Minutes of August 5, 2002
Town of Riverdale Park
Mayor and Council Legislative Session
Minutes of August 5, 2002
Call To Order
Present: Councilmembers 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 C. Davis seconded the motion. Approval of the February 18th Special Legislative Meeting (11a), appointment of a Recreation Board member (12a), Request for 24 hour operation of Tiger Mart on 90 day basis (17a), Bid award for engineering for 44th Ave - CDBG PY 28 (21a) were added. Item 20 was deleted. The motion passed.
Town Administrator and Treasurer's Report
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 Feldberg. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Prangley said the audit is progressing very well and should be completed in another week. A report for FY 2001 - 2002 should be available in September (the deadline is November 1).
The town secured very competitive financing for the Public Works fleet for this new fiscal year and round two of the Community Legacy Program will be discussed later in the meeting. Mr. Prangley acknowledged that the council has been very busy with MUTC and economic development but would like to ask council to consider some round two priorities as well as PY 29 (CDBG) in the next two or three weeks. The deadline for CDBG is into September and September 10th for community legacy.
Mayor Herman thanked those who assisted during power outages around town over the weekend. It was very heartening to see neighbors with power helping those who didn't have it by running extension cords from one home to another to run fans and air conditioners, etc. When information became available that the outage would continue overnight, the town hall was opened up for residents without power to cool themselves and to stay in overnight. In the future the town hall will be opened for extended outages and the town will invoke certain rules to open the elementary school for wide scale problems. There was constant communication with PEPCO and there were 42,000 people without power in the Washington Metro area following the storm with most in PG County. PEPCO goes to the larger groups first, gradually making their way to the smaller ones as they're restoring power grids. The Mayor thanked residents for their patience and assured everyone the town was doing everything they could to help. He thanked the Chief and Sgt. Evans (the officer in charge during the coordinated responsibilities). He thanked CM Hart who was out in the community actively knocking on doors to speak with residents in Ward 2 to be sure residents were ok and see who needed assistance.
Tomorrow evening is National Night Out, the night that citizens are encouraged to “reclaim” their streets. Residents are encouraged to be visible, go out, talk to neighbors, participate in citizen patrols, and be sure to leave the porch light on in recognition of the event.
Following to title search research, a technical glitch occurred (based on documents prepared by the former town attorney) the Town Center closing with Douglas Development was delayed. The problem was a formality but involved signatures of individuals involved in the prior conveyance of the properties. Matters should be resolved in the next few days. Hopefully the permits will be applied for and construction will begin as soon as closing occurs.
The Mayor met with Gustavo Torres and Steve Smithson from Casa de Maryland. CDM is intrigued by creating a greater presence here in town due to the large Hispanic population. Casa de Maryland, in cooperation with the town and the faith based communities and nearby communities, will be starting an initiative and a partnership to bring additional resources and services to the community. The town will be working with them to create successful programs for the Hispanic community (“thinking outside the box”).
Street repairs - a number are slated for several types of projects (driveways, sidewalks, overlay of asphalt, aprons) - more than 20 blocks will be done between now and the fall season. One contract is underway, another bid award will be discussed tonight, and bid specifications will be put out on additional contracts. Residents are asked to continue to be patient as the town is actively working in collaboration with multiple utilities and contractors. Over $700,000 in work will be completed over the next 3 - 4 months. Residents will be given as much notice as possible when work will be done on their streets. There are miscellaneous smaller projects (road, sidewalk, etc) that need to be done in various wards. The Mayor is putting together a list of jobs being done and needing to be done to do additional add-ons to contracts to accomplish that work. Asked councilmembers to provide info to him to use it to the extent the budget permits.
In adoption of the budget a paid position for editor in chief was provided for. An unsolicited submission was received from an individual interested in serving in that capacity. An advertisement will be placed in the next Town Crier for the position to begin the selection process. Interested individuals should send a letter of interest, resume, and writing samples. It is preferred that the editor and chief be someone from the community.
Police Department and Code Enforcement Report
Chief Evans reiterated that tomorrow night is National Night Out. There is no formal recognition of the event but residents are encouraged to turn on their porch lights, go outside, talk to neighbors, and participate in some way.
The police department is down three officers. One is serving in the military following the events of September 11th and there are two other vacancies. A recruiting crew was sent to Pennsylvania to visit some of the law enforcement academies there. Three applications have been received from individuals who are interested in relocating to the DC area (one is in process) and two local officers are in process for the department so it is hoped these positions will be filled sometime in early fall.
