Minutes of July 1, 2002
Town of Riverdale Park
Mayor and Council Legislative Session
Call To Order
Present: Councilmember's Rebecca Feldberg, Matt Hart, Guy Tiberio, Christina Davis, Jose Almirez, and Wendell Davis, Police Chief Evans, Town Administrator, Mr. Prangley, and Director of Public Works, Mr. Houser
Pledge Of Allegiance And Moment of Silence
Approval Of Agenda
CM Tiberio made the motion to approve the agenda with the addition of item 11b. CM Feldberg seconded the motion. The motion passed.
Town Administrator and Treasurer's Report
Mr. Prangley presented a retirement award plaque to Yulane H. Jones for secretarial service to the Town of Riverdale Park since July 10, 1986, and commended her character and work ethic during her years of employment. Mayor Herman read aloud a proclamation in recognition of Mrs. Jones' contributions to the Town on behalf of the citizens, and it's mayor and council.
Mr. Prangley read aloud the Treasurer's report. The motion to approve the report, subject to audit, was made by CM Tiberio, and seconded by CM W. Davis. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Prangley thanked the residents, the Mayor and Council, and town hall staff, for working together, and contributing many hours on the fiscal year 2002 - 2003 operating/capital budget. He said he believed residents would be pleased with the end result in these tight fiscal times.
The 6200 Ave block of the Baltimore Avenue US Sarbanes grant is moving ahead following a meeting with state officials. Two options are being considered that will utilize either their in house resources to do the work, or they'll authorize the Town to contract the work out. A decision is expected in the next two weeks.
Mayor Herman also thanked the town staff for their dedication and hard work during the budget process. He thanked Theta Zorns in particular for her help, and echoed Mr. Prangley's sentiments about the quality individuals in the Town's staff.
The Mayor commended Yulane Jones for her service to the Town, her long hours, and her excellent work ethic, before wishing her well in the future.
He welcomed the two new council members; Matthew Hart representing Ward 2, and Wendell Davis representing Ward 6.
The Mayor congratulated Debbie Murphy on her appointment as a state of Maryland tree expert following a recent course and exam.
The Mayor reported that the council passed a bare bones budget on Friday night. One program that was “near and dear” to him that had to be eliminated was the creation of an adult literacy program to teach English to Hispanic residents in Riverdale Park. The Mayor reassured residents that every effort was being made to maintain the excellent service level we like, however, some of the new initiatives could not be funded.
Two dedicated/revolving fund accounts were set up to fund very specific types of priority projects. Almost $470,000, in an interest bearing account (originally a $468,000), is for an infrastructure trust fund for roadwork throughout the town. There will also be an economic development trust fund made up of the proceeds of the Town Center sale that will occur in the next two weeks. He complimented the council for their vision and foresight to look to those issues.
The Town Center closing that was scheduled to occur last Friday will occur in the next two weeks.
The Mayor extended condolences to the son and family of Mr. McDonald, a 46 year resident of Tuckerman Street in Ward 1.
Police Department and Code Enforcement Report
Chief Evans noted that councilmember's were provided with a copy of the code enforcement and crime reports for their wards. He read aloud the code enforcement report which included 126 complaints; 4 trash, 45 parking, 40 weeds, and 4 animal. 28 properties came into compliance, and 71 remain out of compliance.
He read aloud the police report. Crime and arrests for the month of June were down. He explained that the prisoner who escaped was captured with the assistance of the sheriffs department. The deputy who was injured during the report is fine.
Public Works Department Report
Mr. Houser also commended Debbie Murphy's successful tree certification accomplishment. He informed everyone that success in this exam is unusual and only a small percentage of individuals taking the state exam actually pass it.
Town wide trash pick up will occur this Friday (following the Fourth of July holiday on Thursday). Metal and bulk collection will also occur on Friday.
Committee and Ward Reports
CM Feldberg announced a public works committee meeting scheduled for July 31st at 8:00 p.m. Public Works ordinances will be reviewed and improvements made.
The council recently attended the MML conference which CM Feldberg said she found educational. She hopes to put into practice what she learned.
CM Hart thanked the residents who came out to vote on June 13th despite the bad weather, and also thanked those who worked with him on his campaign. He thanked the judges who worked hard to be sure the ballots were filled out correctly.
CM Hart announced that he will host an open house meeting between the worksession and legislative session at the end of each month, so residents can meet, discuss issues, and become more involved. He said he looked forward to working with everyone.
CM Hart reported that the MML workshops were informative and helpful.
CM Tiberio said he also wanted to extend his appreciation, best wishes and thanks to Yulane Jones as she retires. He noted that he hired her and Mr. Prangley under his administration.
CM Tiberio reported on the budget process before its final adoption. He wanted residents to know that decisions regarding what was eliminated or included in the budget were based on financial, not personal reasons.
Tax rates were set holding the line for the general tax rate, and provided a minor cut in the special tax rate. The tax cap, which has not been touched since 1993, depends on new development for which millions are hoped for in the next few years
He extended thanks those who attended and worked cooperatively on the budget process including councilmember's, the mayor, Public Works, town staff, Mr. Prangley, the Chief, and Theta Zorns.
CM Tiberio extended sympathies to the families of Mrs. Gertrude Peterson on Taylor Rd, a resident for over 50 years, and Mrs. Josie Carter, a resident of 48th Ave for over 40 years.
A meeting is set up with Ms. Dorothy and Mosquito Control next week to decide what to do about spraying in the areas previously discussed.
CM Tiberio and the Veterans Committee Chairman have discussed moving the bus stop sign further north (maybe under the bridge) from “Veterans Plaza”, away from the triangle.
The town's preliminary redistricting plans will be presented to the council on July 16th at 7:30 p.m.. The plans were held pending the outcome of the proposed annexation but they're now ready for further study and action prior to adoption. Redistricting is mandated by federal law.
