needs. Service is expected to begin mid-January with a 6 month evaluation period. If changes are needed they can make them. Mr. Raszewski said they want public input. The floor was then opened up for questions or input.

Mayor Herman noted that after modifications were made, Madison Hills had been removed from the service area, and that the final route is probably no more than 60% of the originally proposed route. He asked why sections of the community were not included. Mr. Raszewski said the major difference between the current proposed route and the original discussed at the worksession was that the original one went further down Good Luck Rd and westward into the county. They would be happy to consider other areas. The final proposal will be based on tonight's discussions, to implement the route changes needed. They also wanted to know how far residents wanted the buses to go down their own residential streets. In other parts of the county, some residents were happy with the buses, others didn't want them down their streets.

Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, had looked at The Bus website, and suggested adjusting the schedule for an hour later even. He said at least 2 Marc trains come into the Riverdale Park station after 7:00pm ( the 7:15pm and 7:50pm trains).

Robert Haughton, 5601 Silk Tree Dr, echoed Mr. Kiernan's comments, and said as a resident of Madison Hill, he preferred that his neighborhood be included in the route. He said Metro busses passed their way but believed this bus service would more effectively serve the residents of his community.

Esperanza Lamosborg, a resident of Lanham, and user of The Bus service (she and husband) were happy to see there would be service through College Park. She said they'd come to ask that the Good Luck Rd route connection be added back.

CM Feldberg said the new route was a major improvement but believed they should add the Good Luck Rd route back as well. She added that the route be extended 2 blocks across Route One to include the nursing home, so there would be access for residents and visitors. The Mayor asked and Mr. Raszewski noted that there is not yet a Hyattsville route.

CM Tiberio asked about the Sarvis office building on Kenilworth Ave. Ms. Archey said they looked at it but found that Metro adequately served the office park. They took Sarvis out to serve other areas. He also said it didn't appear there was any service North of East West Hwy (Tuckerman, 48th, 49th, Sheridan, etc) though there's a heavy concentration of residents there. Mr. Raszewski said there are only 2 buses dedicated to this route so they're considering how best to serve the community. They weren't sure the town wanted the buses in and out of that neighborhood. It's also not conducive to bus operations because of the nature of the roads and the limited access in and out. Picking up more service areas also extended the route run time. CM Tiberio said he believed they had to include that part of town

CM Davis thanked them for including the neighborhoods she serves in Ward 4, with the exception of the three block distance from the nursing home. She hopes they would include service there and to Madison Hill.

The Mayor asked about the time it took to run the routes for the original proposed route versus the modified route proposal. The original route would take 50 - 60 minutes to drive, and the modified route would take 35 minutes. His concern was that a hybrid of the two proposals might extend the service to approximately 40 minutes which would then provide bus service within 3 - 4 blocks to every resident in town.

CM Feldberg said as a resident of the portion of town omitted from the route (the neighborhood north of East West Hwy) she felt they should be left out if they needed to cut a part of town out the route. She believed many residents in that neighborhood would be unhappy to have the buses going down their streets. She understood it would be "ideal" to include them, but if you have to eliminate a part of town, eliminate her neighborhood. She said it was better to eliminate her neighborhood than the Good Luck Rd part of it. She believed if her neighbors were interested in the service they would be there.

Mr. Raszewski reiterated that changes can be made to the service as needed.

CM Blaschke asked about the distance between bus stops noting that East West Hwy traffic is very busy all of the time and at certain hours traffic is heavy in other parts of the route. Mr. Raszewski said there wouldn't be many stops along East West Hwy, while the Mayor said he didn't think they'd want any on that road at all. He said once the route pattern is set, Public Works and the State Hwy Administration would it for site safety as well as public nuisance consideration.

CM Scott asked, and was assured that stops would be place where Metro stop signs currently exist.

Dave Sutton, 4714 Queensbury Rd, asked about capacity size of the vehicles scheduled for use noting it needs to be considered for use on some roads. Mr. Raszewski said the buses are less than 30 feet in length (about the width of a UPS van), seating 26 passengers. The smallest buses would be used. The Mayor noted that sections along 47th, Longfellow, Tuckerman, and Taylor would not easily accommodate larger buses.

CM Tiberio reiterated that this is all under a trial period, so the town can change, delete, or add to any part of it in the future.

Mayor Herman thanked DPWT for the opportunity to discuss the process, and acknowledged that CM Blaschke had contacted Ms. Archey. Mr. Raszewski said the third version of the proposed route would be available in a week or two for final input early in January. The Mayor said they'll be meeting Jan 7th and will plan to discuss the third version before the proposed implementation.

Input and testimony from the current meeting will be reviewed for recommendations to the Director of Public Works and Transportation. Until Dec 10, 2001, written or supplemental comments may be sent to the Department of Public Works and Transportation, Attn: James Raszewski, Chief Division of Transit, 9400 Peppercorn Place, Suite 320, Largo, MD 20774. Residents can call also call them at 301 883-5656 or contact your Councilperson for input.

Recessed for 5 minutes until 8:45pm

ACTION ITEMS

Approval of Minutes

The motion to approve the October 1st Regular Legislative Meeting minutes was made by CM Tiberio. The motion was seconded by CM Davis. The motion carried unanimously.