A $15,000 grant on crime prevention was received from the governors office to continue upgrading communications center. A $35k violence abatement (particularly gun violence abatement) was received and will be used primarily in Wards 5 and 6.
The Chief read aloud the crime report. He encouraged residents to look out for each other and their property and report any suspicious behavior to the police department.
As a result of the storm, their computer was not able to provide information for code enforcement for the evening.
CM C. Davis asked for translation of the codes on reports provided to the council.
Public Works Department Report
Mr. Houser reported that on July 24th there was a meeting regarding the 48th and 49th Ave projects. Letters were sent to residents of Ward 1 and 2 to attend the meeting to have questions answered and to sign up for other work residents wanted to have performed (no contractor was chosen then but may be by this evenings end). That list will be passed on to the contractor. This effort will be made for future projects so residents can negotiate a price for private work they may wish to have contractors performed (driveways, aprons, etc). Payment of the price negotiated is the responsibility of the homeowner. Residents are encouraged to contact town hall to get numbers for the contractors.
Public Works Committee had a meeting on July 31st where other topics were discussed but Mr. Houser said Public Works Chairperson Rebecca Feldberg would report on that.
A Hyattsville resident (Liz Alexander?) said she was very worried about the police here. She'd left numerous messages for the Chief and never got a call back. Her son was arrested Christmas Eve. She said they were stopped because he made a noise with the tires at around 11:00 p.m. Her 13 month old grandson was also in the car and was throwing up. She went outside in with her robe on and a young officer told her if she didn't get out of there she would arrenst her. She asked the officer about getting the baby out of the car and told her her son was not speeding just because the tires made noise, it was a very old car. She said she was very worried about this even though she didn't say anything for a while.
On Thursday she was in the McDonald's parking lot when a young lady backed up and hit her. She stopped the car ready to take pictures. An officer wouldn't allow her to take pictures of her own car but was told to move the car or it would be towed. She said she has pictures showing where the car was and said your officers park there all the time. There's no yellow line. Today she talked to two nice Riverdale officers who apologized for the other officer.
CM Tiberio said this is not the appropriate venue for that. CM C. Davis said she was getting to that. He said what was being said should have been put in writing, which is the policy, and sent to the chief of police. The Hyattsville resident said she was told by Riverdale citizens to come here and that's why she was here. CM Tiberio said this is not the venue. CM C. Davis explained when there's a complaint against the police department (CM C. Davis noted she seemed to have several) they are to be put in a letter with date, time, officers names or badge numbers she's oberserved, photographs necessary to the discussion. The lady said she gets no answer. CM C. Davis said they can't investigate without something in writing. CM Davis asked her if she could bring the letter in tomorrow and told her the Chief would look at it right away. She said she would if she could write it and she'd been waiting for a call since December 25th. CM Tiberio told her to state the whole complaint. The Chief said he had not received any messages from a Mrs. Alexander in any capacity. She told him she'd called him many times (January, February...). When the Chief asked who she'd called she said she'd called the station and had left messages on his answering machine, in his voice mail. He said he'd never received them.
Mrs. Alexander said she knew officers were like us having bad times and good times, whatever. But after Thursday, being told to move her call from a parking space otherwise she'd be....and said he almost threatened her. CM C. Davis said if she wished to make a complaint and please put it in writing and bring it into the police department. She said she just came here because two of our citizens told her to come here, she lives in Hyattsville and didn't even know where this place was. She said she was sorry to have bothered them. CM Tiberio told her she hadn't bothered them but it needed to be in writing. CM C. Davis said again the couldn't respond without something in writing.
Committee and Ward Reports
CM W. Davis said the property at 5413 Riverdale Rd continues to be a dumping ground (a piano is there now) and hopes the code enforcement officer is aware of it and has spoken to the property owners. Residents would like the owners to make regular clean-ups of the property.
CM Almirez said residents still want more security in the streets. Parking and water drainage problems continue and a drainage design is needed. Residents complain about the pool water and electricity/electricity too. CM Almirez spoke to the owner who said PEPCO was coming today about the air conditioning.