CM Davis said she attended different meetings at the MML conference than in years past. One where sidewalk liability issues were discussed is a growing liability area for municipalities due to sidewalk conditions. She also pursued meetings with those who have access to funds for the Town to acquire.
The Little Giant Restaurant is now open on Route 1 (in the old McDonalds building), providing quality, inexpensive food similar to that sold at Dumm's Corner and Plato's Diner.
CM C. Davis is still working on high profile code issues that she hopes to have resolved before the summer is over. Parking issues, including some neighborhood's considering permit parking, are being addressed. Residents immediately behind the Subway property on Route 1 have been contacted with plans for construction of a new office building, and a meeting will be scheduled to discuss this. A great deal of roadwork is still being done in Ward 4 (WSSC and other related projects). CM C. Davis has set aside a considerable amount of money in the sidewalk fund she set aside and residents may soon see sidewalk work done on roads not currently under construction. Many have commented or complained about the noise and exhaust of The Bus buses which often travel empty through ward 4 going to and from the College Park metro. Ridership, schedule, and route issues are being reviewed for adjustment. Further conversations with Hyattsville have occurred regarding construction on 43rd Ave which will hopefully be settled before September. Residents were thanked for their patience. Residents from ward 1 and ward 4 living near the Town Center are encouraged to walk to the Farmers Market as construction will soon be underway for the summer. Those interested in block parties are reminded to obtain a petition signed by the majority of residents on the affected block that will be closed and bring it to a council meeting.
Riverdale Park's historic district application still hasn't been filed with the federal government due to understaffing in the state offices. A decision is expected sometime around December. The next Historic Preservation Association Meeting will be held on July 20 at 10:00 a.m. at Town Hall. Bagels, donuts and coffee will be provided.
Funding is being pursued for a proposed mural project on Rittenhouse St. Work is being done to reprint the 1904 Riverdale Park Company brochure which will provide updates on those houses today. The next house tour will be held on Sunday, December 8th , covering homes north of the highway, west of the river, and east of the railroad tracks. The next Economic Development Committee meeting will be held July 11th, 7:30 pm, at Town Hall. Everyone is encouraged to attend and participate. The next MUTC meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 15th (time and location are yet to be determined). A free jazz concert was held on the grounds of the Riversdale Mansion recently, and the next concert will be July 17th at 7:00 pm. The concerts are free, and everyone is encouraged to attend. If the concerts are well attended they will continue into next year.
CM Almirez said parking problems in his ward are still not resolved. He's scheduled to speak to the traffic committee and will see what they may be able to do to help. Individuals are talking to the owners of an unused parcel of land between 54th and the corner, about buying it and turning it into a parking lot. Several sites are being considered in that area for a special recreation center offering opportunities to residents there. Residents are grateful for the stronger police presence in ward 5, but would like to extend it to early the morning hours between midnight and dawn as well because some people come in late at night when no one is around. CM Almirez has tried to explain what the local government is doing and fix it as best as I can but they have been waiting for a year to a year and a half. They're very concerned about the problems. He explained to them he's working to fix things for them.
CM W. Davis thanked everyone who turned out to vote on June 13th from ward 2 and ward 6. He echoed CM Almirez's sentiments about parking problems that are spilling over into residential areas in ward 5 and ward 6, especially up and down Powhattan. CM W. Davis will also attend the traffic study meeting tomorrow, and hopes they will be able to come up with some solutions.
CM W. Davis commended and thanked the staff, the Mayor, and those on the council before he and CM Hart were elected for all the obvious work they put into the budget.
Fire Department Report
Dave Sutton apologized for not having a formal report. A trend of increased ambulance calls has developed on hot days due to heat related issues. He reminded residents who work or spend time outside in the heat to please drink a lot of water and don't overexert themselves. If you feel dizzy, relax and breathe, and be very careful. Many have been taken to the hospital for heat stoke and heat exertion.
Regarding the July 4th holiday, Mr. Sutton reminded everyone that “every form of fireworks you can think of” is illegal in Prince Georges County so don't get caught with them. If you are injured by fireworks an investigation will follow into the use of illegal fireworks.
The Mayor acknowledged the presence of Delegate Ann Healy at the meeting and offered her the opportunity to speak.
Delegate Healy thanked the Mayor saying she'd begun campaigning this week and was walking through our lovely town this evening going to door. She was finishing and decided to stop by to wish everyone a happy summer and a happy fourth of July.
CM Tiberio thanked Delegate Healy for her work on HB 588 regarding tangible property that the town wanted passed. He said she did “yeomen work” getting it passed through committee and the senate. He thanked her on behalf of himself, the council, and the Town of Riverdale Park.
The Mayor reminded everyone that the first public comments section is limited to three minutes. Those wishing to speak longer can speak at the second public comments section later in the evening.
Michael Jackson, deputy sheriff of PG County for the last 13 years, a Brandywine resident and lifetime resident of PG County, announced he is running for Sheriff of Prince Georges County. As deputy sheriff he worked in every section of the agency; courtroom security to transportation of prisoner, child support enforcement, civil process service, landlord and tenant issues, warrants and fugitives. He's served as the FOP President for all the deputies of PG County for the last five years, and has had the privilege of introducing and fighting legislation in Annapolis. As president of the FOP he is also the chief negotiator in negotiations working with county and state officials and has resolved six contracts; three with the county government and three with the sitting sheriffs. His most significant accomplishments include obtaining protective vests for all deputy sheriffs in the county, obtaining parody as far as workers compensation goes, collective bargaining for everyone in the agency, and a 20 year retirement. After three and a half years of exhausting work, investigative powers have been restored to the sheriffs office and all those serving the community. This means the law will take effect October 1 where more than 100 plus officers will not be restricted and will be able to do what they need to do to serve the community. Prior to this, if a resident told a deputy sheriff that someone broke a windshield, he would have to call Chief Evans and ask him to send an officer over to investigate. This law overhauls the system resolving that.