The motion to approve the November 5th Regular Legislative Meeting minutes was made by CM Davis. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. CM Davis noted spelling corrections. The motion passed unanimously subject to the noted changes.

The motion to approve the November 20th Special Legislative Meeting minutes was made by CM Davis. CM Blaschke seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Mutual Aid Agreement for the Police Services

CM Davis made the motion to approve the mutual aid agreement for police services. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.

CM Scott explained that a mutual aid agreement was established between Bladensburg, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Mount Ranier, and Riverdale Park, to mutually assist in cases of requests from other Towns, when adequate resources to address emergency problems aren't available.

Chief Evans added that the agreement is for emergency and non-emergencies, when there's a need for additional resources, so the signatory agencies can assist each other. Prior to this agreement, only emergencies were covered under MD State Law, now it's both emergency and non-emergency.

Mayor Herman explained that there will not be routine patrolling by Riverdale Park police officers in the other jurisdictions, or the other way around, and that is laid out in the agreement. The Mayor voiced appreciation that the agreement has been worked on for some time, and with the cooperation of multiple police agencies. He voiced appreciation for Chief Evans, who serves as President of the PG County Municipal Police Chief's Association, and for his work with the State Organization of Municipal Police Chief's to help facilitate this. He recalled the Chief's history as a District Commander who has worked with multiple agencies in years past. He thanked him for working to bring the agreement about with the other agencies.

CM Davis echoed Mayor Herman's appreciation for the Chief's work, and noted that the agreement has been in the works since March, long before the September 11th tragedies. She said it will bring together municipalities who have come to each other's aid in the past, and provide legal protections for those providing assistance under the agreement.

The Chief noted that the agreement will bring 130 sworn police officers together under an umbrella of mutual aid.

CM Blaschke asked about signatures on the agreement, and whether it was a draft. The Chief said there will be a public ceremony attended by the Mayor, Police Chief and Administrator of each of the municipality, but first it had to be approved and accepted by each council.

Public Comment

Dave Sutton, 4714 Queensbury Rd, asked whether the Town of Edmonston will be covered by the agreement considering the region covered. Chief Evans said the first step was to address full service agencies (24 hour operations w/investigative sections, K9, entry teams, and specially trained personnel). Then they'll see what other resources can be brought to assist others.

The motion to approve the agreement passed unanimously.

The Mayor asked the Chief to advise that the Mayor would be happy to attend the signing ceremony on behalf of the Council.

Motion Concerning Halfway House by Firetree Limited in Hyattsville

Mayor Herman reviewed recent media reports and public presentations announcing that Firetree Limited, a Pennsylvania corporation, plans to establish a Federal halfway house in Hyattsville. The facility would be located in a building on the left hand side of Decatur St, just before you cross the railroad tracks and come to alternate Route 1. The facility would house 30 or more beds.

The City of Hyattsville has taken up a resolution to oppose the facility. They've asked sister cities to pass similar resolutions and provide letters of non-support for state and federal legislators and officials to let them know that the proposed facility is not an adaptive reuse that is consistent with the long term agenda of commercial redevelopment for this area.

CM Tiberio made the motion that a letter of opposition to the proposed halfway house be sent. CM Davis seconded the motion.

CM Tiberio noted that there are already several similar facilities located between Riverdale, Edmonston and Hyattsville, and suggested that other areas in the county be considered. He suggested consideration of areas such as Mitchellville or Marlton so those in the facility can see how the upper crust live, but that this area has enough.

CM Davis added that in addition to the letter echoing Hyattsville's position, the affected areas get together to seriously lobby the state legislature to create a limit on these types of facilities within a certain radius (miles, or municipalities, or whatever) because it is the people with the lower or mixed socio-economic status that get the preponderance of these and it doesn't do a lot for a neighborhood to have so many so close together.

CM Tiberio found it interesting that it was the first time the Federal Bureau of Prisons was attempting to locate a facility instead of the state, and wondered how opposing them would work. The Mayor noted the example of how bad press affected an attempt to build a prison on the PG County side of DC after sneaking plans to build it into an appropriations bill in past years. He asked Chief Evans for his opinion regarding the public safety component of the facility.

Chief Evans said the PG County Police Chief's Association opposed the facility because of the proliferation that appears to be occurring within the inner beltway of these facilities. He believed the Governor should be involved because of the Route 1 refurbishing projects, and all the renovation and the positive growth within the inner beltway communities. He believed the facility would be a detriment to this area. He believed a vendor from PA is searching for bed space and the Town should oppose it.

There was no public comment.

The motion passed unanimously.

The Mayor asked Mr. Prangley to have the Town staff use the same distribution list that Mayor Armentrout used for the Hyattsville letter that was distributed, to echo the same sentiments to the same agencies.

Christmas Tree Pick-Up Dates

CM Davis said dates for tree pick-up needed to be decided on to notify residents. Complaints have come in past years that trees were picked up too early (before Epiphany).

CM Tiberio recommended January 23rd (notwithstanding Epiphany or anything else). CM Davis recommended January 10th. The Mayor asked about the date of Epiphany so residents who wanted to could keep their trees up until then and put them out for pick-up afterward, and asked if pick-up dates should be a regular trash day or another day.