CM C. Davis said a trial period that would extend the hours of the Exxon (for 24 hour service)at the corner of Queensbury and Route 1 was on the agenda (Economic Development matter). Construction of the mixed use office at the site of the Subway will be discussed at the next meeting. The owner/developer has presented plans to work sessions, regular legislative sessions, MUTC meetings and has some really good ideas of what he wants to do. Later in the meeting the CDBG grant for the 6200 block 44th Ave will be discussed. This was originally on WSSC's list but serious sinkholes have been discovered so it looks like we'll have to replace all the infrastructure and allow the council grant to go back into CDBG (which is paid for by the federal government). All the infrastructure will be replaced, not just what seemed to be in the worst condition. In the next couple of months, WSSC work will be done in all three neighborhoods of Ward 4 and on other streets in town. It may create parking difficulties and problems getting from one end of the neighborhood to the other. The town will do it's best to notify residents. WSSC has been put on notice that they must give notice to the park and the town will notify the residents if parking restrictions are in place.
As the Mayor said, everyone hopes that settlement on the Town Center will occur this week. Construction will begin once that occurs. Residents who can are asked to walk to the Farmers Market since there won't be a lot of parking available while that is going on.
A lot of sidewalk work is being done out of the “Ward 4 sidewalk fund”. If anyone has a sidewalk or driveway apron that hasn't been recently repaired, please call CM C. Davis as a little money has been set aside for this.
Also working on code issues on Ward 4, especially on EW Hwy. The next Preservation Association Meeting will be held on Saturday, August 24th, at 10:00 a.m. Bagels or donuts and coffee will be served. The committee will be discussing the December 8th house tour (in homes north of the highway, east of the railroad tracks).
CM Tiberio thanked public works for the signs put up on Nicholson St. He said there was confusion, partly on his part, and apologized for that. He thanked them again for the job they did. Permits have been put out to most of the people. Some weren't home yesterday because of the power failure so he'll go back to them.
He's received a number of complaints about loud parties (yard parties) and asked about using the DB meter and enforcing the 10:00 p.m. limit. CM Tiberio has received calls from residents (not all from his ward) at 11:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. about party noise and the police go out, but people don't understand the ordinance.
He commended the police department for the speed machine/mileage indicator machine. It's use is affecting cars on Taylor Rd for cars coming up from Edmonston Rd. Drivers see it from a block away at 45 or 50 mph halfway up the block but then their speeds drop down to 25 mph. Drivers don't realize its only a speed indicator machine, not a radar machine, but it's really slowing drivers down. He noticed it's been moved to Riverdale Rd but asked that it be placed on Taylor whenever they can. The Chief said they will move it around but they were checking its effectiveness in the school zone which is where it will spend a lot of time when school reopens. CM Feldberg said she's waiting for it on Lafayette. CM Tiberio said its been very well accepted by residents.
CM Tiberio suggested setting the next redistricting meeting on August 19th at 7:30 p.m. The Mayor said CM Almirez is available on Monday nights so that's a good night for a meeting.
CM Tiberio cautioned everyone for their use of the lawyer due to the legal fees saying the town is having an inordinate amount of legal fees. He said he knows the town has a lot on the plate but lawyers charge a lot per hour so prudence is needed. In response to someone else's comment or joke he noted that he never called him.
He said the town met with the Maryland mosquito expert about mosquito spraying. The Town originally wanted was a very limited spraying but she wants a larger swath of land to spray but she can't agree to that. It's not enough and it won't solve the problems. The space she suggested was between the railroad tracks and the branch south of Riverdale Rd only - more or less the triangle along the railroad through the third ward to the branch but south of Riverdale Rd (her choice). Residents can still opt out of spraying - anyone within 300 feet of spraying can opt out but everyone within that 300 foot circle is affected. Still, if the state believes it to be serious enough it will be done regardless of what we say. There is serious concern because West Nile Virus is killing people now. Last year nine dead crows were found in town infected with West Nile Virus. Because of the lack of rain the breeding has decreased without the extra ponding but it will pick up when rain comes.
CM Hart said he didn't have anything legislatively yet.
He thanked everyone who attended the social he had, and will have at the end of every month. He believes everyone received a postcard and thanked volunteers who helped. CM Hart asked residents to call him if they had any suggestions. One idea was that the social be switched between different neighborhoods instead of having it only at his home and that the change may help people get to know one another better too. He asked that people call him with suggestions.
CM Hart said he was one who was without power over the weekend but was able to get a generator going and was able to help some neighbors with it.
When visiting Quintana he noticed and heard about the problem of speeding up and down the street. Residents would like the problem looked into. CM Hart suggested using the speed machine. The Mayor said they used to have speed humps on the street.
CM Hart said he lives at a four way stop and noticed there's a problem with stopping at the stop signs (some don't stop at all). He noticed neighbors and other residents do it too but asked that everyone be sure to stop for the kids and even because he and his dog don't want to get run over.