Deputy Sheriff Jackson believes it's time for a change. He said his experience in the agency - knowing it inside and out, and his knowledge of state and county government lends to his credibility as a candidate. He asked everyone to vote for him on election day. He asked if anyone had questions.
CM C. Davis asked his party affiliate which is Democrat.
Deputy Sheriff Jackson reiterated his experience, but also as a 38 year resident, he said he knows what service is and isn't, and we aren't there yet so he intents to throw his hat in the ring and run for office.
Mayor Herman said if he was successful on September 10th, and then again in November, he looked forward to having a close working relationship with the Sheriffs department. Chief Evans and his department will also expect good things from the Sheriffs Department. As a prosecutor, the Mayor said they rely on the Sheriffs office quite a bit.
Deputy Sheriff Jackson said he appreciated the Chief's earlier comments, and also believes they need to get back to the municipalities “because quite frankly that's where most of us are”.
Robert Haughton welcomed CM Hart to the council on behalf of the members of the Madison Hills Homeowners Association, and wished him well saying they looked forward to working with him.
Approval of May 6, 2002 Regular Legislative Meeting
The motion to approve the May 6, 2002, Regular Legislative Meeting Minutes was made by CM Tiberio, and seconded by CM Feldberg. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of Minutes of June 3, 2002 Regular Legislative Meeting
The motion to approve the June 3, 2002 Regular Legislative Meeting minutes was made by CM Tiberio, and seconded by CM Feldberg. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of Minutes of June 17, 2002 Special Legislative Meeting
The motion to approve the June 17, 2002 Special Legislative Meeting Minutes was made by CM Tiberio, and seconded by CM Feldberg. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of Minutes of June 28, 2002 Special Legislative Meeting
The motion to approve the June 28, 2002 Special Legislative Meeting Minutes was made by CM Tiberio, and seconded by CM Feldberg. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Resolution Concerning Heritage Carnival in Riverdale Park
The Mayor announced that discussion of this issued would be limited to a maximum of ten minutes since it had been discussed at length at the work session. He asked Ms. Parker to indicate the current date of the event and update them on resolution of the outstanding issues from the last meeting.
Ms. Parker announced the dates of the event as September 27 & 28, 2002, and asked that the council table action until work with the County Executive's office, and District One of the county's police department is completed. A report with details of county police support (with number and character), and support required for the entire event - parade, and festival itself, would be provided. They're looking at alternative parade routes and have not settled on total logistics, but believes that will be accomplished in the next few weeks.
Ms. Parker reported that she attended the DC Caribbean Carnival on Sunday and made special note of the noise factor, which will play into their presentation of a route to the council.
The Mayor noted that the council had deferred action several times, but understood the literature and advertising for the event are going out currently and are not indicating Riverdale Park, but rather the College Park Metro area. Ms. Parker said they cannot indicate the Town of Riverdale Park until the council passes a resolution approving the event. A formal announcement (media and public) has been delayed until they complete the logistical elements. The Mayor said Chief Evans has communicated with District One and there seems to be some misunderstanding between all of the parties as to the logistic support of the county. Many questions about the event, and an ongoing concern to us is still ample security. Since deadlines have been set and passed, the Mayor asked if there was a point at which logistics will be in place by a date certain, i.e.: Wayne Curry has approved “x” number of hours of overtime and “x” number of officers, to be sure the security detail is adequate. Ms. Parker said she was not in a position to speak for the County Executive's office. She knew the County Executive's office and the police department were working on it, but couldn't say by a certain date when it would be consummated. She said they are not releasing a formal announcement of the event until issues are resolved regarding the nature and quantity of police support.
CM C. Davis asked if the City of College Park has signed on to the event. Ms. Parker said they have not signed on. CM Tiberio asked about the parade event that was going to be in College Park. Ms. Parker said there are two parade routes being considered. The UM has three events occurring that same day. Because of the success of their basketball team, cameras will be set up earlier in the day which will preclude them from staging the parade on Paint Branch Pkwy as they had intended to for an earlier date. There is also a 6K run and a family day event on campus that day. Ms. Parker said she could not tell the council about staging at this point since it was a different matter. One option being considered (and the one favored) is to use Paint Branch Pkwy east of Route 1, continuing on Paint Branch until possibly as far as Kenilworth Ave, then letting cars and floats go out to wherever they originated from. The spoke to State Highway on a preliminary basis, looking at more visibility for the parade, about starting at the rear of Prince Georges Plaza, turning right at Belcrest, and continuing on Belcrest to cross Queens Chapel Rd, continuing in Hyattsville, and then across Route 1. One problem/concern with that is the noise and amplification from the music. They're looking at the pros and cons of the two routes. One problem with the longer route is the amount of police presence that would be required which appears to be more than the event this year is capable of paying for. State Highway was amenable to about an hour and a half on EW Hwy, and two hours on Kenilworth Ave. Everything was preliminary there though. Ms. Parker said they would bring all of this back to the Mayor and Council as part of the report, with all of these considerations and why they chose one route over another.
There were no further questions. The Mayor said they would look forward to hearing back from her and not take any action until the next legislative session. CM C. Davis asked if a motion was needed to table the matter. The Mayor said there was no resolution so there was nothing to table. CM Tiberio said a motion to table until the July 1st meeting was made at the last meeting.
CM C. Davis made the motion to continue to table the resolution of support for the Heritage Carnival Festival until the August legislative session. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor asked Ms. Parker to provide logistical information to them at the July 29th work session for examination prior to the August meeting.
Request for Six Foot Privacy Fence at 4721 Riverdale Rd (Ward 1)
Owner: [Name removed from on-line version at request of person]
CM Feldberg made the motion to approve a six foot privacy fence at 4721 Riverdale Rd. It is a corner lot and the fence is in the backyard, along the other property owners fence line with a lower fence going in the front. CM C. Davis seconded the motion.
