Minutes of May 6, 2002
Town of Riverdale Park
Mayor and Council Legislative Session
Call To Order
Present: Councilmember's Feldberg, Tiberio, Davis, Almirez, and Scott, Police Chief Evans, Town Administrator, Mr. Prangley, and Director of Public Works, Mr. Houser
CM Blaschke was absent
Pledge Of Allegiance And Moment of Silence
Approval Of Agenda
CM Davis made the motion to approve the agenda. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. The Mayor added Item 13a - Consideration of Proclamation 2002-2. The motion passed unanimously.
Town Administrator and Treasurer's Report
Mr. Prangley read the Treasurer's report. The motion to approve the report, subject to audit, was made by CM Tiberio, and seconded by CM Davis. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Prangley said the Finance Committee will set a hearing on the proposed operating, and capital budget in the constant yield requirements. He reported that an ambitious street improvements program will be going on throughout the town into the fall. Notification was received today that the Town is the recipient of a $269,000 Community Legacy Grant as a partial payment of our overall $300,00 grant. We asked the state to be aware of future submittals relating to acquisition of the Town Center.
Mayor Herman referred to a recent Town Crier article concerning the proposed 2002 - 2003 fiscal budget. Riverdale Park is doing a very good job maintaining while revenues are decreasing in municipalities nationwide. Interested residents are encouraged to attend the budget and finance hearings (including those not familiar with municipal financing).
The most fundamental change is the creation of two trust funds. The Infrastructure Trust Fund, whose seed money will be the $468,000 received from WSSC (payment to the Town for work done during the water line replacement program - mostly in Ward 4). The other trust will be the Economic Development Trust Fund. One proposal would take the $269,000 just received, as the seed grant for the Economic Development Trust Fund. He anticipates the trust will create a fund the Town can have on a revolving basis which can be added to as economic resources permit, to have a resource pool for economic promotion and stimulation, economic redevelopment of properties in the community, as well as for a focus on refurbishing the infrastructure, some of which is very old. The Council has taken an ambitious approach over the last few months towards the infrastructure, but a survey from a few years ago revealed that we have approximately $6M of work yet to do on our streets. Approximately a third of the work has been done over last four years but there is a long way to go. He encouraged residents to attend to see and participate in the budget process of spending the over $3M in resources the community entrusts to them.
Mayor Herman announced that the electronic mail policy would be covered later in the meeting. Previous discussions about a situation that occurred, resulted in good public policy formulation because there was community involvement and input to resolve it before the council met to establish policy. Good public policy is well thought out, carefully crafted, and considers a wide variety of views. Anger sometimes brings people to the floor, but through consensus and collaboration, we can come up with successful policies that citizens can agree on and live with appreciably.
The Mayor spoke at an Arbor Day festival at Riverdale Elementary last Friday and said he hope the event will continue for many years to come. CM Feldberg will cover the in her report.
The Community Legacy Grant was received today. Many calls were placed with the state to make it happen.
Town Center redevelopment activity will start very soon. Covenants were filed for the property, and there is now a draft sales agreement between the Town and Douglas Development which are being reviewed by legal council. We hope to go to settlement very quickly and break ground within the month.
The Farmers Market starts May 16th and will run every Thursday from 3:00pm - 7:00pm. Town Center redevelopment and the Farmer's Market will be sharing space but the Mayor said he was pleased to see both happening simultaneously.
The County has set up a rabies vaccination clinic at two locations: Greenbelt on May 11th , and Bowie on June 8th. The fee is $5. Please call Town Hall if you have questions or need a brochure.
The Mayor announced that a letter, dated May 6th, was received from CM Blaschke, announcing her resignation as Councilmember for Ward 2 for Riverdale Park effective May 10th 2002. He read the letter aloud explaining her reasons for resignation following her mother's death, and the ongoing need of her presence to care for her elderly father and family. The letter reviewed her accomplishments, expressed her enjoyment and satisfaction in serving the community, and thanked residents for their support. The Mayor noted the Council would take up the matter again later in the meeting.
Police Department and Code Enforcement Report
Chief Evans reported that the code enforcement officer has been working diligently to assess situations in Town. High grass, vehicles parked on unimproved areas, and animal issues will be addressed. Residents are asked to report code issues to the police department and they will forward them to the code enforcement officer.
The Chief read aloud the April crime report. He thanked residents for their diligence and assistance in reporting suspicious activities and asked them to continue calling.
Al Dombrowski, 5023 Riverdale Rd, asked about stolen vehicles in Ward 6. The Chief asked CM Scott who said none were reported, but later corrected her comment to say there were two. Mr. Dombrowski explained that he had noticed two guys casing out parking lots in Ward 6 and Ward 3. One day he saw two county officers pulled over and recognized the faces of the guys he'd seen casing cars with them. He believed there were no stolen vehicles in his ward because they were still in jail. CM Scott and the Chief discussed one reported at 5400 Kenilworth Terrace (and one on 4/29 at 5823 Riverdale Rd but the Chief said that was not one).
Public Works Department Report
Mr. Houser reminded resident's that Spring Clean Up is Monday, May 20th and that is the last day that tires will be picked up for free. Residents are asked not to put out any metals on this day (May 20th) as metals are now picked up weekly (Thursday's on the A side of Town, and Friday's on the B side of Town).
Six lamps for Riverdale Rd have been ordered and are scheduled to be shipped on May 24th. Removal of the existing lights from PEPCO utility poles on Riverdale Rd will take a few weeks as it takes time to get the new ones to the construction crews.
The paper bag question is back because Public Works has no more in stock. The last 200 - 300 are in Town Hall. Public Works needs to be notified if more are to be purchased so they can place the order.
The new Public Works schedule changes went into effect last week (Thursday, May 2nd). Residents are adjusting to the changes and Public Works is becoming acclimated as well. No one has complained about the fee schedules that went into place, and a number of residents have opted to take advantage of the new services even before May 1st. A number of items were collected for the first time. Councilmember's have been provided a landfill comparisons report which reflect a developing trend of marked reduction in solid waste. However, the average solid waste tonnage is still higher than it should be for a Town our size. Some of that can be attributed to Saturday operations but Mr. Houser believes a large part is due to a lack of total resident participation in the Town's recycling program. Public Works can only guestimate resident participation because the county's recycling program provides no figures, but the best indication that everyone is participating would be a further reduction in the monthly landfill tonnages. Recycling saves money on landfill costs but the Town is also paying for the County's recycling services, whether we use them or not. Anyone who needs a recycling bucket should call the county at 301-952-7630, and one will be provided for free.
Mr. Houser reviewed the Council decision to enter the Town into the County Mosquito Program and noted it is for limited spraying for adult mosquito's - those carrying West Nile Virus. Residents in the affected areas will be notified when spraying is scheduled. There is an objector status for residents where they allow the objection and spraying will not occur unless a ruling is made that there is a public health risk, in which case spraying will occur anyway. Anyone who objects to spraying will be added to a list with their address and phone number. The Mayor reiterated that ample notification will be provided to residents in the designated spraying zones. Anyone wanting to request objector status will have opportunity to do so.
James Sargent, 4719 Rittenhouse St, said he didn't believe “Mr. Houser was no supervisor”. He complained that seven people, two trucks, and a pull-along trailer were present to plant a little tree on Queensbury and Taylor Rd and blocking traffic. He said men were working with a tractor and a pull along for an hour at Maybelle Munch Park, and today he saw two men and a little tractor working and believed it would have taken one man and a regular lawn mower 15 minutes. He asked about the expense of these.
Mr. Houser thanked Mr. Sargent for his comments and said he'd look into it. He said people were available today as Public Works is adjusting to the changes. Today they'd taken 16 and æ tons of trash out of town, worked on beautification of Town offices, grass cutting and others were working with him elsewhere.