CM Feldberg said residents who are interested in getting out for National Night Out are welcome to join her and others who walk every evening as a walking group. They will meet tomorrow evening (as they do every evening) at 7:30 p.m. at the train station.
She acknowledged that a neighborhood in her ward will soon be torn up by WSSC work that's being done but encouraged everyone to be patient and believes everyone will be pleased with the results.
The new vehicles that the town needs/will be getting was discussed at the recent Public Works meeting. Also reviewed the ordinance to see what changes might be needed and found that a lot of the definitions are outdated. They worked to improve them to reflect current policies on handling trash and recycling and hopes they can come up with a new ordinance to be voted on next month.
CM Feldberg said she's been trying to find the best way to communicate with her constituents and has decided on a "ward walk". This way residents can come to her to talk rather than her going door to door. She would like to have people show her areas needing improvement or talk and express likes and dislikes. The first one will be held on Saturday, September 14th at 9:00 a.m. (event and date will be listed in Town Crier)
Fire Department Report
Dave Sutton said people are not heeding warnings about heat and sunstroke. Those working in the heat need to drink plenty of water, get some shade and keep an eye on themselves for heat stroke symptoms.
A resident reported that there are a number of houses who's house numbers are either obscured (by trees or foliage), missing, or can't be seen from the street. The best way to check is to walk out to the street, look back at your home and see if they're easy to read from the street. If the homeowner can't see/read them, then emergency vehicles can't either.
The Mayor asked Mr. Sutton if he would be available later in the meeting for the Heritage Carnival discussion (agenda item 17). In the event that the Festival moves forward and occurs they would be looking forward to possible contributions by Tower 7 and 13 for assistance.
Residents attending the meetings are asked to turn off their cell phones before the meetings begin.
The Mayor said before doing general public comments County Sheriff Al Black was in attendance and gave him the opportunity to speak to his “minions”.
Sheriff Al Black thanked the Mayor for allowing him to appear before them today. Sheriff Black said some are asking where the Sheriff has been the last three and a half years and of course it is election time again, however, he is present as a servant of the people to give a report as to what he has been doing for the last 3 years for you. He reviewed that he was elected in November 1998 and when he took over the sheriff's office it was in somewhat disarray. Sheriff's didn't have equipment needed to get the job done, they didn't have cars or computers, the building they occupied was built in 1921 and was not conducive to getting the job done. Deputy's didn't have computers, mobile data communicators, or vision. What Sheriff Black did since taking over, and for the first time in the sheriff's office (which is over 306 years old), he has for the first time developed a strategic management plan - a plan that focuses on where they will be five years from now providing the best possible services to the citizens of PG County.
Sheriff Black has gotten over 76 brand new cars so deputies can get out on the street to get the job done and serve the warrants. He has knocked the warrant backlog down by more than 10,000 warrants. When he took over the office the warrants were over 48,000, they're down to 38,000, and they receive each year from 18,000 to 25,000 additional new warrants, and they receive over 6,000 civil papers every month. His deputies are on top of those. With over 150 new computers they can look up the warrants and civil papers and operate more efficiently. Yesterday the Sheriff's department moved into a brand new facility at 1601 McCormack Dr in Largo. The new sheriff's office is the best facility the sheriff's office has ever had in over 306 years. Sheriff Black said he has worked hard to modernize the sheriff's office to work as efficiently as possible and bring the services citizens need. Sheriff Black is also a former US Marine, an attorney, a member of the VFW, American Legion, and many bar associations and other civic associations. Sheriff Black said he has worked very hard in the county and has been a law enforcement officer for over 35 years. He's patrolled Riverdale Park and all of PG County. As a county officer he patrolled 27 out of 32 beats in four years and said he is here to tell citizens that the services of the sheriff's office will continue to improve and be there for citizens and he will be there for Riverdale Park. He thanked the mayor, council, city manager and chief of police for their support during his time in office and he hopes to continue to bring those services to everyone in the future.
CM C. Davis asked what differentiates the sheriff's office from the county and town police services. Sheriff Black said they specialize, and they are governed by courts of judicial proceedings 2309 that outline the mandate for the sheriff. His office is responsible for serving all of the warrants that come into the county. They also do all the extraditions, going out of the county, state or country to bring back fugitives from justice to attend court, and Sheriff Black said he has himself gone out of the country to bring back the bad guys. His office is also responsible for transporting all prisoners that are legally detained as part of the law. They transport for the other police departments. They are also responsible now for domestic violence, child support, child support warrants, child support raids (going out in the middle of the night), landlord/tenant evictions. In addition to all the “negative” things, they have mentoring programs for kids, scholarship programs for kids going to college, and feed over 10,000 people around thanksgiving and Christmas, and they transport vital organs. The sheriff's office specializes but they don't cross into the areas of municipal or county police. As in the federal government with various law enforcement agencies, they all work together as his office does with the other law enforcement.