CM Tiberio asked about removal of a tree involved in the matter. [The Owner] said she contacted the property owner who provided certified letters giving her permission to remove the tree as well as giving his approval of the fence. CM Feldberg said she received a call from [The Owner's] other neighbor who approves of the fence. [The Owner] said she understands people's concerns with removing a tree but she has planted a large number of different species in her yard and is also a horticulturalist but believes she has made up for one tree.
The Mayor said the council generally hesitates at the removal of a tree but believed that [The Owner] has reforested Riverdale Park in her one parcel of land over the last 10 years more than anyone else in his memory (referring to the large number of species she's planted which is not clear on the tape).
The motion passed unanimously.
Request for Six Foot Privacy Fence at 6106 54th Ave (Ward 6)
Owner: Mr. Ashkar
CM W. Davis explained that Mr. Ashkar got a permit from PG County and immediately came home and put up the privacy fence which is about five feet past the rear of the building line. CM W. Davis said he looked at the permit and spoke with the assistant town administrator about it but he didn't see a stamp from the county on the permit indicating that the Town might require a permit or license.
CM W. Davis made the motion to approve the five foot variance and the fence at 6106 54th Ave as it is currently built. CM W. Davis said he'd spoken to nearby residents who commented that they wouldn't know it was out of compliance unless they were told or said that the Town was too picky. CM C. Davis seconded the motion.
CM C. Davis asked about contacting the county regarding the permit application stamping problem. CM W. Davis said Ms. Hernandez spoke to someone in the county. They're not only going to increase the size of the stamp but thinks she's convinced them to do the stamp in red so it will jump out at the applicants to keep this from happening again.
The Mayor announced that Ms. Jacklyn Woody, a liaison from the County Executive's office, was in attendance at the meeting. He said one of the municipalities main concerns, as well as with many of the Park and Planning functions and Board of Zoning appeals, is that they often get notice of something after the fact, or when residents need dual approval. There used to be a prominently placed notice informing individuals that they may need approval of the municipality in which they lived. The Mayor said for some reason, in modifying the forms for greater efficiency, that item was eliminated and it's putting the town in the position of fighting eternal battles with companies like Long Fence and others who now can plead ignorance with a straight face in ways they couldn't have in the past. Residents aren't being notified. Mayor Herman said he didn't want to put Ms. Woody in the position of having to answer the question after being blind sighted, but it's an issue of great concern to the municipalities. CM Feldberg added that they also weren't receiving notice of variance hearings with the county until a day or so before the hearing or even afterward.
Ms. Jacklyn Woody, municipal liaison in the office of the County Executive said while she couldn't answer the questions this evening, she was aware of some of the procedures. She believed it would be more prudent to follow up with those agencies, taking the council's suggestions if that was acceptable. The Mayor reiterated that they didn't expect her to answer the questions right away. He voiced appreciation for her yeomen service when called upon in the past, and expected the closing of the loop as she always had in the past. It was agreed that she would contact Mr. Prangley.
The Mayor said though it was not germaine to the motion, he asked Ms. Woody if there were any other matters she wished to address while she was there. Ms. Woody explained that she was in attendance to listen, participate, and observe, and there were new councilmember's that she had not had the opportunity to meet. She noted that she had not been to a Riverdale meeting in her one year tenure as liaison and wanted to visit Riverdale before her next 154 days were over.
There was no other council discussion or public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Request for Permit Parking at 6105 54th Ave (Ward 6)
CM W. Davis made the motion to establish permit parking at 6105 54th Ave. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. CM W. Davis began to explain that the Lawson's have lived there for 40 years when CM C. Davis asked if this was for disabled parking. CM W. Davis said yes but Mr. Randall of the Traffic Committee believed permit parking would be more effective since anyone with a handicapped tag could use a handicapped space. It's for two spaces and one of the spaces is taking advantage of their driveway which they don't use. Normally it's a no parking situation there so they will be using the driveway as a parking place. The Mayor confirmed that they have a driveway, how many vehicles they have at their home, and then whether this would be for one or two spaces. CM W. Davis said they don't use the driveway but the proposal was to take advantage of the driveway to park in front of it (it's too much trouble to move a car to park one in the driveway). The Mayor confirmed it would be the creation of two spaces - one in front of the house and one in front of the driveway so they could direct Mr. Houser correctly about where to create the limitations. It was noted that it was marked on the drawing. CM C. Davis asked if it was legal to park in front of the driveway as people often ask about that. Chief Evans said it's against the law to block a driveway without permission of the landowner but if a landowner is blocking his own driveway it's assumed he's given himself permission to do so.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor asked that the notice be given to Mr. Houser to mark the appropriate designated spaces.
Break from 8:50 to 8:55 p.m.
Request for Permit Parking on sections of Nicholson St and Riverside Dr (Ward 3)
CM Tiberio made the motion to authorize permit parking on the 5000 block of Nicholson St, and on the 5000 block of Riverside Dr, and no parking at anytime on the south side of Riverside Dr (the intersection of Oglethorpe). CM C. Davis seconded the motion.
CM Tiberio explained the need to bring relief to residents from park visitors. The Mayor and Council has been in negotiations with Park and Planning for the Town to take over the permit process for that park area because at times five or six permits are provided at one time, bringing hundreds, and sometimes a thousand people into that neighborhood park which takes up all the parking. Residents have been blocked from getting in or out of their driveways because of park visitors. The park property only has space for 76 parking places which doesn't support the hundreds of people who visit there. CM Tiberio said he did not include the brand new house and the Pertucci house on Riverside Dr because there may be some future plans there that the council is still working on. Permit parking will bring relief for residents from Taylor Rd to the intersection of Oglethorpe. The beautiful grassy area on the south side of Riverside will be protected by allowing no parking at all (25 foot wide area).