CM Tiberio made the motion that tree pick up should be January 11th and January 18th. CM Scott seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The Mayor asked that Mr. Prangley contact Debbie Murphy about posting the dates, and asked if the dates could somehow be posted on the side of the trucks as well to get word out to residents.

Resolution Concerning Contract for Purchase of Trees for Fall Planting

The Mayor said although the Town was in the middle of a simultaneous private and public tree planting, the Town code required that any expenditure of Town money in excess of $5,000 required a public bid. In his desire to utilize CM Feldberg's expertise, and have her coordinate the local tree production and planting, she contracted and coordinated with a wholesale distributor who doesn't normally deal in orders this small to take advantage of the discount she'd received in the past because of Arlington County's successful open bidding process (where she works). The efforts of CM Feldberg saved the Town hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars on trees bought wholesale for planting throughout the community (a first in Riverdale's history). However, he explained when more than $5k is expended on a contract, ordinarily it would be bided out publicly, or the sole source need would be defined and stated. CM Feldberg contracted with Shemin's Nursery for approximately $10,000 in public trees, and approximately $4,000 in private trees. The Mayor asked if there was a motion to begin the discussion.

The motion, stated by Mayor Herman, to approve Shemin's Nursery, for the purchase of trees, not to exceed $14,000 in both public and private money, in a sole source contract, was made by CM Davis, and seconded by CM Blaschke. The Mayor asked CM Feldberg if she would like to make any additional comments on the procedure of the purchase of the trees.

CM Feldberg said Shemin's has been the low bidder on the purchase of trees for Arlington County and stated that Arlington County is a much more competitive environment with a $35,000 tree budget. Besides that fact, she considered them because they are one of the few wholesale nurseries in the area that will accept requests for under $10,000. She said they're also unique because they provide a 6 month guarantee on their trees, and she didn't know of any other wholesale nursery who does that. They also provide direct delivery at a very inexpensive cost. Their record with Arlington County is excellent. She said the trees received are beautiful and are a much more excellent caliper than she would have expected for such a small order. She said the Town has been without a public works director during this period to coordinate the effort, and she felt it was important to get it done, and this was the best way for her to accomplish the task.

The Mayor said the motion had to give Shemin's the contract for the amount not to exceed $14,000, but they must also move to suspend section 623 of the Town Charter requiring competitive bids. He asked CM Davis, as the original maker of the motion, if she would amend it appropriately to accomplish that and she agreed. He also asked CM Blaschke, who seconded the motion the same, and she agreed.

CM Davis said she's amazed at the quality of the trees, noting their beauty and her appreciation for them following past years tree experiences and the failure of some to survive.

CM Tiberio said notwithstanding all the wonderful things said about the nursery and the trees (no one was questioning that), he said he questioned procedures followed. He said there are laws, and they're meant to be followed by all, which include soliciting sealed bids. He noted if all he heard about the nursery were true, they probably would have won the bid anyway, but it's the procedure, it's the law, and here they are, after the fact, trying to endorse breaking the law. He said that's what we did, and he takes exception to it. CM Tiberio said he will vote against this regardless that they have the trees, will have to pay for them, and they can't be sent back. He said he took an oath to uphold the law, and the law says you go out for bids for amounts over $5,000 unless the council specifically gives you the opportunity not to because of an existing contract already in affect (road jobs or whatever they can sometimes add on to). He said Councilmember's should pay more attention to "this book" that they're sworn to uphold that says you go out and get sealed bids over $5,000. He said she failed to do that and he will vote against this.

In response to CM Tiberio's comments, the Mayor said in all candor, the proper procedure to follow is a different way, but the reality is, CM Feldberg was given a directive to run with the ball, she did it admirably, and this is a relatively new procedure. He noted they also doubled the tree planting budget in the current fiscal year because of the belief that an expanded tree canopy in Riverdale Park was a benefit to everyone in the community. In the past, they only had to go out to get trees under a sole source contract, and in past years, the Mayor went out at her own election to decide where to get the trees without a competitive bidding process. It's only because of the dollar threshold that they've decided to do more at this time. He said erasers are on pencils for a reason, a mistake was made, and they're doing their best to correct the mistake, and they will abide by the procedures in every way, shape and form in the future. This is an oversight they're attempting to correct.

CM Tiberio said he didn't want to make a big debate about this, but they've never bought this quantity of trees before, never near $5,000 in trees, so they didn't have to go out for sealed bids no matter who the mayor was. They only bought $500 - $800 in trees so they solicited some, but the quantity and volume of dollars itself say we should do more that just pick up the phone. He stated again that no one is questioning the track record of the company or the quality of the trees, but he's concerned about the law and that it wasn't followed saying if we fail to follow it once, we'll do it again.

CM Davis said she agreed with CM Tiberio, but there were mitigating circumstances, and believed she shared in some of the responsibility as she had pushed CM Feldberg to get the program underway so she could show to potential donors they have a success rate with this. They were up against a planting season and were uncertain how long the weather would last. As a new Councilmember you don't always know where to go, and maybe they should have spoken up during discussions to be sure everyone understood the procedure. The trees can't be sent back and she believed the dollar amount reflected that they're finally getting serious about the quality and quantity of what they're planting around Town. They're off to a rocky start, but are serious about replenishing the tree canopy with things that will last more than a couple of years.