CM Tiberio asked if they weren't also responsible for the courts. Sheriff Black said they are also responsible to provide security to the courts in Hyattsville and Upper Marlboro and everyday approximately 52 deputy's are in court. Judges refuse to take the bench (particularly in criminal cases) unless a deputy is in attendance for security. Mayor Herman said that as a prosecutor he's thankful they're in the courtroom because he's had some people want to go after him too.
Chief Evans added that he was grateful to Sheriff Black for coming by, saying the Sheriff is a good friend to municipal law enforcement (has been as long as Chief Evans has been a chief), and he's very helpful to them and provides resources to our force. Recently, when we had a fugitive escape from our custody it was one of his deputy's that assisted the Riverdale police in finding him and was in fact injured in the arrest. Chief Evans applauds the Sheriff's department for their assistance. They're always willing to go the extra step for law enforcement and the Chief is proud to have him as a friend. Chief Evans said Sheriff Black is somewhat modest because he's not just a former marine, the Sheriff is also a combat decorated former marine.
CM Feldberg asked how the Sheriff's department staffing is currently. The Sheriff said he's been authorized to hire an additional 40 deputies. Approximately 20 are in the system now and are in the process of recruiting another 20 for an early October class. He's hired 31 civilians since coming on. He said they need more but are making due with what they have. The county cut back on everyone's budget and theirs was cut back also, however, since he's been Sheriff they've received the largest budget in approximately 20 years. The budget had been cut back to between $7 and $8 million dollars and he's gotten back up to between $17 and $18 million so they're doing much better. With the new equipment and facilities they will be able to do their job much better.
The Mayor asked Sheriff Black if he'd be willing to stay and answer questions from the public so they could move on because the agenda was so long. Sheriff Black agreed.
Mr. Jacques Chevalier II announced that he was campaigning for the office of county council for district 3 to bring change and reclaim integrity and honesty to the county council district 3 seat in Upper Marlboro. The communities in District 3 are entirely inside the beltway where little shopping is available, blighted streets, schools in disrepair, students and parents despair. As a mostly happily married father of two sons, Mr. Chevalier said he cares about families and communities and desires to bring change, build the infrastructure and minds as well as our expectations to higher heights. You the citizens of Riverdale Park do not deserve that suspended, drunken lawyer sell out to the developers incumbent Thomas Henderschott to represent you on the county council any longer. The county is changing and surely you are smarter than he gives you credit for. Mr. Chevalier says citizens must have someone like himself, willing to work hard, bring change and work with the community, small businesses that desire to bring the services that we need to our community so that we do not have to travel 15 to 50 miles to a decent shopping center or employment center - such as the ICC which Mr. Chevalier thinks we should oppose since it's just a set up to take the jobs and development to Montgomery County and short change PG County one more time because of such as the county executive that we have, Wayne Curry Chicken, who works in Upper Marlboro.
Mr. Chevalier's website: electchevalier.org will give more insights into more of his insights and statements. He can be reached at his office at 301-322-7055. Your community should expand on what you really need and not on some politician who wants to sleep in the bed with all these developers to get all this money to simply ignore you. Mr. Chevalier said he protests that, and thinks you should, we should. Mr. Chevalier added that he's running as a republican, and he's a black man in a majority white district that is also a majority democrat, but he asks that that not be held against him. He said he will work hard no matter what color you are or whatever your party affiliation. You are allowed by law to vote for whoever you so choose in the November 10th general election. Mr. Chevalier resides in Woodlawn, MD, near Capital Plaza off of Route 450, which he noted is a very blighted community that he certainly protests.