CM C. Davis asked where the anticipated parking overflow will go. CM Tiberio said he didn't care where it went as long as it was not on those streets. All of the residents there have at least two cars and some properties don't even have driveways. Especially on Saturdays, residents come home and there is no parking at all until park events end. CM Tiberio noted that the cul de sac/levy area where Riverside Dr ends is now being used by residents of the Calvert Park Apartments. Those cars used to park on Riverdale Rd but there are approximately 20 cars whose owners walk across the dike to the apartment building. He said maybe the park should use some of the open land to create more parking spaces within the park even though everyone wants to keep the open fields.
CM C. Davis noted that regular permit parking doesn't guarantee people spaces in front of their homes, just on their street.
Mayor Herman echoed CM C. Davis' concerns recalling the situation experienced at Riverdale Park where permit parking was provided to those closest to the park, then those just past that needed permit parking when visitors moved up the road to park and so on up the road - the law of unintended consequences. His question was whether those visiting the park would now park across Taylor Rd on Nicholson St on the 4900 block and then permit parking will have to be considered for those residents, then parking would spread to adjacent areas as opposed to the limited park use solution currently pursued by the town taking on responsibility for the permit parking process. CM Tiberio said on the east side of Taylor Rd, from the 3 houses on the east side south, parallel to the park, is all open parking and is not restricted in any way - a lot of that can be used to park after crossing the gully which some do now. Taylor Rd parking wouldn't impact residents where there are at least 35 or 40 spaces going south until you come to the Nicholson property.
The Mayor asked if any of the residents opposed the permit parking solution. CM Tiberio said there are about 13 homes affected and only one didn't understand due to a language problem. He suggested the signs be posted in Spanish also since many visiting are Hispanic and those who've been approached don't always speak English. The Mayor suggested the sign at the park entrance state that parking on these streets is by permit only, and be in Spanish as well. CM Tiberio and CM Hart discussed referring visitors to the Taylor Rd stretch where parking would be available, but because there are a few homes there it was not agreed to at the time. The Mayor agreed that administrative details could be worked out later.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Houser said the signs shouldn't take more than two weeks to receive. The Mayor said administrative processing of permit parking would begin.
Request for Additional Street Light across from 4908 Queensbury (Ward 2)
CM Hart made the motion for establishment of an additional street light across from 4908 Queensbury Rd. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
CM Hart explained that this is the only telephone pole without a street light. The Nickens family who requested the light has had several cars vandalized and one was stolen. One family member is concerned about being attacked. CM Hart said he drove by and the affected area is pitch black at night. The street becomes worse whenever a nearby light goes out and isn't replaced immediately.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously. The Mayor directed Mr. Prangley to have someone contact PEPCO.
Request for former Councilmember Lissa Scott for Return of Donated Funds
The Mayor explained that former Councilmember Lissa Scott had requested that her entire Council salary be earmarked for a ward improvement fund for ward 6. She has requested that the remaining funds be returned to her.
CM Tiberio made the motion to return the funds that were held by the Town in an account under Lissa Scott's name. CM W. Davis seconded the motion.
CM Tiberio said the account indicates that the money is “donated” funds and isn't sure that's correct language. The policy has been where a councilmember didn't want to take their salary in any form, they could put it into an account and during their term, indicate amount of monies to be used for projects as they directed. He reviewed that in this case, CM Scott didn't name any project for the funds to be expended upon and is now requesting the funds back. As finance chairman, CM Tiberio reviewed the situation, and though he favored giving her money back, he believed this policy should cease immediately and all councilmember's be required to take their checks each month. If they want to donate money to the Town for a purpose, they should do so, but accounts are set up and this isn't necessary. He reiterated that the councilmember should be responsible to set up their own account and handle it themselves. He believed Lissa Scott's money should be returned to her though.
There was council discussion and no public comment.
The motion passed 5 - 0. No one opposed, but CM C. Davis abstained “for obvious reasons”. The Mayor explained that CM C. Davis abstained since she also donates her salary.
The Mayor indicated to Ms. Scott that there are tax implications now that weren't there before and the staff would take care of them accordingly.
Engineering Contract for WSSC Phase I for G&C Consultants
CM Tiberio made the motion that the Town enter into a contract with G&C Consultants for the WSSC Phase I contract. CM C. Davis seconded the motion. The Mayor asked Mr. Prangley for the amount of the contract which was $27,850.
The Mayor said they first had to make a motion to suspend the rules concerning the sole sourcing of a contract. CM C. Davis made the motion. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
CM C. Davis said Mr. Woo is infinitely familiar with our streets, having engineered them for the last 10 years and he knows where everything is about them. The Mayor agreed saying Mr. Woo had also done work on some of the same streets that are covered under this engineering contract. CM C. Davis noted that Mr. Woo engineered Tuckerman when it was done initially.
There was no further council discussion or public comment on the motion to suspend the rules. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor directed that they were back to the motion to approve the sole source contract for WSSC Phase I to G&C Consultants in an amount not to exceed $27,850, which was made by CM Tiberio and seconded by CM C. Davis.
Mayor Herman confirmed with Mr. Prangley and Mr. Houser that his understanding was that there may be a more limited scope to the work that's going to be performed on WSSC Phase I with regard to the ancillary work - some of the infrastructure work covered by this contract. The Mayor asked if it was in their best interest to approve the contract modifying the figure downward, or of leaving it in the “not to exceed....” capacity. CM Tiberio said the motion was “not to exceed”. Mr. Prangley said he appreciated the Mayor noting the scope of services being reduced but the engineer said he doesn't want to entertain going downward because of the topiograph of the area, and the plans of construction utilities and consulting. He would have to go through this exercise for these improvements and didn't want to entertain a reduction. The Mayor said he was sure he didn't “want” to entertain a reduction, but the question was whether the engineering services could be obtained for a fee less than that. Mr. Prangley said they could try again, and “not to exceed” is the way to go. Negotiating for the reduction, for the lower rate is what they always do.