The Mayor reminded Mr. Sargent that Mr. Houser said he'd make an review of the comments and if changes were needed they would be made. He asked that personal attacks not be made on Town employees. Mr. Sargent said Mr. Houser is responsible. The Mayor said that ultimately, he is responsible. Mr. Sargent complained that the Town is being pulled apart and it is the worst he's seen it in the 42 years he'd lived here.
He referred to the commercial garbage pick up service the Town provided to a business and asked if they were being charged the $269 fee. The Mayor explained that they were not being charged because of the tow services they provided to Town vehicles free of charge. Mr. Sargent asked if they were going to ask the other commercial businesses if they wanted to join in.
Committee and Ward Reports
CM Feldberg said pictures of the first Arbor Day Celebration are available to anyone interested in seeing them. The event was not as well advertised as she would like because it was a last minute event, but it was a first step towards Tree City USA. Some of the school's children sang for the event. The Farmer's Market opens again on May 16th, marking its the fifth year in Town CM Feldberg will be there selling bread every other week. Residents report that the sale of bread/baked goods is essential and since they've had trouble finding someone to participate every week, she and Alice Walker (?) will be sharing responsibility for the sale of bread items every other week.
Pictures are available of trees planted in the public/private partnership from this past fall. She expressed hope that the council will support the program again this fall. She believes it's a wonderful way to get trees planted in the community, especially in areas where trees are needed.
CM Blaschke was absent
CM Tiberio reported on the death of Mr. George Howard, a long time resident of Riverdale Park. His daughter Karen was the co-editor of the Town Crier for many years. CM Tiberio and the Mayor have been in discussion with Park and Planning to have the Riverside Park turned over to the Town - the one on Taylor with ball fields, a soccer field and basketball court. CM Tiberio reminded residents that regarding the Mosquito Program, the Council only approved spraying in Wards 3, 5 and 6. Whole wards will not be sprayed, only areas with standing water. Residents in the affected areas will be notified. Pellets are currently being used but they are not totally effective so spraying is needed.
Later in the meeting, the budget hearing, and constant yield tax hearing will be discussed and scheduled according to the law. A finance meeting will also be scheduled.
CM Tiberio said the Mayor provided a lengthy report in the Town Crier on his proposed budget to the council. As Chair of the Finance Committee, CM Tiberio will provide a lengthy report in the upcoming Town Crier on his budget recommendations as well, which he noted may differ from the Mayor's. He commented that it should be an interesting budget process (over the next 30 - 45 days).
CM Davis announced citizen meetings for the next month:
Mr. Frank Randall has been called out of town suddenly and had to cancel tomorrow evening's Traffic Study Meeting. The next meeting will be the first Tuesday in June.
May 13th, at 7:30pm - Kenilworth Annexation of Jemal's Office Park. She encouraged all residents to attend, especially those in Madison Hill.
May 16th at 7:30pm - Preservation Association Meeting of Riverdale Park (regular business meeting). On May 18th, 10:00am, there will be a discussion of the organization as it pertains to the historic districts and it's future goals.
May 21st, 7:00pm at Town Hall - Neighborhood Watch Meeting
May 16th - Farmer's Market. CM Davis asked those living closest to the market (from Ward 1 and Ward 4) to please walk in order to reduce the need for parking due to construction work on Town Center, ongoing WSSC work, and an increased MARC rider ship (creating parking at a premium situation). CM Feldberg recommended residents use The Bus if transportation is needed.
Code Enforcement is working on high-profile issues. Once those are resolved, the smaller ones will be addressed as quickly as possible.
CM Davis reminded residents who are interested in the purchase of a tree, to please contact the Town office, or herself, and you will be placed on a list for fall planting in the event that trees don't become available this spring.
She was pleased to report on a citizen-sponsored clean-up effort in the neighborhood north of the highway and west of the RR tracks over the weekend. It was not as well attended as it could have been, but residents worked hard to clean out some of the park area over there.
Mr. Prangley is working to get a concrete schedule of WSSC's final projects in Ward 4, the beginning of resurfacing projects, and replacement of what they damaged in the last year and a half. Residents with questions about this project should call Town Hall (301-927-6381) or CM Davis.
CM Davis said residents interested in having a block party need to present a letter to Town Hall for Council consideration and vote at a regular legislative meeting. The letter must be signed by the majority of residents on the affected street because that street will be closed for the event.
The permit parking meetings that were scheduled for the end of April have been postponed until the end of May due to scheduling conflicts for some of the residents involved. Letters will be sent out.
This is the time of year for six-foot fence installations and, though a Town and County permit is required, many fences are put up without them. Any fence company in PG County who states a permit is not required is lying. Please bring permit requests to the Town Hall for a vote by the Council at a regular legislative session. Permits are rarely denied.
Christa Hernandez (Assistant Town Administrator) is now on board, and, CM Davis would like to schedule the first meeting of the Town's Economic Development Committee. CM Almirez and the Mayor and Council said they would be available for a meeting May 23nd at 7:30pm (the Mayor said he would be late but would attend). CM Blaschke will not be in attendance.
On Saturday, June 8th at 10:00am there will be a meeting for residents interested in putting together a group to begin discussing the MUTC zoning on Route 1. There are questions to answer, and she would like to constitute a group of citizens similar to the Town Center Advisory Committee. She will wait to see what interest there is for this particular project first. The presentation regarding what this means for the commercial district was made at the worksession. There are good and bad points to it. A benefit would be that it would be easier for “mom and pop” businesses to relocate on Route 1 by cutting through the red tape which relaxes the rules a little bit. This could also allow things to happen that we many not want if we don't have a plan in place. It also allows for quick conversion of any residential property into commercial. The way the district is currently drawn, Queensbury Rd is the connector, and people there are very nervous about the conversion of those properties. Many have tried for years to have properties along there converted back to single-family use.
CM Davis expects to hear from the US Department of the Interior about the historic district status. Everyone in the historic district will be notified and will receive a copy of the letter for those interested in applying for a tax credit.
A few weeks ago there was an article in the Gazette about a proposed fence around Riversdale, a national landmark. She said the article implied that the decision was an immediate one that would be forced on residents but that is not true. The Riversdale Historical Society and the Park and Planning Commission (who own the property) have been looking at ways to protect the mansion from vandalism, and a fence is one of them. When the commission presents any of their plans to put up a fence, a citizens meeting will be called. The decision will not be made in a vacuum.
CM Almirez said many residents he's spoken with have discussed parking problems in the apartments, with 3 - 4 vehicles per apartments, while parking along 54th Avenue is especially difficult. Parking controls are attempted through lease wordings but people do it anyway. Problems with criminal assaults and stolen vehicles reports are an issue with residents because even when these are reported while in progress, the criminals are gone before the police can get there.
Residents are also concerned about mosquito problems in Ward 5. They are addressing standing water in their areas but there are drainage problems that creating standing water in parking lots. CM Almirez said residents are doing the best they can he's doing all he can to help them but the problems continue.
The Mayor told CM Almirez that Mr. Houser would review the problem areas by the apartments in Ward 5 for the spraying program, and Chief Evans will work with him about the problems on 54th Avenue.
CM Scott said there was nothing to report for public safety.
CM Scott said the parking problems on 54th Ave is spilling over into Ward 6. She reported that there is a handicapped couple on 54th Ave who come home each evening to find there is no parking available to them. She will take the issue to the Traffic Study Meeting in June. She asked residents who normally park on 54th Avenue (on the north side of 54th after Riverdale Rd) to be considerate and not park in the residential area if they do not live there. A petition for handicapped spaces on that street will be applied for soon.