Steve Brayman, Mayor of College Park, said an agenda item brought him here tonight to hear discussion on the item. He said it was interesting to see other municipalities working in the different formats that are followed. He thought it was interesting to see that Riverdale has noise issues as well. College Park has for decades and they've always thought that having a police department would solve it instantly, it doesn't. There are also many other common things that we should work on. Recently there's been movement in some of the land acquisitions that are both in College Park and Riverdale Park. Mayor Brayman said in that area and in other areas, College Park is a friendly neighbor to the north and he thinks it pays for us all to be working together, to be dialoging and talking. We'll agree, we'll disagree, but let's be friends and get better acquainted in the future.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, said over the past four months of Mayor Herman's administration he has ignored numerous executive committee meetings that had not been posted properly in accordance with the Maryland Open Meetings Act. Mr. Kiernan believed that tonight Mayor Herman stepped over the line so far that it's irretrievable recalling that at the last worksession CM C. Davis suggested that the council should consider having contracts for executive level employees. Mr. Kiernan said he believed that was a policy decision and would consider it a personnel decision to be once you've decided to have contracts, what the details of the contract should be. Last week the Mayor promptly called a closed meeting for 7:00 p.m. tonight that was not posted and were making policy behind closed doors. Mr. Kiernan said Mayor Herman was the one who screamed about the past administration had gone from open to closed government and stated that Mayor Herman has gone from open to completely closed government by ignoring the Maryland Open Meetings Act.
Mr. Kiernan said the Mayor spoke earlier in the evening about building permits for Town Center immediately upon settlement but he didn't see how. He recalled that as a councilmember, in August of 2000, Mayor Herman and several others still on the council, passed major revisions to the building permits portion of the town code and they require 60 day submissions of the building permits but he hasn't heard anyone discussing that they've received the paperwork 60 days in advance for those building permits.
Mayor Herman thanked Mr. Kiernan for his comments and said he was sure Mr. Kiernan wouldn't want discussion of his salary broadcasted if it were under discussion. Mr. Kiernan answered away from the mic and the Mayor repeated his understanding and appreciation for Mr. Kiernan's comments several times in between responses.
Sam Parker, Vice President of the Templeton Knolls Civic Association (?), a neighbor to the east. He offered their assistance regarding their concern for the new plantings on Kenilworth Ave as it's a shared front door to them and us. He recognized it's a state road and the state is responsible for it's maintenance but our tax dollars have been used to improve that strip of property but the present and long term condition of the property is a concern to them believed it was to the town as well. They're trying to figure out a way to deal with it. It's horrible as it is now and knows the state does provide ongoing maintenance for at least a few years but it doesn't appear that's the case since nothing has been done since planting. The problem also related to how the businesses take care of the planting investments near their property but they aren't taking care of it. They'd talked to the Mayor about cooperative efforts between themselves and the town on various issues but believes this is an easy one. Mr. Parker contacted Mr. Pinsky's office several weeks ago but nothing has happened. He believes we need to work together to figure out the short term problem and long term impact on both communities. They're offering their hand to work jointly with the town to at least resolve this issue and eventually move onto other things that affect both borders.
The Mayor thanked Mr. Parker and told him the town had contacted state highway administration and it's a challenge to get some of the maintenance work done. State highway does maintain a significant portion of the landscape areas, not just on Kenilworth but also the open culvert along EW Hwy and other sections. It has been a challenge and he appreciated Mr. Parker bringing this to their attention and he looks forward to working with them to see how we can help facilitate this relationship.
Mr. Parker said the state has been very active in maintaining landscaping on Central Ave and Landover Rd so there seems to be a difference in what they're doing here and in other areas and Mr. Parker believes it's political clout that addresses some of that. Mayor Herman said it's time to change the rules of the game.
CM C. Davis believed the town mentioned to state highway administration that we would take care of that section of Kenilworth Ave (she wasn't sure if it had been put in writing). She said we were talking about this project at a meeting with them before it even got off the ground and like the train station and portions of EW Hwy and Route 1 we would do maintenance so perhaps we aren't on their radar screen. The Mayor said we're on their radar screen because we've notified them of such. We've never agreed to take on the maintenance of that. If the former administration cut a separate deal, unbeknownst to some of us he didn't know about that but state highway is aware they have responsibilities here and we will work to get them back into the community. CM W. Davis said they have a sorry record for responding. CM C. Davis said we normally volunteer to do these things because we do it much faster. The Mayor said at the same time we don't believe that the remedy for the government not doing it's job is for us to pick up the bill and allow the state to abrogate it's responsibilities here in the community but he appreciates the comments.
Mr. Prangley said this has come up recently and he agrees with Mr. Parker's assessment saying there is a lack of maintenance in that area. It was very beautiful last year but it's gone unattended and now there are weeds growing up through the annuals and perennial plants. The state is aware of it and we're setting up a meeting in regard to that.
Caesar Romero, 4913 Ravenswood, said when the power was out he tried to call the Riverdale police department and couldn't get an answer. He called the PG County police about having police service on Taylor and EW Hwy but no one showed up and there was no service there for 24 hours. He believed that was very dangerous especially for those driving.