Regarding the first phase, CM Tiberio asked if that contract is less than the initial bid, and wouldn't his automatically go down. Mr. Prangley said they have one contract with GNC for $53,000 covering all the asphalt and milling projects. This is for concrete work that he was not initially hired to do, and that he and Mr. Houser have gone over this explicitly with Mr. Woo. CM C. Davis noted that this changes the scope of some of the concrete work. Mr. Houser said this seriously changed the scope of Mr. Woo's contract since the original was for milling and overlay. The real work involves the sidewalk, curb and gutter work. Mr. Houser said they need his services and strongly recommended that the council approve the contract not to exceed $27,850. He assured them that he and Mr. Prangley would work with the engineer to see how much the scope has changed.
The Mayor said he believed that was fair saying now there is someone on staff who can assist Mr. Prangley in managing construction contracts (in addition to Mr. Prangley). They have to rely heavily on this individual and are deferring to their wisdom. He hoped that the contract can be brought in under the limit.
The motion passed unanimously.
Bid Award for Portion of WSSC Phase I Infrastructure
The Mayor asked Mr. Houser for the additional information regarding the scope of the bid award. CM C. Davis said her question was whether to make the motion for the bid award, or to move to table until new bids can be solicited based on the revised figures. The Mayor believed they could make a bid award “in an amount less than” as reflected by modifications to the contract, and said his understanding is that the scope can be curtailed as the result of additional limitations placed on them by the administration. Mr. Prangley said that was correct, but time is of the essence because there is over a month delay already and the contractor could say the town didn't show good faith on this.
By way of background the Mayor explained that they did a bid opening for a number of projects that are part of the first phase of roads that WSSC tore up. The town looked for a contractor to do roadwork, but also to do ancillary work (curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and aprons) on the roads covered under WSSC Phase I. Originally, Mr. Houser measured all of the roadways and came up with the linear footage of all the curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, to be able to say this is the largest the bid can be. After the original bid document was prepared, Mr. Houser went out and made additional measurements to determine that some of the infrastructure work was actually in decent shape and did not need to be replaced. The Mayor said what they're talking about now is modifying the possible amount of the award to reflect downward the work that does not need to be done as a result. He asked Mr. Prangley and Mr. Houser if his summary of the situation was accurate, then asked Mr. Houser if he'd reviewed the total scope of work to bring down the number of linear cubic feet of concrete work that's needed. Mr. Houser said the information was provided to everyone last Friday night. CM Tiberio said he didn't understand it. Mr. Houser said the scope of VMP's work has come down about $32,000 less in concrete work based on VMP's prices and they were the lowest bidder.
The Mayor stated the motion, and CM C. Davis made the motion, to award a contract to VMP Construction in an amount not to exceed $160,000 for concrete work, and all of the work in WSSC's Phase I, with the modification of the measurements as provided by Mr. Houser. CM Feldberg seconded the motion.
CM Tiberio asked how they reduced the original figure of $181,000 to $160,000. The Mayor said he rounded the figure because it was $181,835. Then there was a $32,000 reduction. There was a math error so the correct figure should be $150,000.
CM Tiberio said he understood that, and that items 1 - 5 of the bid (milling, paving, etc ) were self explanatory. He asked about the contractor accepting a big price reduction - the concrete work (items 7 - 9) was $100,000 of the bid, and only $81,000 was blacktop, milling, and the rest. The Mayor said Mr. Houser used the unit pricing figure and if the council approves the bid award tonight in “an amount not to exceed”, subject to the limitations of Mr. Houser's measurements, VMP has the authority to walk away from the contract if that is not acceptable to them. The Mayor said he has a hunch that VMP will be very interested in doing the work, less $32,000 of work because VMP has worked in town before and has bid on a number of contracts. If they balk at that they are no longer the low bidder and the town either awards to the second high bidder, or puts it out to a new bid. Time is of the essence though, and this may move the project forward more quickly. The Mayor said CM Tiberio's points are well taken. CM Tiberio said his point is that the concrete work (items 7 - 9) is lower by the other construction company than this construction company. Mr. Houser said it was, but the Mayor and Mr. Prangley agree VMP will be willing to work on this. Though their concrete price was a little higher, it was bid as a package, not separately, and there's been a huge fluctuation in the work to be done. The difference in price on concrete work over all was only a couple of thousand dollars. The package was bid as a whole and VMP's price was substantially less overall. The Mayor said CM Tiberio's point was that on some items where there is a $28 unit fee, one is doing it at $27. The Mayor's understanding of the price differential between the low bidder and second low bidder is approximately a $14,000 differential, and he didn't believe the one dollar of unit price will make up $14,000. CM Tiberio said he didn't know where the Mayor was getting that from - that's $96,000, and the three items are $96,000, so the three items are about equal. CM Tiberio said he doesn't like this, we're going on estimates of linear feet but it's not the way to handle a bid”. CM C. Davis interjected again her suggestion that maybe it would be best to table the matter.
The Mayor said he looked at VMP as opposed to NZI. To remove and replace concrete curb and gutter, VMP came in at $62,475, NZI was higher. To install concrete sidewalk and ramps, VMP came in at $22,000, NZI was $19,000, with a $3,000 difference. To install concrete residential driveways, VMP charged $12,740, NZI charged $13,230. The concrete difference alone on the full scope of work is less than $4,000, yet NZI's bid is $14,000 higher. The Mayor said even if you take out the concrete work, NZI is not the low bidder any way you slice it. He agreed with CM Tiberio that this was not the best way to do this
CM C. Davis reiterated her original question as to whether her colleagues felt better tabling this until they could rebid with more accurate figures. CM Tiberio asked if she was making a motion to table. CM C. Davis said when she originally asked the question she wasn't sure which way to go. The Mayor said he understood from Mr. Prangley that time is of the essence, and there is about four and a half months to do $750,000 - $800,000 of work - there's only about a four and a half month window of time to do the work. CM C. Davis said she understood, and also fully understood that there was some flexibility because one of the Phase I sewer work projects had not been completed by WSSC.