Public Comment

Mark Smith, 5703 47th Avenue, said the trees are beautiful, they're big and large caliper, and they're expensive trees. He was a horticulturist before taking his current job, and said within the industry Shemin's is known as the 7 Eleven of wholesale nursery stock. They have everything, and you will pay their price. He said he believed Arlington County probably has a large bidding process and he hoped they got a good price, but when he bid them in the past for small jobs (under $5,000 per job), they were never competitive. There are other wholesale nurseries. The market is extremely competitive, you just have to travel a little farther. You always pay extra for delivery, and 6 months on a guarantee is fairly consistent. When you spend this kind of money it's important to bid it out to look at different prices.

CM Feldberg said Mr. Smith is correct, that in the wholesale market they are more expensive than some others, but they are very competitive with Arlington County and they did give us very competitive prices. They have a website that gives pricing and we got cheaper prices than what was listed on the website.

Robert Hutton, 5601 Silk Tree Dr, said as a beneficiary of some of the trees, and having attended several meetings where the trees were discussed and delivery was expected, no one addressed cost and the rule of law. He said he understood a law was broken, perhaps not knowingly - hopefully not knowingly. The residents of Madison Hills have waited for trees for several years and have been disappointed. The trees they got last year were garbage compared to this years trees. He said the trees were great and they're ecstatic and he can't wait for spring to see them. Mr. Hutton thanked CM Feldberg for the efforts she gave them.

Mr. Smith spoke again saying the cheapest way to put trees in the ground was bare root, bar none. If someone is reforesting a hundred acres, $40 - $50 per acre, the trees are planted on 10 foot centers, but they're bare root and they're small. You get a forest out of them 30 years later. The advantage of the larger tree is survivability, and you plant a larger tree in a neighborhood for impact so people can see what they bought. You give up something, it's not free. For perspective, the cost of that one tree might be the equivalent reforesting two acres.

Mayor Herman said that a failure to pass the resolution will result in a lawsuit by a supplier who will want to be paid by a Town not having the authority to expend the money. The Mayor called to vote the resolution to suspend the rules and void the contract.

The resolution passed 5 to 1. CM Tiberio opposed.

Resolution to Expand Scope of Work to VMP on 57th Ave

CM Scott made the motion to increase the amount to be awarded to the contractor not to exceed $32,815. for the street improvement and sidewalk on 57th Ave in Ward 6. CM Davis seconded the motion.

CM Scott explained that the Council committed to the improvement for the street but failed to walk the area with the engineer and paving company. A few weeks ago it was discovered that the area is very damp and is prone to sheets of water draining down it. Without proper planting on the slope, and barriers to prevent cars from going on the grass, there may be a problem with cars going on the grass. Several proposed improvements not originally considered are: to backfill the area at the end of the roadway to absorb better and avoid water running in sheets, to mulch and seed the backfill area, and to extend the sidewalk and road a little further to make a definite end to the street.

The Mayor said the sidewalk extension (there's some curbing that just ends at the northern most terminus of 57th Ave where it currently comes up against EW Hwy) on the east side would extend almost to EW Hwy and they'd work with State Highway Admin to see if the sidewalk service extension could come up the south side of EW Hwy for a pedestrian route (there's currently a dirt pathway there). It's a heavily traveled area and a sidewalk would be more suitable.

The Mayor noted that it's approximately an $8,000 increase over the original award, however, based on a negotiated contract (final terms being worked out), the 50% WSSC match will bring approximately $12,000 to the Town, before engineering and paving cost, so the improvements to the Town are essentially free. There'll be no actual monies expended out of the treasury over and above what was anticipated by the Phase II projects. If approved, the concrete work would be done now and paving operations will follow in the spring.

The Mayor asked if there was any discussion on the amendment to the VMP award.

CM Tiberio said the project started out a few years ago at about a $12,000 job. The job expanded to a $25,000 job a month or so ago. Now a month later, it's expanded to $32,000 for a single business. The animal hospital, the lawyers and the McDonalds aren't asking for it. He said he believed it's just to make the project bigger. It started out to provide access to a paved street in front of one building and it turned into concrete sidewalks, roads and barricades. CM Tiberio thinks it's unfair noting that a house on Riverside Dr has had a blue stone road for 45 years for almost the same distance this place has and the Town never considered a road there for taxpaying residents. He believed the Town was doing it because the money is there, and it is totally wrong.

CM Davis said from an economic development standpoint she's watched with some concern because of other projects they've discussed but set aside to get this one done. She noted this is an area that traditionally doesn't have a stable business climate - businesses have come and gone, but now there's a business that wants to stay for the long haul. A lot of people who live close don't have vehicles and would be pedestrians, so if they can work this out to get the best they can at first go around, the work may stabilize problems there.

CM Feldberg noted the area is an entrance to the Town and it's important to focus on entrances. The area is newly annexed to the Town (the east side of Kenilworth Ave, south of Riverdale Plaza) and is a growing part of the Town so an investment should be considered there. She said she's not an engineer so she can't say how much a job will cost but we have to trust those we're working with.