A letter was received from Mr. Alberto Morales of Spring Lane about a parking issue there because of a church. CM Scott wanted Mr. Morales to know that a letter is in the mail for him with a suggestion that may alleviate the problem. She said a phone number was not included and his number is not listed but she wanted him to know a letter was coming.
There are plans for the sidewalk improvements on Greenway Dr. CM Scott's schedule conflicted with times most residents would be available to meet and discuss the plans. She offered to leave them at Town Hall for residents to see and review them before construction starts in the near future.
CM Scott announced that she is tendering her resignation, effective immediately, due to the difficulty of balancing a full-time job and her council responsibilities. She explained that though several council members have addressed the problem of the late night meetings, and have made suggestions, they continue. CM Scott explained that she was recently promoted to a new position on her job, and following last week's late night meeting, she took a training test after only four hours of sleep. She learned this morning that she failed the test. She said it occurred to her that she is jeopardizing her livelihood by trying to do both.
She thanked residents for the privilege of serving the last two years and was very pleased to do so for those in her ward. She explained giving her time and returning her salary. She expressed appreciation for the support she's received from the Council, Director House, Mr. Prangley, and Chief Evans. She wished her residents well. She apologized for not putting the resignation in writing but rushed in from work to take care of town business before the meeting. She thanked residents for the honor of serving them this last two years.
Fire Department Report
Dave Sutton apologized for not having a formal report. Both he, and Chief Holtzberger have been busy with local and county issues. They are slowly working towards the continued efforts of consolidation with Riverdale Heights. Cooperation with the county is on and off so they take it when they can get it.
He reminded everyone to be careful during grilling season and exercise a lot of caution. He reminded residents to place their grills at least 25 feet from their houses, and to at least make sure a house, or garage roof isn't over the grill. The law states that grills must be placed 25 feet from apartment buildings and multiple family dwellings. He reported that recently people were grilling inside an apartment building.
Mr. Sutton said he wasn't present to remind everyone to check their smoke detectors and change the batteries, but anytime is a good time to check them for residents who haven't done so already.
He reminded residents that they're always looking for volunteers. Information can be found on their website at www.riverdalevfd.org
The Mayor asked for unanimous consent from the Council, and thanked CM Scott and CM Blaschke, for their dedicated service to our community and wished them the best. CM Tiberio suggested that a letter be sent from the Town and Council, commending each for their character and service to the Town. The Mayor thanked CM Scott for her service and said he'd look forward to her working with them in the future.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, said he was sorry to hear about Ms. Scott's departure and wished her well. He asked about the extensive Eckerd meeting minutes (February meeting) that were missing from the agenda. He noted that they were supposed to be available in March, then April, then May. Mr. Kiernan said his other comment was about the fence around Riversdale. When he was on the council they reluctantly passed a pooper-scooper law because people were allowing their dogs to defecate on public property, as well as on other people's property. He said last Wednesday evening he noticed a councilperson's significant other walking their dog on the mansion grounds and then leaving the droppings there.
CM Davis said the Eckerd minutes were very extensive, and due to holes in the minutes (where people did not identify themselves), Town personnel changes, and making out the handwritten notes, they're still being worked on.
Michael Wein, announced that he is running for the Maryland State House of Delegates. He is not a resident of Riverdale Park, but is running to represent Riverdale Park for the 22nd legislative district. He is a longtime resident of Prince George's County and has been a Lanham resident for the last five years.
He graduated with honors from the University of Maryland's School of Government and Politics, and is also a graduate of the University of Maryland's School of Law. He's worked in Annapolis drafting legislation, and has developed legislation with different delegates. He believed he is qualified to represent this area in Annapolis.
Mr. Wein explained that the role of a delegate is complicated. One duty is to represent the district, and he is always open to hear comments and answer questions. His home phone number is 301-552-5520. His web address is firstname.lastname@example.org . He's interested in hearing about any issue, or project the Mayor and Council is interested in receiving assistance from the state, or help facilitating support from the state on. Another job of a delegate is to assist citizens with community problems. He can help by directing individuals to the right person, or by making a call over a matter where there are consistent problems dealing with someone in the county. Calls from a State Delegate are returned.
In response to CM Davis' question about political party affiliation, Mr. Wein said he is a registered Democrat. The Mayor said whether Mr. Wein did, or did not represent Riverdale Park after the November election, we have great expectations of our representatives in Annapolis. The Town has not always received everything we wanted, or the service we wanted, but if Mr. Wein is there, and he doesn't deliver, the Mayor said he'd be hearing from us. Mr. Wein said he expected that, particularly from Mayor Herman. The Mayor thanked him for coming to speak to them.
Wendell Davis, 5404 Powhattan Rd, said he was shocked and saddened by CM Scott's sudden resignation and said he would miss her. He'd noticed on the agenda that the Council would be receiving an annexation petition from Riverdale Heights and Riverdale Hills, and asked if there would be any action that evening or if public hearings would be scheduled. The Mayor explained the Council would soon decide how they would handle the matter this evening, but there is a very regimented procedure set forth under state law if annexation would even be considered.
Recess until 8:45pm
The Mayor asked to move to agenda items 14 to accommodate the residents that were present and then move to the presentations.
Request for approval of 6 ft fence and 16 ft side variance at 4801 Rittenhouse (Ward 4)
Jennifer Lloyd, 4801 Rittenhouse St, explained their fence plans. Their property is a double lot exposed on three sides including one facing EW HWY and one adjacent to the fire house. The variance is needed to eliminate noise from EW HWY, and pedestrian traffic through their yard. In response to a question, CM Feldberg was informed that approval included the fence coming to the front of the house.
CM Feldberg made the motion to approve a 16 ft variance, or to permit the east side portion of the fence to extend to the front building line (as depicted on the diagrams). The Mayor noted that it's a variance from normal departure. The motion was seconded by CM Tiberio. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor said they would move to the presentations since the other fence request resident was not present.
Presentation for petition of annexation of Riverdale Heights, Riverdale Hills, and Crestwood sections of Riverdale, MD
Jim Magill, 5007 Oglethorpe St (Riverdale Park), who is also the Deputy Chief of the Riverdale Heights Volunteer Fire Department, presented a petition for annexation from the residents of Riverdale Heights, Riverdale Hills and Crestwood sections of Riverdale, requesting annexation into the Town of Riverdale Park. He distributed it to the Council. He said he represented the Riverdale Heights, and the Riverdale Fire Department, in an effort to annex the areas. There are 587 homeowner dwellings with no apartments, it's all residential dwellings running from the north side of Riverdale Rd from Kenilworth Ave up to 63rd Place and all the houses through Sarvis and 61st Place in the area behind Jemal's. The petition is signed by 267 of them - 45%. In meetings the last two months with the majority of the citizens of the area, 90% he'd spoken to are in favor of the annexation. Being volunteer fire men, he said their time is stretched, but with the help of the Riverdale Fire Department and ladies auxiliary, and the Riverdale Crestwood Citizens Association, they've collected signatures over the last two months on nights and weekends. Many residents couldn't be reached at home when they came by. He introduced Mrs. Pat Eisenschmidt, President of the Riverdale Heights/Crestwood Citizens Association, Chief William Holtzberger, Dave Sutton, President, John Wood, Fire Chief and Nathan Bell, President, both from the Riverdale Heights Fire Department. He thanked them all for their help.
Mr. Magill asked the Mayor and Council to please consider the annexation petition. He explained they'd like to see the services they provide to the Town also provided to the residents of the areas petitioning for annexation. Riverdale Heights Fire Department services a lot of Ward 2 - Madison Hill, 5400 block of Quintana St, and Patterson Rd, and Quesada. RHFD has been around 75 years, and RFD has been around a few years longer. They will continue to provide services to those who need it but he feels the citizens in the other areas need a better share of services. He's served the two fire departments for the last 30 years and has seen a decline in the area. He said Riverdale Heights has seen a serious decline and doesn't see any help for those citizens without the annexation. He welcomes the support.