Mr. Houser interjected that the difference in the $97,000 price mentioned is actually probably about $45,000 less in the scope of the concrete work - there was a $45,000 difference. CM Tiberio said his original question was about reducing the scope of the contract and we're assuming the contractor will honor his price per linear foot with a lesser amount of concrete, but we don't know if he'll accept that. Mr. Houser said he thinks they would accept but the town should also exercise the right to reject both bids, re-bid, and in that sense you can also bid the concrete work separately, as a separate contract to be done first, then the milling and overlay.
The Mayor said each thing is going to cause delay. If they make a bid award to VMP as the low bidder, x'g out the work that is currently before them as Mr. Houser says, VMP has the authority to reject it saying they won't honor those unit prices. We can reject the contract accordingly and the scope of the work if they say they can't bring it in for that price. The Mayor said he has every reason to believe VMP will not reject a contract with the town for $150,000.
CM Tiberio said the other option is to call in VMP and NZI, and give them the new linear feet and figures on this job, and see what kind of figures we get then. It shouldn't take more than three days to get them to review the same project with less concrete. CM C. Davis said that's the question she asked, does anyone else want to go that route. CM Tiberio said they have the right to negotiate with the low bidder and NZI and VMP are within a few thousand dollars of each other for best and final offer and maybe it'll go cheaper. Mr. Prangley said they could bring them in this week, maybe tomorrow. The Mayor said best and final is fine but the council should prepare to have a special legislative meeting within the next seven days to do a bid award unless they want to do a conditional bid award. Both companies would come in, get them to do best and final limiting the scope saying the contract can be awarded for no more than “x” thousands of dollars to the company who provides the lowest bid, but that's not the best way to do it.
CM Tiberio said he would defer to CM C. Davis who noted they could have a special legislative prior to the Economic Development Committee meeting already scheduled for the 11th. The Mayor said his only concern was for CM Almirez who has as a difficult time attending some meetings because he works evenings. He'd set aside Monday nights so he could attend so the Mayor asked if they wanted to set it aside until next Monday's meeting when CM Almirez could attend. CM Feldberg said she didn't. CM Tiberio said he could see a conditional motion though it was still CM C. Davis' motion.
CM Tiberio suggested a motion to approve a contract to the low bidder, subject to a meeting of the low bidder and the second bidder, to get a best and final offer on the total contract, for an amount not to exceed the original price. The Mayor asked Mr. Houser about the limitation of the scope. Others interjected amounts ($145,000 - $150,000). Mr. Houser said he did not want to do that now because without a contract, he and the engineer had not been over this together. He said he guaranteed his figures were ballpark, and though Mr. Houser had spent time on this project, he the engineer have not been over it to this point. Now that the council has accepted the engineer's bid, he'd like to meet with the engineer again before telling the council they can name what scope the project will be.
CM C. Davis said they should re-bid. The Mayor said no. CM C. Davis said she is the last person to want to put this on hold but she wants everyone on the council to feel comfortable with the numbers. The Mayor suggested they bring in the engineer tomorrow, VMP and NZI this week for a best and final, finish the numbers, and tell them they have to submit to them by COB July 8th or it won't be considered, then the council would meet for a special legislative meeting on July 8th. The Mayor said if we put it out for re-bid they'll all be there a month from now awarding a contract, the scope of whose work will not begin until late August. CM C. Davis said she realized that but wanted everyone to be comfortable with it. CM Feldberg said she could not be there July 8th.
CM Tiberio said the main question to ask the bidders was that it appears there is about 5,000 lineal feet of concrete, as opposed to the original 9,800, and is their price per lineal square feet the same for that bid as for the original bid? Before tabling the matter the Mayor suggested if they award a contract to VMP not to exceed $150,000 for the scope of the work as limited by Mr. Houser, if they reject, then we'll know by week's end if they aren't interested in that contract. In comparing and contrasting, they'll have to reject the contract if they cannot do those unit prices because it'll mean it will cost them more than that to do it. He said VMP, as compared to NZI, is still $10,000 - $12,000 lower for all of the other work in the contract and he's trying to avoid the project going backwards. He said he just wants to find the most expeditious way to get this going and get the work done. If they're willing to honor those unit prices they're the low bidder, but if they reject it, they reject it. The Mayor reiterated that it's a way to force their hand to accept the lowest unit price. If they aren't interested in the contract, we'll re-bid it or renegotiate with the first, or second low bidder, and those options are still open to us.
CM Tiberio said another option is to give the low bidder items 1 - 6 since he was the low one. CM Feldberg and CM Tiberio discussed her comment about whether you can break up the contract. CM C. Davis added that technically you can break up the contract but there is curb work that will have to be done before the new overlay can be put down. CM Tiberio continued his comments saying the council reserves the right to reject any, or all parts of the bid. He then deferred to CM C. Davis again.
The Mayor reviewed the motion on the table, with no amendments and no modifications but with a mathematical error in it, was to approve the contract to VMP, for an amount not to exceed $160,000 for the project work minus the limitations based on the measurements by Mr. Houser. He said technically it's overstated by $10,000. CM C. Davis adjusted the motion amount to $150,000. CM Feldberg seconded the adjustment to the motion. The Mayor restated the motion to reflect the amount not to exceed $150,000.
CM C. Davis asked again if her colleagues were comfortable with doing it this way. CM Feldberg said she was. CM Tiberio said he was not.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed 5 - 1. CM Tiberio voted no.
The Mayor asked Mr. Prangley and Mr. Houser to get together with VMP and notify him by memo this week if they were able to engage their services under those terms. If not, the council will act quickly.
New Committee Assignments
The Mayor announced that the four existing members will continue to serve in the same capacity on each committee as previously assigned.