The Mayor said VMP had expressed concern that without the appropriate curbing and backfill, the street would be wet 24/7, and the integrity of the street could be jeopardized eroding the asphalt base much more rapidly at the northern end of the street. He was concerned about water runoff.

CM Tiberio said the contractor didn't express concerns about going to $32,000 when he told us it would cost $25,000.

CM Blaschke said she didn't know the history of this project but there were streets in Ward 2 without sidewalks or curbs and gutters, and she needs to consider constituents in her ward. She also agreed with CM Davis' comments about economic development, but they need to look out for longtime residents who need curbs and gutters in their neighborhoods.

The Mayor called for the vote to amend the VMP contract to an amount not to exceed $32,815. A roll call was requested. CM Feldberg, Blaschke, Davis and Scott voted in support of the amendment. CM Tiberio and Almirez opposed it. CM Tiberio said he wanted it noted that he supported last month's vote to the $25k contract, but was not in favor of extending it further. The vote was 4 - 2. The motion carried. The amendment to the contract with VMP was approved.

Committee and Ward Reports

Ward 1

Public Works Update

CM Feldberg reported that estimates have been requested to do tree work around town - stump grinding, tree pruning and removal. Several bids have been received and a decision will be made soon. She asked for resident's patience regarding leaf collection. Streets were missed because of recent engine troubles. Residents are encouraged to stop by Town Hall to see the office space constructed for the Assistant Administrator. As a reminder, vehicles should be parked on the odd numbered side of the street while snow removal operations are underway. Last Saturday citizens came by for 15 gallon trees under the private tree planting program. There have been no complaints about how to get them home. A few trees remain as some residents changed their minds at the last minute. Anyone interested in purchasing them should contract Public Works.

Ward 2

Legislative Committee

CM Blaschke said draft redistricting maps will be available for review in January. Public comment meetings will follow. She will introduce legislation later in the meeting regarding impounding vehicles within the town that have two or more outstanding traffic tickets. An article was published in the Town Crier about the proposed legislation and the parking fines as well as a report on the MD Municipal League's recent legislative conference in College Park.

CM Blaschke said she and Myra Mack published a charitable response request in the Town Crier for the flag project, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Riverdale Park Fire Department.

CM Blaschke wished residents a happy holiday, and a prosperous and happy new year.

Ward 3

Finance Committee

CM Tiberio said financial revenues are not good. They're doing all they can to cut expenses but still are not doing well. Another finance meeting will be scheduled for early in January (date TBD). He requested an executive session after this meeting to discuss a personnel matter.

CM Tiberio warned residents that a letter had been received about a potential insurance cost increase following the September 11th tragedies and the billions in financial losses that followed. It is almost certain that insurance policy premiums will increase, we just don't know when. He noted that states belonging to the same insurers and reinsures have seen premium increases from 120% - 220% and believed it's something that should be watched. CM Davis asked about affects of congressional remediation for the losses but CM Tiberio said they hadn't passed anything yet and another FBI terrorist threat was issued earlier in the evening.

He reiterated comments about redistricting proposals being posted and of a public hearing.

He warned about an unfunded mandate, GASB, requiring that every inch of street, sidewalk, buildings, etc, has to be inventoried and a value put on it. This means the town has to hire an engineer to tell us how many square feet of cement blacktop, bricks in building, etc, we have, to list our assets in am asset register. It would need to be done sometime next year and the expenditure amount is unknown. The legislation was put through behind municipalities backs and the first anyone heard about it was at the Maryland Municipal League meetings in College Park. He believed the point was to increase all of our assets

Mr. Prangley explained that the intention of the GASB, or the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, is to set the same standards for municipalities as for private industry - government run like a private company with depreciation starting since day one. The town will have to go back and there's a big dollar value on what we have to depreciate. Presently we borrow on our assessable base not on fixed assets like private industry does, though we are requested to keep a fixed assets journal (per the Governmental Standards Department of Legislative Services). In order to be in compliance with the mandate we will have to hire an attorney and engineer that specializes in such matters. Stan Early of the PG County Municipal Association said they've already spent half a million dollars and they're just getting started though they're under a different mandate. Riverdale Park will have to be in compliance by January 2003 so this will be another budget item to discuss this Spring. Mayor Herman commented that someone came up with the idea that municipalities can sell a street or a brick because that's the way private industry does it.

CM Tiberio expressed sympathies to the family of George Baker who died a few days ago. Mr. Baker was a good citizen of this town for 50 years.

CM Tiberio expressed happy holiday's to Ward 3 constituents and to all residents of the Town.

Ward 4

CM Davis noted the following upcoming meetings:

Traffic Study Meeting, December 4th , 7:00pm

Neighborhood Watch Meeting, December 18th, 7:00pm at Town Hall

She and the Mayor will testify before the Historic Preservation Commission that evening. Anyone who would like their comments (pro or con) delivered to the commission can email them to: cdavis@apa.org

Preservation Association Meeting, January 17th, 7:00pm at Town Hall to discuss preparing testimony for the state regarding the historic district. Next fall's house tour will also be discussed.