Pat Eisenschmidt, President of Riverdale Heights Citizens Association for the last 8 years, said they've struggled with their community and tried three times prior to this to be annexed into the Town of Riverdale Park. It's never succeeded, but she hopes this time it will. She reiterated what the Assistant Chief said about the deterioration of the neighborhood. She said those moving in don't understand our laws, or county laws about trash, cleaning up their property, or about anything. The property standards of the county take too long. They give six weeks to clean up the property or fix the problem before another citation comes with another six week wait, then they clean it up for a charge. She said she understands Riverdale Park isn't like that. She said she's almost ashamed to say she lives in Riverdale Heights sometimes. Half of the new people moving into Riverdale Heights think they live in the Town of Riverdale Park and have to be told they don't. She hopes their wishes come true and they will live in Riverdale Park, if the taxes don't go up. She said she spoke to someone here living in Madison Hills who pay $2,000 a year in taxes and people in Riverdale Heights couldn't afford that. She said she's always wanted to be a part of the Town of Riverdale Park because of it's cleanliness and it's laws. She believes there are a lot of people in Riverdale Heights who do as well. She said some of the older people don't because they fear the taxes will be too high and they won't have enough money. Hopefully the taxes won't be too high. She said a lot of them have already voted, and some won't vote at all. The Mayor said the three attempts Mrs. Eisenschmidt spoke of didn't involve a petition being presented to the Council for consideration. He can see from the signatures that a lot of work has been done. She explained how the meetings with the citizens went when Mr. Tiberio attended, but many had since changed their minds and want to be a part of the Town.
Wayne Holtzberg, 5006 Somerset Rd, Chief of the Riverdale Park Fire Dept, wanted all the citizens to know that his department endorses the annexation of the Riverdale Heights and Crestwood sections. If anyone has questions about why they endorse it, citizens are welcome to call (301) 927-0356 to discuss the matter.
The Mayor noted that a date for certifying the petition and a public hearing will be set. At that time many of the questions people have can be voiced and will be addressed.
Presentation by Patricia Parker regarding the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area Heritage Carnival in Riverdale Park and College Park on July 6, 2002
Patricia Parker introduced several members of the organizing committee made up of 16 individuals - three came: Willamine Quander, Administrative Judge, Phillip Taylor, represents the Caribbean effort, Samuel Parker, African American Experience and parking issues related to the event. Heritage Carnival is an initiative of education through entertainment and celebration of diversity as well as the blending of many cultures. It is aligned with ATHA's mission and is composed of three main events - the Heritage Ball on July 5th, comprising the VIP list will probably be 200 of the 500 invited of the political and ambassadorial committee, Heritage Carnival Parade on the morning of July 6th, followed by the opening of the ABC Heritage Village which will include entertainment, music, food, craft parade and booths. The audience marketed to is local, regional, DC, Baltimore, NY, NJ, and international. This is first year and following years will produce growth. An early flyer was produced for sampling of graphics. Promotion and exposure will be handled by the award winning graphics firm, Laurel Marketing and Design (a minority firm from Laurel), who are putting together a sponsorship kit, media kit, rack brochure (including a layout of the village and detail of the sponsors). A media list and schedule of releases have been compiled. The carnival initiative has not officially been announced as they are awaiting a letter from the County Executive who has voiced support, but details are still needed. 5,000 - 50,000 could be in attendance but the first year is guesswork. They're waiting for indication of county participation of law enforcement, trash removal, EMT services, knock down and transportation expense, use of a county contractor to assist in village layout, provision of 100 10 x 10 tents, several larger tents, main stage set up and knock-down, chain link fencing to secure the ABC Village enabling it to be a ticketed event, and to provide an administration trailer.
There will be a lot of educational outreach, including a focus on the history of Carnival - the reason for the celebration within the many cultures, and the importance of our diverse communities understanding it's diversity, and the heritages that are brought in celebration of the event. There will be a souvenir magazine produced by the Latin American Folk Institute who will devote this quarterly issue to the event. There will be a carnival guide in the form of a Gazette newspaper insert. Eileen Cabe, an artist from Hyattsville will provide a commissioned commemorative poster and limited lithographs (not including the original).
Sponsors include the Maryland Lottery, Office of Business and Economic Development (the State office that also produces film, arts, and is responsible for state tourism). They also have the interest of other sponsors; BB&T has committed to providing ATM's for that day and are looking at various sponsorship levels.
The Operations focus is on volunteer efforts. The parade will start on the UM campus. The University has given it's permission to assemble on it's grounds and to proceed from there, as well as to utilize campus parking. Parking will also be provided by Jemal's off of Kenilworth with shuttle buses provided by the University and DPWT. The University Inn and Conference Center has committed to hotel accommodations for the event.
As state earlier, they are expecting a letter from the County Executive regarding permits. A letter of support has been received from MNCPPC's Park's Department.
The parade itself involves 20 groups representing Brazilian, Pilipino, African American, the American experience of Mardi Gras, Latin American, and Caribbean.
Ms. Parker said they were asking permission from the Mayor and Council to continue working with the Town staff as they refine the details, and receive needed information from the County Executive. They asked to have progress meetings in the Town, and to offer a small surcharge on the entrance fee tickets to the ABC Village for the support and understanding they hope to receive from the Town.
CM Davis asked why MNCPPC declined to sponsor the event. Ms. Parker said ATHA came to them after their budgets were already established for this fiscal year. MNCPPC was enthusiastic and chose to provide support this year instead. ATHA will begin in September of next year to allow for their budget processes to go their normal cycle.
CM Feldberg asked about charging for entrance/participation. Ms. Parker said the ball is a ticketed event by private invitation, the parade will be free to the public, and the ABC Village will involve approximately a $3. entrance fee - they're hoping to provide a .25 additional fee on the ticket. No hard liquor will be sold, but beer will be, and they're hoping to provide water at a minimum fee if not for free.
CM Davis asked about College Park's support for the event. Ms. Parker said they received a letter from the City asking for many details. The College Park Civic Association meets this Thursday and ATHA will provide an update. Questions are focused on security, crowd control, noise control and abatement, hours of operation, the sale of alcohol and if it will be in accordance with the laws and in a defined area. Ms. Parker offered copies of the letter with comments from the Mayor of College Park. CM Tiberio asked if she would provide them with a copy of College Park's answers when they were received and she agreed absolutely. She said they want to keep Riverdale abreast of event developments as the ABC Village would be in the Town. There has been a lot of interest from media and ATHA's board wants to be sure the event is a success.
Alan Dombrowski, asked for clarification of the schedule.
The Mayor said as a partner of ATHA, the Town is one of 14 municipalities supporting their programs. He mentioned a meeting that day with the Chief of Police, Mr. Prangley, and others concerning the forthcoming letter from the County Executive, and said if it is not coming, the Town's support is not there either. The Mayor said we cannot risk a riot, or lack of crowd control in our community, and has heard of such concerns. He understood from the ATHA board and a meeting he'd attended that the drop dead date, or go/no go date for the County Executive letter was today (May 6th). If a commitment was not made by today that a decision, and where we stand is there still is no letter of commitment, only a possible oral understanding. The Mayor said we cannot subject the residents to potentially 50,000 people without adequate police. Even if every municipality committed their officers (151 officers), there would be no one patrolling the streets of their community and that is only half or a third of what is needed for the event. He asked how they could be expected to go forward absent the passing of the go/no go drop date they've arrived at. She said she had stepped back from asking for Council approval of the initiative, and instead had asked for permission to continue to work. They've received clear indications from the County Executive that a letter is forthcoming and they believe the letter is imminent.