Mayor Herman said he didn't know about not getting through to the police department because he spoke with them on no fewer than twenty occasions over that 24 hour period and he never had trouble getting through. He suggested maybe Mr. Romero called during an unusually high call volume when he was trying. Secondly, the county police does not have the responsibility that we're talking about. Thirdly, regarding the security issue and the light being out, he consulted with both the on-duty Sergeant and Chief Evans during that 24 hour period. It was determined that because we have a major arterial road being fed in by a secondary road, police presence might have created a more dangerous situation by creating havoc in a location where the only reason for that light is to allow people to come onto or go off of EW Hwy and he had fairly extensive contact with the Chief and the Sergeant during the coarse of the emergency. He said he appreciated Mr. Romero's comments. He admitted he was somewhat ignorant of traffic control and he shared Mr. Romero's exact concerns when he initially called on Saturday but when it was explained to him he thought it made sense. With no light there were fewer accidents than when there was a light there which is ironic but he wanted Mr. Romero to know it was discussed at length with the highest law enforcement personnel in our community.
Mr. Romero said before the town changed the trash schedule it was cleaner. Now you see weeds everywhere and it looks real trashy. We need to do something about it, it's an embarrassment to live here.
Mary Donaldson, 4906 Sheridan St, said in regard to State Hwy and the former administration, we did agree to maintain the trees put in between Taylor and Kenilworth along EW Hwy, to water and maintain them, but not the culvert or anything on Kenilworth Ave. The Mayor thanked her and said that was his understanding as well. CM Tiberio asked about mowing the lawn up and down EW Hwy. Ms. Donaldson said from Taylor to Kenilworth and that's all. Another off mic question was asked about it being only along the north side was asked but the tape didn't pick up an answer.
Recess until 8:55 p.m.
Approval of July 1, 2002 Regular Legislative Meeting
The motion to approve the July 1, 2002, Regular Legislative Meeting Minutes was made by CM Tiberio, and seconded by CM W. Davis. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of Minutes of February 18, 2002 Special Legislative Meeting
The motion to approve the February 18, 2002 Special Legislative session meeting minutes was made by CM C. Davis, and seconded by CM Almirez. There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
CM C. Davis asked that letter 2 be read aloud and said she had one from the military about Sgt Hayes that was not on the list. CM W. Davis asked that letter 5 be read aloud.
Recreation Board Appointment
CM Feldberg made the motion to appoint Tina Davis, 4800 Queensbury Rd as the Ward 1 Recreation Board appointment. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
CM C. Davis asked if the appointment was the first or second appointment to which the Mayor said Tina Davis was the primary appointee. CM Tiberio asked Tracy Toscano, Recreation Board Chairperson if each ward was represented on the board.
Tracy Toscano, 4609 Oliver Street, said she is missing board members for seats 2, 3, and 5, saying she's called everyone again but has not heard back from these wards and can safely assume they're not interested. The Mayor pointed out that CM Hart has had a relatively brief time to make his appointment. CM Tiberio said he gave Ms. Toscano a name from Ward 3 and the last time he talked to her she's still waiting to be called to do something. Ms. Toscano said no, she's been called a number of times and as of just recently, in the past week. CM Tiberio said he'd check with her again. Ms. Toscano said yes, see if they're interested but they aren't calling her back and she doesn't like to call too many times. The Mayor said he will do his part to try to encourage the remaining council members to make the appointments. Ms. Toscano said this years Riverdale Park Day will be fabulous and she would be happy to use the help of anyone who is interested and there will be many neat jobs. She's hoping for a few more people to enjoy the day with her. The Mayor asked Ms. Toscano to tell them about the fabulous event, what's entailed and how volunteers can assist her.
Ms. Toscano said it will be on the grounds of the historic mansion which will be open for tours. There will be music all day long arranged by the Riverdale Bookshop and Coffee Depot and JD DiMatteo. The music and event will be publicized. Food vendors are needed and there are fabulous community restaurants which she hopes will want to participate in the event. Assistance to children and parents, helping with the lines is needed. Everything is free that day except for food or other purchases from vendors. There will be a yard sale by the Historic Preservation Association which is known to be a really spectacular production. There will be a free bike raffle involving 10 - 12 bikes which happens every year. Ms. Toscano said she needs people to purchase prizes, toys, pick up pumpkins, candy, supplies, and gifts, all free to the children that we get to give away and is really quite fun. High school students can earn their community service hours working with them. A dinner will follow for the members to hopefully kick back, relax and enjoy. Ms. Toscano said she's never done a dinner or a party after and hopes one of our restaurants will enjoy hosting the event that evening. Ms. Toscano thanked Rebecca and Tina Davis for joining the board.