History Center Committee, January 23rd, 8:00pm at Town Hall. CM Davis reminded everyone they are the group organizing the Town Center. An article on them is in Town Crier explaining what it is that they need in donations of items.

CM Davis reiterated Chief Evans warning about shed burglaries in West Riverdale Park. Residents are warned to keep everything locked and secured. Any suspicious behaviors or persons should be reported to the police department immediately. Residents can notify the Police Department if they were going to be away for the holidays and would like them to help keep an eye on your home. 301-927-4343

CM Davis thanked her neighbors for their patience during recent WSSC work. Ward 4 has been severely affected with parking restrictions, bad water quality, traffic problems, and noise. The town will try to shut down work so it doesn't affect holiday visitors.

Hyattsville has still not made a decision about speed humps on 43rd. Serious sinkholes have been discovered on there so WSSC has been called in to see what needs to be done.

The property owner of the former McDonalds site gave a brief presentation of his restaurant and described it as something between Plato's and Applebee's, not fast food. As plans and permits are finalized, nearby residents will be notified so they can hear about what is planned and provide their input.

CM Davis continues work on a document describing different forms of government open to the Town, and how changes may be considered along with redistricting changes that are coming up. She gave examples of situations utilized by surrounding municipalities noting at large seats that will come up in conversation in about a month.

A Town Center Advisory Committee meeting was set for December 12th at 7:30pm. A reminder email will be sent to former members of the committee, and posted on the website as well as on the cable channel.

The mansion is decorated for the holidays and is open to visitors from December 26th to the 28th in the evening. Special programs are planned.

CM Davis wished everyone a happy holidays regardless of what they celebrate, and looks forward to seeing everyone out to greet Santa Claus on Christmas Eve

Ward 5

CM Almirez said he was happy to see paving and asphalt work is finishing. He's received many calls complaining about it. Calls have been received about traffic violations, especially early on weekends regarding speeding, noise, hours of traffic, etc. He's spoken with Chief Evans about the problem. He is addressing problems about the car on 54th Ave that has been there for many days.

CM Almirez will be on vacation from December 15th to January 15th. He wished residents a happy holidays and delivered a message in Spanish for non-English speaking constituents.

Ward 6

CM Scott said there is nothing to report on the Public Safety Committee. She also received a call from Mr. Cambro about the abandoned vehicle on 54th Ave as CM Almirez had. Chief Evans and code enforcement is working on it but reminded residents that the Town has a 7 day policy. Owners are contacted to do something about reported vehicles and the vehicle is impounded if nothing done within 7 days but there is an appeal process involved and said it sometimes takes time to move these vehicles. She expressed gratefulness to residents who make calls about these situations and encouraged them to continue even though it takes time.

She reported seeing impatient drivers on Riverdale Rd, in spite of the milling and bumpy conditions and narrowed roadway. Vehicles are even cutting around buses.

Mr. Prangley indicated that engineers have finalized the drawings for a pedestrian path on Greenway Dr. Something should be available for public review around the first of the year and a meeting will be scheduled to discuss plans and possible further upgrades because of needed WSSC improvements.

CM Scott wished everyone a happy holidays, and a prosperous and employed 2002.

Recess for 5 minutes until 10:07pm

Rollover Money from Phase I Infrastructure Improvement Program (old) to Phase II Program (current)

CM Tiberio made the motion that Phase I Infrastructure Improvement Program Funds in the amount of $9,852. be transferred, and rolled over into the Phase II project (as of 9/30/01 so the amount is $9,852 plus interest, as noted by the Mayor). The motion was seconded by CM Davis.

Mr. Prangley explained that the Phase II program was an approved certificate of indebtedness the town provided to improve numerous streets around town. The project began approximately a year ago and was achieved under budget. The proposal is to transfer this balance into the new Phase II for potentially funding other necessary projects in addition to those established by the Mayor and Council this previous year.

CM Davis asked if there were outstanding projects from Phase II and was told the town will be requesting bids on the remaining street projects in the spring.

There was no further council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.

Resolution of Support for the Purple Line 2001-R-7

CM Feldberg made the motion to take the resolution of support for the purple line off the table. CM Davis seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

CM Feldberg read aloud the resolution in support of the purple line. The resolution stated support of a light rail transit line with an alignment that would directly benefit the town and it's residents. The resolution further requests that the appropriate authorities include the town in determining the final alignment of the purple line.

CM Davis seconded the motion.

CM Feldberg elaborated. She had information available for those interested and explained that two alignments were proposed. One was a light rail system inside the beltway that would mainly benefit inside the beltway communities. The other would follow the beltway and focus more on getting residents outside the beltway to park and ride that line. The second proposal would service more people but would cost more than twice as much as a light rail system. The light rail system would be more cost effective and serve the inner beltway communities like our own.

CM Blaschke attended a transportation meeting a week ago and proposed a question to some of the transportation planners about the purple line alignment. She'd sent an email to the council about the discussion. She was told that the proposed location for the Purple Line in Riverdale Park is not actually located in Riverdale Park - it would be east of the Baltimore Washington Parkway and outside of the town's jurisdiction.

CM Feldberg said that was more reason why the town should weigh in, not only their support of an inner beltway system but to support the idea of us being more directly involved in the final proposal. She stated the design work is still in it's early stages.