A lot of work has been done and a number of communities and individuals have asked that the initiative not be set aside yet. She understand they cannot ask for absolute approval, but want to continue to work with the staff. If the letter comes as they expect, they will come back, but they cannot ask for approval now. The Mayor explained that the logistical nightmare is the Council only meets twice a month and doesn't meet for three more weeks, and there is advertising and brochures that need to go out. He asked how they could meet in three weeks and still meet advertising and notification requirements. She explained use of a soft advertising piece until complete approval is obtained.
Ms. Parker said they're aware they can't go forward without three things: the County Executive's letter of approval outlining in detail the amount of support he'll provide, the Towns' letter of support and readiness to be host site, ATHA's board review of having all of that in hand. The Mayor said conditional approval predicated on certain conditions that may occur after tonight's meeting, or a special legislative meeting, but they are missing two council people already. The Mayor said he's not sure they would provide conditional approval because some logistics need to be ironed out about coordination on public safety aspects with various agencies involved. The Mayor asked for council preference.
CM Davis asked if there is a new go/no go date, or estimated time of arrival for the County Executive letter. Ms Parker restated they believe the letter is imminent. They had hoped to have everything in place by April 30th and they have a 15 day window at the most so everyone is jittery. If things aren't squarely in place by middle of the month then looking at 2003. In the interim they're continuing to move several items on a parallel track.
CM Tiberio asked how long they've been waiting for the letter. Ms. Parker explained their first meeting with the County Executive was in January to explain the project. Subsequent information was requested and sent about a month or so after. ATHA's last letter to him was sent on April 17th answering his questions about cost estimates on the county details -down to dollars per hour for police.
CM Feldberg said she felt comfortable making a motion for conditional acceptance depending on the security. The Mayor asked if she wanted to set a benchmark - a commitment of certain things by a certain date. CM Feldberg said the date was not important, just that they would provide adequate security for the event. The Mayor asked for a second to the motion and there was none. The motion failed.
The Mayor asked for an alternate motion with additional language satisfactory to the council.
CM Davis said she would be more comfortable waiting for the letter from Mr. Curry, and correspondence from College Park that sounds like it might be forthcoming. The Mayor asked if the Council was willing to convene a special legislative meeting mid month if that occurs. CM Davis pointed out there would be many meetings coming up where they'd be convened and could address it.
CM Tiberio said he doesn't see where the council has time. He was concerned about staff time being applied to this when, as he sees it, they're already overwhelmed and said he was reluctant at this time. He thinks it would be a wonderful affair but was concerned about the failure to get the County Executive's decision earlier, saying he should have come on board at least 60 days ago or so with the services they'll provide. He said there's also College Park to contend with, saying he'd heard rumors they're not totally in support of this. Maybe ATHA's letter will satisfy their College Park's requirements but he'd like to see answers to the questions and ATHA's response.
The Mayor said lacking a consensus, and out of abundance of caution, they do meet the last Monday of month and can also meet for special legislative session if needed but he was open to alternate suggestions.
CM Davis suggested meeting on the 28th. The Mayor asked if that was too late for ATHA's commitment from Riverdale Park. Ms. Parker said if they can hold, if not, they'll have to reassess, noting it's tough to get publicity out in June for a July event of this size and it will probably causes problems with the success of the event itself. She said she understands the Council is lacking two members but would prefer to have approval with conditions of time constraints.
The Mayor asked if the Council would consider a resolution that provides that the council give consideration or approval, provided the Chief certifies that the county staff commitment is sufficient for the event, and if by 15th of the month, with that, there would be council approval for the event.
CM Davis said she would be more comfortable if they get the letter from Mr. Curry and College Park, and then talk to the Chief rather than to put this responsibility on him. She said “it's our responsibility”.
CM Feldberg believed it was unfortunate this council would make decision that would stop all the hard work on this event from coming to be. It was put together for the community, and for the four of us to decide it's not appropriate isn't right. CM Tiberio pointed out that “the four of us” were elected to represent the people. Our first concern is to the people of Riverdale Park. CM Tiberio said the things on our plate in the next 45 days transcend this event which should have been approved a long time ago and shouldn't be down to the last 30 days before the County Executive says he'll allow the police department to provide security. He agreed it was not right to put Chief Evans in the place of saying if it should or shouldn't happen when he has a police department to run. CM Tiberio said he is not going forward with conditional approval without more information. The Mayor confirmed there was no resolution and no second to the motion proposed.
The Mayor asked Ms. Parker to confer with them as information becomes available (letter from College Park with ATHA's responses), and he'll be sure the Council receives it and learn if there is a consensus to hold special legislative meeting later in the month or on the last Monday of month for potential consideration at that time.
CM Davis said it's only fair to Ms. Parker that they make a decision and not wait two weeks if the information they requested is provided. The Mayor said members would receive a call as soon as the information is received and he thanked Ms. Parker and her representatives for coming.
Presentation by Alan Dombrowski on park improvements to land adjacent to 5023 Riverdale Rd
Mr. Dombrowski presented aerial photos of a park area whose property lines he wanted to discuss. He explained the green line is park property, and black line is the 50 ft width of Riverside Dr. He said where the sidewalks stopped, both are incorrect - Riverside Dr starts and moves towards the river at the curb of Riverside Dr, where the bicycle path is. It may be time for the Town to bring in a surveyor to mark out other plots and mark out Riverside Dr. He said when you do, you'll see you're about 12 - 15 ft short on the sidewalk. Poretsky's property line makes it look like the road is straight and it's not S shaped. He has his cable on a 4 x 4 post as a fence running in the opposite direction of the road. If he decided to bring the cable line back on his property line, the whole area is closed because he'd be roughly 6 ft away from telephone pole. The way the sidewalks are done is totally incorrect, and whatever additional corrections are planned over there should consider this. The sidewalks need to be changed to add what's missing.
Mr. Dombrowski said the second issue he wanted to speak to was about the street lights on Riverdale Rd. Summer is not even here yet when kids will be playing street ball late into the night but he showed a photo of a 3 year old riding a bike on park property around 8:00pm in the dark. Other kids (9 - 10 years old) were with the child, but kept leaving him alone on Riverdale Rd in the dark while they went down by the waterfall. He said it's happening because it's lit up like a playground, only it's happening sooner than he predicted. The park closes at sunset. Some individuals don't think they have to leave but having it lit up makes it harder to convince people.
He also spoke about the river and the street lights saying when the lights were off for about a week he noticed the Herron's came back around the third night they were out. He showed a photo of 17 Herron's one of the dark nights that week. Only one or two came after the electricians came to rework and turn on the lights.
He suggested using a different ballast which uses a lower watt light bulb which doesn't give flood light effect, or to use a frosted bulb that won't be a blinding light . Either will light the sidewalk as it's supposed to. He asked for a council vote on the matter.
Mr. Dombrowski also asked that trapping permits for domestic animals be put into the code book (county law refers to it as “setting the standard for humane traps”). He explained there a resident on Oglethorpe St who trapped any animal coming into yard for the last 4 [omega] months, then called animal control next day. Any animal looking like a stray - which could be a cat with a little dirt on them, would be euphonized the same day. There are elderly people still looking for pets that have disappeared and noted that an 80 yr old may have an animal who slips out of a home and got into this yard but then can't be found.
The Mayor reminded Mr. Dombrowski that the park is what his presentation was about. He said he wasn't saying that trapping was not an issue, but it was not relevant and said he would like to take that issue up at a worksession.