CM W. Davis will serve as the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee.
CM Hart is assigned as a member of the Finance Committee.
CM Hart will serve as the Chairman of the Legislative Committee.
CM W. Davis is assigned as a member of the Legislative Committee.
CM Hart is assigned as a member of the Community Affairs Committee.
CM W. Davis is assigned as a member of the Economic Development Committee.
CM Tiberio made the motion to accept the new committee assignments. CM C. Davis seconded the motion. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Items of Unfinished Business
Items of New Business
CM C. Davis asked about setting rules regarding councilmember's not contributing their salaries, and noted that she will have personal accounting matters to deal with if this is discontinued. The Mayor suggested that an appropriate motion, from an accounting standpoint as discussed with Mr. Prangley, would be that councilmember's contribute the salary to a forfeited fund. It would be a donation directed by the member, but it's an unreturnable gift to be used for work done in the town. CM C. Davis said it was her understanding that after she put it down on paper, unless she took it back on paper, she couldn't get it back and has been appropriating almost $12,000. Her concern, for ease of use for her own benefit is that she would be able to continue to do this without causing problems in her finances.
CM Feldberg suggested that the money would be required to be spent by the end of the fiscal year and not be allowed to carry over to the next year The Mayor added that any money not spent in the fiscal year would go to inappropriate surplus. CM C. Davis said she was not comfortable with that because it usually takes an entire term to save up enough money to do the amount of infrastructure work she needed to do.
CM Tiberio said he believed they should not continue to do it at all and the town should not maintain any set aside monies like this. The councilperson can get their check, have whatever funds currently set aside be returned to the contributing councilmember, and they can make a donation as they see fit, when they see fit, at any time, and end the unwritten policy. He said that was his motion. CM Feldberg said a person could keep a separate account, donate it when they wanted to, and still use it as a tax write off. The Mayor and CM Tiberio noted that that could not be done under CM Tiberio's motion. CM Feldberg seconded the motion.
CM Tiberio restated the motion; that each councilmember receive their check each month; if they wish to make a donation to the town they can make a donation to the town anytime they wish; any councilmember having money in that account at this time be given those funds and they can turn around and donate them anyway they wish in the future.
CM C. Davis respectfully asked to table the matter until they have a chance to talk about it, and she has a chance to talk to her accountant. She said she didn't want to be blunt, but she felt like she was being screwed.
The Mayor said they have a motion to table which is a non-debatable motion. CM W. Davis seconded the motion. The motion passed 4 - 2. CM Tiberio and CM Hart voted no. The Mayor said the council will discuss it at the next worksession and at the August legislative session.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd reviewed that under agenda items 11 & 12 various meeting minutes were approved, but that the redacted, edited, revised minutes from the February Eckerd meeting were still missing. CM C. Davis said she received a copy of the minutes late last evening and is going through them answering question currently. CM Tiberio asked where they were and said he wanted them. The Mayor said the minutes were not from a legislative meeting but CM Tiberio and Mr. Kiernan said the minutes were from a special legislative meeting. CM Tiberio said that's why he wanted a copy of them.
Deborah Grade, 5309 Powhattan Rd, thanked the Public Works Department, and especially Donald Souls, for their quick response to a huge fallen tree limb that fell near the Wingfield property near the corner of 54th and Powhattan on the morning of June 22nd (or late night of June 21st). The branch was so large that it could not simply be moved but had to be cut up. They quickly cleaned up the area. Ms. Grade was especially appreciative since she had an appointment early that morning and the limb had blocked the roadway.
Ms. Grade said she was not at home when item 17 was addressed and asked what action was taken. The Mayor informed her that it was approved.
Ms. Grade revisited the topic of overflow parking from the apartment buildings on 54th Avenue raised by CM W. Davis. She said she's witnessed a lot of vehicles parked in front of her property on Powhattan noting the majority of the drivers are Hispanic. She said it's not only a parking issue, but also a litter problem. After the vehicles leave, her husband or children often have to pick up the litter left behind. She said they've also witnessed the problem of the drivers urinating in the field across the street from her house where they park. Ms. Grade reiterated it's not only the people parking on the street, it's the beer and wine bottles left behind. She knows one of the vehicles belongs to a young man who lives in Riverdale Village Apts. As the police asked, she and other residents are reporting vehicles that seem suspicious. Ms. Grade had the opportunity to speak to this young man to notify him that she was going to report the vehicle because it was suspicious looking. The young man told her he parks there, walking down Jefferson St, because his car has been vandalized and hit several times, and doesn't like the parking in the complex.
Ms. Grade said some of the vehicles parked in front of her house don't have tags. She doesn't know if they're stolen vehicles or owned by those trying to evade the police. She's reported it to the police department but doesn't know if it's a police department or a code problem.
Ms. Grade said she'd also seen families parking cars in the 6100 block of 54th Ave, then walking back across Riverdale Rd to the apartments. She reiterated it's not just a parking problem but also a litter problem, and a problem with individuals using the area across from her home as a public restroom.
The Mayor said Ms. Grade spoke to several issues, but to the extent she sees any untagged car parked, it is both a police, and a code enforcement matter and those calls will be dealt with promptly. Untagged cars are not welcome in the community for a variety of reasons, but those living in the community without tags are costing the taxpayer money because they're driving without tags.
Meeting adjourned at 9:55 p.m.
Minutes prepared from videotape.
DATES TO REMEMBER
Tuesday, July 2, Traffic Study Committee, Town Hall, 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 4, Independence Day, Town Offices Closed
Friday, July 5, Regular and heavy trash and metal pick-up town-wide
Monday, July 8, Recreation Board, Town Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 9, Madison Hill HOA, Town Hall, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 16, Neighborhood Watch, Town Hall, 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 24, Lions Club, Town Hall, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, July 29, Council Work Session, Town Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays, Farmer's Market, Town Center, 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
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