The Mayor said though he wouldn't be voting, he wanted to note that he joins his colleagues who spoke in favor of the purple line. He said he and the council, and a future council, will be watching closely to be sure that the residents of Riverdale Park will be adequately served by placement of the rail stations along the Purple Line.

The motion passed unanimously.

Introduction of Legislation on the Towing of Vehicles with Multiple Violations, 2001-OR-3

CM Blaschke said Chief Evans forwarded draft legislation for consideration on October 22nd to have vehicles with multiple parking violations impounded or booted. CM Blaschke introduced and read aloud for the first reading, draft legislation, 2001-OR-3.

Ordinance 2001-OR-3 would amend section 64-18, of the ordinance code of the Town of Riverdale Park, to impound vehicles within the towns jurisdiction, with two or more parking violations that have been outstanding for greater than 30 days.

Section 64-18 of the ordinance code of the town of Riverdale Park is amended s follows: Section 64-18 (payment of fines, penalty for late payment) is amended by adding the following subsection (c) with the words "if a vehicle is observed in town and the vehicle has two or more parking violations that are outstanding for more than 30 days, the vehicle may be impounded at the discretion of the officer. The vehicle will not be released until all fines and fees have been paid".

It was noted that there is over $17,000 in outstanding parking fines from individuals that have received multiple parking fines.

Mayor Herman noted that ordinarily legislation would be published in the Town Crier but the next one isn't published until February. He explained that the matter can be tabled at the next meeting, for consideration at the February meeting, following publication in the Town Crier, or it can be deferred for consideration to a time definite in February, if there was a consensus on it.

CM Tiberio made comments (off mic), then CM Davis and Tiberio discussed putting the legislation into effect as emergency legislation considering the amounts outstanding. The Mayor said the necessity of advance notice to people in the community is important, especially when it involved having cars impounded. He noted that scofflaws probably won't abide by whatever rules are set up anyway and felt that getting word onto the street was important.

CM Blaschke noted it's already been discussed in the Town Crier. CM Davis about putting it into effect as emergency legislation, and adding a grace period on top of the 20 day effective period. The council decided to wait until February. The Mayor asked if the consensus was to postpone to a time definite at the February legislative meeting. It was agreed. The Mayor said it will be passed on to Ms. Zornes for printing and publication as an ordinance.

Ratification of Frederick Sussman to be Town Attorney

CM Davis made the motion to ratify Frederick Sussman as Town Attorney. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.

The Mayor explained that the town did a lengthy interviewing process, putting out solicitation for proposals from law firms around the state. Five firms were interviewed. The Mayor advanced Mr. Sussman as his selection for Town Attorney. He represents LaPlata and Seat Pleasant, and is the former attorney for the City of Annapolis where his firm is located. He has been representing municipalities for 20 years.

There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.

Unfinished Business

None

New Business

CM Davis asked Mr. Prangley for documentation for those who made charitable donations of their salaries (Davis, Scott and Blaschke were named). She also asked where accounts stood so remaining amounts can be distributed.

CM Blaschke brought up a matter brought to her attention by Mr. Prangley. She said the town office has been compiling resolutions, and changes to ordinances, and they'd like to bid the process to a publisher to have them done..

The Mayor said at this time the council has two possible approaches. A bid process, or request proposals from the three code services who do the work. He felt proposals should be obtained to know how much it will cost since the expense is not in the proposed or adopted budget.

Mr. Prangley explained that prior to his tenure, the Town had a contractual arrangement with General Code, out of NYC (one of the three companies who do this). The price has come down and there is state of the art ways of codifying codes in a cost effective manner. He thinks serious consideration should be given to how this was done in the past because prices have become more competitive. Its a yearly administrative function to limit liability. In the early 90's, like today, the benefit of legal expertise is present on the council. There is some suggestion about moving toward in-house operation of codifying, knowing how the procedure was done early in the 80's. It was compiled annually for codification, and the company in turn would present supplements in a professional format, keeping history, documentation and good reference points in the code with index completely done. In the 90's we went internally and computerized it. What we have doesn't have references or historical information It is very time consuming and the opportunity to make mistakes are much greater. We have the staff to compile it but the chance of error is great. He thinks we should explore the possibility and compare it to in house operations to see what is the most efficient and cost effective way of doing this operation.

He noted that CM Blaschke said seven municipalities have come together to pool the function, to prepare the specification to go out to bid and see what they can get from the three professional firms. Mr. Prangley thinks it would be good exercise to go through.

The concern is the limit of liability. At the present time, when something is passed by the council (ordinance or charter form), supplements go to appropriate departments. What happens is the supplements are included in the pocket until the town updates the code annually. Chances of police officers, code enforcement, public works or someone in the town office making an error with the supplements in the pocket is more likely than having it in codified form.

Mayor Herman asked if the Town is locked in if we go in with the seven municipalities but decided that the cost was prohibitive after the bid comes back. And, do they get a higher price if we back out when the bid is based on seven municipalities who went together. He said he didn't see any harm in getting proposals if we're only joining them to get bids from major company's and decide then whether it's financially affordable. Mr. Prangley said it also doesn't prevent from negotiating further.