Mr. Dombrowski asked about a vote for a surveyor to come in about the property lines. He reiterated his belief that there may be a discrepancy between the park and the town, as well as with Poretsky and the town property lines on the other side.
There were no council comments or public comments. The Mayor believed the information and suggestions were worksession material, but asked about council pleasure on the matter, for a resolution, or to leave it for further council study.
CM Tiberio said a survey would be done before putting in a park or some other facility in the next year or so. It's not a pressing issue until we decide what we're going to do, and how much we're going to spend to do it. He agreed that changing the light bulbs would be a worksession subject. The Mayor said they'd had that discussion. CM Tiberio said they had, but not regarding that particular area. He understands the wildlife sensitivity conditions going on over there, noting the pictures to prove the wildlife is all over when dark, and are suddenly gone when the lights are on. Same with deer. It's a whole new world there when the lights are on and it affects a whole lot of wildlife along the Anacostia branch.
Mr. Dombrowski referred to a survey from 1988 talking about standing and electro shocking (??), noting that many think the creek is storm runoff. The survey documented 51 species of fish and 15 families, noting it's not just a “mud hole runoff”. There's a lot more to this area and in Town history (made in 1970) telling about the river as the NE Branch being one of the most important single items in Riverdale. He said you can see it when you watch for it, otherwise it's easily overlooked.
Mr. Dombrowski credited Mr. Houser and Public Works for cleaning up the area, as well as MNCPPC, and Riverdale's police department. So far it's been clean and quiet. “Whatever they did, they did it right this time”, and he thanked all three again.
The Mayor said they will take up the wattage, surveying, and light issues at a worksession. Mr. Dombrowski felt correction of sidewalks and park property lines were still important. There was more discussion about engineering and the park situation.
The Mayor asked Mr. Dombrowski to leave his photo board for them to review and discuss for the next worksession. Mr. Dombrowski said he'd leave more photos at the end of the meeting.
Approval of Minutes
Approval of the April 1, 2002 Regular Legislative Meeting minutes was made by CM Tiberio and seconded by CM Davis. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of the April 29, 2002 Special Legislative Meeting was made by CM Tiberio and seconded by CM Davis. Mr. Prangley said the minutes needed to be corrected to note that the department heads were in attendance at that meeting. CM Tiberio said he considered that a friendly amendment. The motion passed unanimously.
None were requested.
CM Davis read aloud Riverdale Park Proclamation 2002-2, regarding designation of May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to observe the week of May 12th as Police Week. The Council voted unanimous consent for adoption of Proclamation 2002-2.
CM Feldberg asked if the problem addressed in letter #9 from Park and Planning (referring back to the correspondence summary) had been addressed. The Mayor said their specific request was that the asphalt would be removed. He said the immediate request has been taken care of, but since the contractor would be in town, they were going to ask him to do other surface work for restoration (to eliminate ruts) and replanting.
Mr. Dombrowski asked that the other side of Riverdale Rd be included in the requests they were presenting to that contractor. The Mayor said they would and noted that most of the punch list had not been addressed yet. The request of Mary Wells Harley, Director of Parks had been addressed promptly since the Town is in the process of receiving permission for another park from the county
The Mayor moved to Agenda Item 16 due to the resident's presence
Request by Madison Hills Homeowners Assn for town match on sidewalk improvements (Ward 2)
CM Davis said she and CM Tiberio attended a Madison Hills Homeowners Association meeting where they discussed sidewalks that weren't connecting. The Association got a bid from Goodwin Concrete for $10,000. The Town also has a bid for $10,200. The Homeowners Association has agreed to pay $5,000.
CM Davis made the motion for approval of a town match, not to exceed $5,200 to help connect these sidewalks. The motion was seconded by CM Tiberio.
The Mayor clarified the procedure where MHOA would approve the check for $5k from their treasury to our treasury, and that the Town would arrange for the contractors to do the work.
CM Davis suggested the Town hold off and pay for this in the next fiscal year. CM Tiberio agreed that the financing come out of next year's budget. Discussion about the lease purchase of police cruisers followed. Mr. Prangley added that the Town has a special roads project that gets appropriated July 1 of each year. The goal for Madison Hills was August 25th , and work could begin in July when a number of contractors would be in town. CM Tiberio confirmed the work would take a week at best.
CM Feldberg asked how far the work would be done from the existing trees. CM Tiberio explained the trees would be in the normal public right of way, about 2 [omega] - 3 ft from the trees. She said she visited the site and didn't believe you could have a sidewalk 2 ft away from the tree (the minimum) without grading the hill. Mr. Prangley explained the two conditions they were looking at, supra and signet (next to the berm). Signet measured approximately 412 linear feet. They were going to bring Mr. Houser up to see if the trees were young enough to consider transfer/transplant of the trees where they have room. He said the possibility is the same for the supra condition. The trees are close enough to the curb and there's more of an incline so there's more concern about the sidewalks being at more of a slant than level. The trees are a concern, but they think they're young enough to transplant. CM Feldberg said trees that size would cost approximately $300 - $500 to move. Mr. Tyce (speaking for the Homeowners Assn) noted that they have the room, where the berm is to the tree, to extend and meet the sidewalks from one residential area to another without moving the trees. CM Feldberg said the trees are set back farther than normally (6 ft rather than 2 ft from the curb). CM Feldberg said a tree shouldn't be closer than 2 ft. Mr. Prangley said they were going to check on the tree/sidewalk right of way.
CM Davis noted that the motion had to do with funding the improvements. The Mayor said the logistics issue of acceding to the mandates of the law are important, otherwise we're buying into a project that can't be done because of budget (theirs and ours). CM Feldberg said she thinks it's a more expensive project to do correctly than is being stated. The sidewalk has to start 2 ft from the tree and asked if there was 4 ft on the other side of it. They need 6 ft from the tree to where the berm starts.
The Mayor explained they're only approving a town commitment for $5,200, and what would happen if the project was more expensive. He explained that it wouldn't happen without a modified resolution if the project is more expensive. He and Mr. Tyce discussed what Mr. Tyce believed the distance from the existing tree to the beginning of the upslope of the berm was, and of the option for a 3 ft sidewalk. CM Feldberg asked if it was unreasonable to consider paying more than 50%. Mr. Prangley explained they already have an installed new sidewalk, not a remove and replace which is more expensive. He explained in more detail why the condition of supra (distance and slope vs flat surface) would be the key and believed they could work it out. The Mayor said the resolution is dependent on whether the project is viable. CM Davis said the HO Assn is confident, and believed the staff could come up with a workable solution with the money allotted. and that they should take a vote. The Mayor asked, and CM Feldberg said she was comfortable with the idea that they would be back for discussion before making a final decision if it didn't meet the strictures.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, had comments and questions. He said the Town had accepted all the streets in Madison Hills and asked if the public right of way along the inside of Good Luck Rd was wide enough for a sidewalk. He asked who owned the berm - the land between the public right of way and Good Luck Rd, and was told the Homeowners Assn owned it. He said we have not charged a homeowner in this town for a sidewalk in front of his house in 40 or 50 years and this creates an oddity not done anywhere else in town. If we finally get a sidewalk request for homes along Nicholson (or other places in Town) this could create a situation we may not want to have. He noted this is a new sidewalk, and for the last 5 years we've had and have had, a capital building program for doing streets and sidewalks in Riverdale Park but believed the council is jumping this program. The Mayor said he believed what they were doing was saying if someone kicks in half the money, we can get the work done faster which is called a public/private partnership. Mr. Kiernan pointed out that the council has had priorities for years, and now they're saying “he who has the money.....” and we're going to junk our priority list and give. Mr. Kiernan said there are streets in this town where people have been living since after World War II that don't have sidewalks at all. The Mayor said Mr. Kiernan had voted not to give them in some places where they were wanted in his ward. Mr. Kiernan objected to giving money for sidewalks that have only been around for 4 or 5 years. Jumping past streets where the Town has been talking about putting in sidewalks for people who've lived there longer (50 years) sounds like skewed priorities. He believed it should be a totally public paid project and put into the capital budget like every other street improvement project.
The motion was restated to approve an amount not to exceed $5,200 for the sidewalk improvement project in partnership with the Madison Hills Homeowners Association for work not to commence until on/or after July 1, 2002. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Tyce thanked the Council for considering their request. He commented that he believed the Council was doing a wonderful job, and it was unfortunate to lose two Councilmember's. He expressed Madison Hills interest in working with them to help make the community a better place and in moving forward into the 21st century.
The Mayor asked Mr. Tyce to inform their Association of the project's approval as the Town may be doing some of the earlier engineering themselves to move on it as quickly as they can.
The Mayor noted they would now move back to Agenda Item 14.
Approval of a 5 foot chain link fence at 6109 44th Place (Ward 4)
CM Davis noted this fence request came up when they were without code enforcement, or code enforcement was just beginning. Long Fence did not inform the homeowner of the need of a permit when it was installed. 6109 44th Place backs to the commercial development on Route 1 which is a mitigating circumstance, and noted that the property is well kept. She said they may be making an approval (as earlier in the meeting) on a fence that comes before the rear building line.
CM Davis made the motion to approve (or grandfather) the fence as presently configured. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. The Mayor said it was brought up at the worksession that Long Fence, the installing fence company, does enough work in town to know what the Town's laws are. He has been directed by the Council to write a letter to the President of Long Fence that the Town will consider sanctions against them, and other contractors, who do fences without Town permit approval of fences in the future. The Council will be considering an ordinance at the next legislative meeting against contractors for significant liquidated damages if they do work without permits, or notifying of the need of a permit. CM Feldberg asked if the resident obtained a county permit. CM Davis said the resident was informed by Long Fence that they didn't need any permit and the resident applied for a county permit after the fence was installed and learned the need of it.
The motion passed unanimously.
Ordinance consideration of Resolution 2002-OR-1 (Public Works Committee)
CM Feldberg made the motion to adopt Resolution 2002-OR-1, which was read at a previous meeting. The Mayor clarified the resolution was to require that any household trash must be in a sealable trash receptacle, not larger than a 39 gallon capacity. The resolution was previously introduced and read at two meetings, and was printed in the Town Crier. CM Davis asked if there was a grace period for compliance. Mr. Houser said there would be for approximately another month. The Mayor said his understanding was that it would go into affect 30 days after adoption (except in the case of emergency ordinance). He said they would continue to notify residents using the Gazette Newspaper to help. Mr. Houser was asked if someone would price 39 gallon capacity receptacles at various stores to help residents locate where they can be found.
The motion passed unanimously.
Adoption of the Town General Electronic Mail Policy
The Mayor reviewed the situation where e-mail's were coming into Town Hall that wasn't always reaching the intended recipient because there was no way to segregate them The Town adopted an interim approach of placing emails into sealed envelopes for the intended recipients unless it was a general email to all M&C, then it was placed in the open mailboxes. He reiterated that there are no secured mailboxes. Alternate discussion and consideration of multiple electronic mailboxes had occurred but were determined to be too expensive.
The last discussion was that the Town would adopt this email policy: to continue as it has been in affect until now, with the one caveat that the Town Crier. in it's next printing, will have the personal email addresses listed for those with personal accounts. Residents will be urged to use personal email addresses for councilmember's who have individual addresses as opposed to e-mail's sent to Town Hall for Councilmember's.
CM Davis made the motion to adopt the policy as suggested. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Chief Judge and Deputy Chief Judge
The Mayor nominated Joyce Kay Marcos, 5307 Taylor Rd, to be the Chief Judge for the Town of Riverdale Park. He nominated Louis King of 4504 Queensbury Rd, to be the Deputy Chief Judge for the Town of Riverdale Park.
CM Davis and CM Tiberio both noted, that Joyce Kay Marcos is the individual who is training and instructing people around the county, to use the new machines. CM Feldberg asked if the Council could meet the people first. CM Tiberio noted that the appointments were the Mayor's prerogative.
Mayor Herman explained that Kay Marcos, and Louis King, have both County, as well as Municipal, experience here in Riverdale Park. The Mayor believed this would be a real coup for the community. Ms. Marcos is recently retired so her status as a Chief Judge will be greatly enhanced due to her availability. Mr. King has been a County Judge for many years. Both said they'd be willing to serve, and complete, the remainder of the two year term that the vacancy created. Reappointment will be up to the next set of judges. He believed both were imminently qualified for the job.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, asked, and was notified that Mr. King is currently the primary Ward 4 judge. Mr. Kiernan said he should be replaced as the Ward 4 judge. The Mayor said there will be a vacancy created in Ward 4 and Ward 3 by the appointments of Ms. Marcos and Mr. King's new positions, but the Mayor noted these appointments needed to be filled immediately. The Mayor and Mr. Kiernan agreed that the vacancies should be addressed at the June meeting.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor asked that a letter be sent from the Town Hall the following day indicating that Ms. Marcos and Mr. King were selected in that capacity.
CM Davis asked about filling the newly created vacancies. The Mayor said the matter would be discussed under new business.
Letter of Support for dimensions for Cora Wood Senior Center for CDBG Funding.
CM Davis made the motion regarding the letter of support for the purpose of discussion. CM Feldberg seconded the motion. The Mayor noted that a letter was distributed from the Cora Wood Senior Center (in Brentwood), who were looking for local jurisdictions to help them obtain a CDBG grant, which he noted is an ongoing issue. The Mayor asked if the Council wanted to weigh in on the matter.
CM Tiberio said he would generally support these, but he is involved in the CDBG funding process, and is aware that Riverdale Park's CDBG funding will be drastically cut. The Town has been receiving $100,000 a year for the last 25 years, but now will be getting around $50,000 or even less. CM Davis said she knew that would happen when the Town's income went up. CM Tiberio said that has nothing to do with it, rather it's the list of those applying for the money. He said the Senior Center is begging for money knowing they are being cut. He isn't against the senior center getting the money, but he said he didn't want to support someone else at the Town's expense. The Mayor said he shared the same opinion and had reservations when he saw the letter. He believed it was a laudable program but there are private entities requesting CDBG grants because they've flipped to “not for profit” status, but they are entities making money, while we're a corporation doing services for communities. We don't have the capacity. or lobbying abilities of Dimensions (who owns this senior center). He wanted to place it on the agenda because it came to us as a request. CM Davis said she very reluctantly withdrew the motion.
Mr. Prangley said he understands there's a consideration for cooperation agreement (year 3 is almost expiring). It would be an opportunity for us to look at both local and state CDBG reallocated funds. He said they'd get the background on that.
The Mayor asked, but noted there were no additional motions regarding the Cora Woods Senior Center. Lacking a motion, there is no legislative action.
Establishing a community meeting date for mixed use Town Center
CM Davis made the motion that the community meeting for mixed use Town Center be held Saturday, June 8th, from 10:00am - 2:00pm. A location on Route 1 will be determined and published in the next edition of the Town Crier. The Mayor said without any objection, with unanimous consent the meeting date will be set.