CM Tiberio asked about developing the proposal about what they would submit before soliciting bids and Mr. Prangley said he wants to share development of that proposal before they go out to bid. They will look at all the options we have. including even providing software internally with a system we may have that would have their format which we could use on our own computer if that is more cost effective.

The Mayor said no legislative action is needed if it's just about developing the specification. Mr. Prangley and CM Blaschke confirmed it's not a legislative matter. It's just a new business matter.

Public Comment

Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd said in reviewing minutes to do the town's history, several months, and/or parts of years of records were missing between 1920 and 1990, and he was strongly suspicious that General Code lost them in the 1960's when they took the documents to do the original codification. Since they haven't been involved in the last 10 or 12 years, General Code will most likely ask for all documentation from the time they last served you. Even though the code went through a general overhaul in 1991 and 1992, if we go to any other company, they will probably ask for everything since 1920 to be sure of all they're dealing with and to protect themselves. The reason the companies existed in the past was that the work was intensive before computers and word processors. Now it shouldn't be. Revised chapters and/or pages should be printed and handed out the same as the military does with mil spec's. A cover sheet is then put in front of the book to tell people where to put the pages. Don't trust anyone to even make pen and ink changes. He thinks the town should be able to do it in house.

Mr. Kiernan also asked if salary discussions also occurred during council approval in the hiring of the Public Works Director in the November 20th minutes. The Mayor said there was no public discussion about the salary but it was discussed. Mr. Kiernan said the record should reflect that another executive session occurred. The Mayor said if he said it was discussed he would be revealing the contents of the executive session which would violate closed meeting laws. Mr. Kiernan said if there was an executive session he's presuming they're keeping the minutes locked in the safe as the laws require. The Mayor said they do any time they meet in executive session.

Mr. Kiernan said CM Blaschke mentioned in a Town Crier article, that the town would propose two specific pieces of legislation to the state but they weren't described. CM Tiberio said they were explained in a public meeting. The first regarded tangible property taxes, the other on increasing the towns share of taxes paid to the state.

Mr. Kiernan continued that the council talked about supporting MML's position in trying to obtain local zoning authority. He wanted to know if this had been thought through since the town shares several local major pieces of property with neighbors to the north - the American Center for Physics, USDA and Northrop Grumman, and College Park also wants this authority. He asked if there was a means to resolve problems at the county level if we share property like ACP and want to develop in the future, or will we end up in court every time because College Park has one zoning philosophy and we have another.

He asked if the town, under CM Davis' guidance, has been working on building standards on and off. Would that then have an impact if the town got local planning and zoning authority? He said the town had not applied, and had no desire to apply, for county historic district status because that imposes on the residents. CM Davis said it wasn't accurate to say, that we do qualify for the county historic district status. It's still out there to apply for, but we're just not applying for it at this time. She said there are neighborhoods in town that are interested in the local historic status, the entire town is not interested at this time. He said he was wondering, since she's also interested in building standards, if there wasn't a conflict in the information between the two articles. She asked for clarification of his question. He said if the town went to the zoning and planning authority, and we're already working on building standards, it would be a natural leap to expect that somehow those building standards would end up in the town zoning and planning authority portfolio. She said unless the county passes the legislation they've been working on, and putting aside and working on, they want to give municipalities some authority to deal with architect compatibility. CM Davis said if they pass the legislation, we'll be able to do it under that law.

Mr. Kiernan asked again why the deed for the purchase of Town Center isn't recorded and showing up in the state department of assessment and taxation data base. He said it was purchased in June and still isn't showing. He pointed out that Mayor Ferguson's home sold on October 13th and was record of the sale showed up in two weeks. Mayor Herman said he has had directed words with the previous town attorney about it who was concerned about taxes that weren't paid on the property. The Mayor said we don't pay county taxes on land we own though it's a matter being dealt with post haste. The rationale for the delay is a non-existent entity. He assured Mr. Kiernan the matter will be dealt with immediately.

Mr. Kiernan said one Town Center proposal was discussed at last weeks worksession, but there were 17 firms that expressed interest and picked up packages. He asked if any thought had been given to contacting the other 16 to find out why they didn't submit proposals. The Mayor said the ones that didn't would like to submit something but were busy. Mayor Herman said they're expecting a couple more proposals before the committee meets to review them.

Mr. Kiernan said there were a couple of gross typo's on the Spanish page in the Town Crier. He asked if Ms. Levy provided a hard copy along with a disc in case her character set doesn't match the character set in the Town's equipment. The Mayor said they'll work it out. Mr. Almirez wasn't able to proofread last month. CM Almirez noted there were differences between the English and Spanish alphabets and of the possibility of changing the program characters.

Mr. Kiernan said that CM Tiberio had commented about a line item for charitable contributions to cover Christmas Eve activities earlier in the evening and asked about it because he couldn't find it in the November cash report. CM Tiberio said it's in the big budget book they work from at the beginning of the year. "Charitable or community contributions from the Mayor and Council" are charged to OOE he said.

The Mayor and Council wished everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.

Motion to adjourn was made by several council members.

Meeting adjourned at 10:54 (per cable bulletins following the meeting).

Minutes prepared from videotape.

Mary Paradiso

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