Establishment of a public hearing on the proposed 2002 - 2003 Town budget
CM Tiberio proposed that the public hearing for the proposed 2002 - 2003 Town Budget be held May 28th at 7:30pm before the Worksession. He announced that he'd like to hold a Finance Committee Meeting on May 30th. The Constant Yield Hearing will follow the budget meeting. The Mayor clarified that the constant yield is the public hearing, not the adoption of the constant yield. CM Tiberio said the constant yield is only predicated on adoption later. Mr. Prangley noted that they would make an announcement that night of a date certain to set the tax rate.
The Mayor said he could not attend a meeting on May 30th so the meeting was rescheduled for May 29th. Mayor Herman reminded everyone that the same meeting last year was very time consuming, and said it was imperative that everyone attend these meetings - there were no exceptions.
In answer to a council question about dates, CM Tiberio explained that the laws dictate the timeframe, noting that the tax rate will need to be decided at the regular meeting held on June 3rd so that the county can print the tax bills. Mr. Prangley suggested they might start the Finance Committee meeting on the 28th if the worksession goes well. The Mayor suggested they publish that a Finance Meeting may be held following the worksession (time permitting), but there will definitely be a Finance Committee meeting on May 29th at 7:30pm.
CM Davis asked if there will be a veteran's event on Memorial Day. The Mayor said he didn't know of one.
The Mayor said it was previously printed that the Worksession would be on May 28th (honoring the time honored tradition of a holiday Monday meeting date being moved to the next day). He asked for unanimous consent to hold the May worksession on May 28th at 7:30pm. There was no objection.
The motion to accept CM Blaschke's resignation effective May 10th was made by CM Davis. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. There was no further council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed 3 to 1. CM Feldberg opposed. The Mayor noted that they all oppose the resignation is spirit, but CM Feldberg said she had not had the opportunity to talk with her.
CM Davis made the motion to accept CM Scott's resignation effective May 6th. The motion was seconded by CM Tiberio. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed 3 - 1. CM Feldberg opposed. CM Feldberg said she opposed the resignation for the same reason, that she never had the opportunity to speak with her about it.
The Mayor said there are now official vacancies in Ward 6 and Ward 2. A special election date must be set within 45 days of a vacancy. The first vacancy is listed as May 6th, the second as May 10th. Mayor Herman said the election to fill the Ward 2 seat must occur by June 24th. The other election must occur 4 days before that on June 20th. The Mayor brought to the council's attention that they should set the earliest possible date so they can have a full Council before adopting a budget. CM Davis suggested it was needed before MML. The Mayor said if it meets with time strictures, he'd like to set the special election for Saturday, June 1st. He noted that the petitions were due 25 days prior to the elections, and for that reason June 1st won't work. CM Tiberio said two Saturday elections he knew of had a bad turn out, so it doesn't have to be a Saturday. The Mayor proposed June 8th , and talked through the petition requirements. CM Davis said notice has to be provided to the public that the vacancies exist.
The Mayor informed everyone that if there is one dissenting person on the Council, the Town will not be able to adopt a budget. CM Davis said it has not always passed on a first try, but the Mayor noted that was due to a 3-3 vote and this was different because they were going into budget deliberations without a full council. CM Tiberio said it had to be advertised at least one time. Date discussions continued.
The Mayor reiterated that he wanted the vacancies filled as soon as possible, before budget adoption and the MML conference. Discussion followed about the special election date and logistics.
CM Davis made the motion to set the special election to fill Ward 2, and Ward 6, council seats for Thursday, June 13th from 7:00am to 8:00pm at Town Hall, using the new digital machine ballots, the Chief, and Deputy Chief will attend, and allow them to pick up to 2 judges to assist them. Judges compensation would be the same as in the previous election. Petitions for candidates for public office must be submitted by close of business on May 20th along with the appropriate fee. The motion was not officially seconded but there were no objections when the Mayor asked unofficially. There was no further council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor said he spoke to Robin Downs and Caroline Evans today who informed him that the books can be closed at anytime. It was suggested that books would be closed mid week the following week on May 15th. CM Davis said there was a problem in the past where people have registered signed petitions and the county didn't process them. The Mayor noted that the Gazette would be notified tomorrow.
CM Tiberio made the motion to accept any voter registration in to the Board of Elections by 4:30pm, close of business on May 15th. CM Davis seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Davis asked about absentee ballots, and the Mayor said all they had to do was arrange for printed paper ballots.
The Mayor reviewed dates set: Close of Books May 15th , petitions due to Town Hall with payment by 5:00pm on May 20th , election will be held on June 13th from 7:00am - 8:00pm
Mr. Prangley was asked to provide notice to the Gazette tomorrow so notice can be printed in Thursday's edition. Posters will need to be provided in those wards.
PETITION FOR ANNEXATION
CM Davis suggested the petition be submitted to election judges for validation. The Mayor said it doesn't have to be, and can be handled administratively by office staff. CM Davis said she wanted it verified the way they always verify petitions. The Mayor said this petition does not only mean verifying names of registered voters, but they also have to go through the county books and look at the assessed values. He asked if she wanted to put them through this, and noted they would be doing a special election simultaneously.
The Mayor asked if the Council had any objection to a preliminary report being done by a staff member who would go through county books to see if the dollar threshold, and number of registered voters are met. CM Davis agreed as long as it was a high-ranking staff member, which the Council agreed to. It was explained that the petition needed to be certified, then a resolution of annexation (once accepted and verified) needs to be introduced. Discussion followed about the timeframe for introduction of the resolution and the process. CM Feldberg asked about the county verifying the petition, who was going to do it, and how long it would take.
CM Almirez had to leave the meeting. The Mayor informed Mr. Almirez that without him they cannot meet and that they were on the last order of business, but Mr. Almirez had to leave anyway. The Mayor said they will not set any dates, and will set them after the next meeting. CM Davis suggested they have the petition certified. Mayor Herman suggested the lack of a quorum, and declared the meeting adjourned at 11:02pm
Mr. Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, said the Town Charter disagreed with the Mayor, and that he was defined as a member of the Council for the purpose of a quorum, stating that four people, including the Mayor is a quorum. He said it's stated under the definition of the Mayor, or under Councilmember in the Charter (not the code).
The Mayor checked the Charter. CM Tiberio read aloud sections including, “...the Mayor shall serve as the Chairman of the Council. The Mayor may take part in all discussions but shall have no vote except in the case of a tie. .....a majority of the Council shall constitute a quorum, and a quorum is necessary for the transaction of business......(subject to the limitation in 205), the Mayor for all purposes shall constitute one of the Council”. Mr. Kiernan reiterated that four out of the seven Councilmember's were present so there was a quorum. The Mayor said it's actually not clear what “subject to the limitations” means as referred to in the Charter. The Mayor said he'd ask for clarification from the Town attorney, and subject to clarification for a future purpose, he said a quorum is lacking and adjourned the meeting.
CM Tiberio noted the matter had come up at least 10 times over the last 35 years.
Mr. Kiernan said when Mr. Herman was a member the Council, they met with three Councilmember's and a Mayor. Mr. Kiernan said the Mayor is denying the public the opportunity for public comment by his early adjournment for lack of a quorum. Off mic informal discussions continued.
Minutes prepared from videotape.
DATES TO REMEMBER
Adult Literacy Class, April 2nd, 2:30pm at Town Hall, (note: class every Tuesday and Thursday through May, 2002)
Traffic Study Committee, April 2nd, 7:00pm at Town Hall
Recreation Board, April 8th, 7:30pm at Town Hall
Madison Hill HOA, April 9th, 7:00pm at Town Hall
Earth Day, April 22nd
Employee Appreciation Day, April 24th
Arbor Day, April 26th
Council Work Session, April 29th, 7:30pm at Town Hall
Riverdale Business Association will meet on April 9th
Preservation Association of Riverdale Park will meet May 16th at 7:30 at Town Hall. A visioning meeting will be held May 18th at 10:00
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