The Mayor confirmed that Ms. Toscano was in favor of Tina Davis' appointment which she was. CM Feldberg asked and Ms. Toscano said the board would be meeting tomorrow evening in the Town Hall to discuss dates, ideas, and hopeful delegating tasks that still need to be done. Ms. Toscano said Mr. DiMatteo would like to speak.
JD DiMatteo, 4900 Somerset Rd, said the motto is “Riverdale Day, Celebrating Our Past, Present, and Future”. The event will be opened up and there will be three types of PR: first, in the following week every radio, TV station, and newspaper in the area from Laurel south to Washington DC is going to get a precursor press release; a week before the event they're going to get a secondary press release, and 24 hours before the event they'll get a follow up press release. Public service announcements will be on radio stations in Washington as far east as Annapolis and as far north as Baltimore. Flyers, in blue and gold (blue background and gold colors) in English and Spanish will go out. Volunteers to hand them out around town are needed. Restaurants, businesses, and vendors who want to put the flyers up are welcome. More than 90% of the music is booked already. JD will be the MC. There will be a neat switch this year - the Mayor will open the day with a three minute tied to the opening speech. The performers will perform for 45 minutes. Every 15 minutes two councilmember's will be requested to help raffle off prizes (if they aren't there they're in trouble). The finances for the acts are approved by Ms. Toscano, the sound is already together. Dealing with traffic will be different this year with stickers for everyone's car so they know when they offload they will park somewhere else. There are maps stating where vendors, medical assistance, musicians will be, etc. There is a lot of safe, open space for children to play, lots of room for blankets and lawn chairs. The event will be organized and will end with the Mayor doing the last raffle making closing comments right at 5:00 p.m. Mr. DiMatteo and Ms. Toscana's goal is to get at least 2,000 people there. The Mayor said since Mr. DiMatteo comments were germane to the motion he asked if Mr. DiMatteo also supported the appointment of Tina Davis to the Recreation Board for Ward 1. Mr. DiMatteo said yes and he thought he'd volunteer to be the Ward 2 appointment since one was needed.
The date of the event is October 5, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Riversdale Mansion.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
CM Hart made the motion to appoint JD DiMatteo to the Recreation Board as the primary representative for Ward 2. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. CM C. Davis said she didn't know if it was germane but she had questions about the music. The Mayor said it was not.
CM C. Davis asked Mr. DiMatteo (who'd come up to the microphone) to run down the musical acts to see where there were holes. Mr. DiMatteo said they have Alicia Deeney, a Spanish artist originally from Puerto Rico who does songs in Spanish and English, Leah, a young woman from the greater DC area who performs modern, urban, folk, and blues. A group attracting the younger population called The Dopamine Project who has cut a new CD (all acts have). We have a great blues group, Open Door Policy, who should be made honorary residents of Riverdale, JR Robusto and Waverly. Our very own 3 Till Midnight will also perform. Five acts, five time slots, there are no openings whatsoever.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Request for Six Foot Privacy Fence at 5301 Powhattan Rd (Ward 6)
Owner: Daniel and Beverly Soles
CM W. Davis made the motion to approve the permit for Daniel Soles and Beverly Turner for a six foot privacy fence at 5301 Powhattan Rd around their property. It meets the town code coming to the rear of the building line with the finished side out. The motion was seconded by CM Feldberg.
There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Request for Six Foot Privacy Fence at 4909 Riverdale Rd (Ward 3)
Owner: Sofia Duarte
CM Tiberio said there is an existing six foot fence that's probably been there about 30 years, it's in bad shape and they want to replace it so he moves for approval of the fence. CM Hart seconded the motion. CM C. Davis asked if the entire fence is coming down or just part of it. CM Feldberg asked if the current fence is behind the building line. CM Tiberio said yes, it's in accordance with the code made the motion to approve the six foot privacy fence at 4909 Riverdale Rd.
There was no other council discussion or public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Request for 2.8% Lot Coverage Variance at 5603 Silk Tree Drive (Ward 2)
Owner: Christopher and Karen Henry
CM Hart said he just spoke with the President of the Madison Hills Homeowners Association, Larry Tyce, who explained the procedure for this is for the Henry's to submit an application to the homeowners association first, then the variance can be discussed. The Mayor said from a town governance standpoint, they may be in violation of the homeowners agreement, which is something the Association will have to take up with the homeowners but it is up to CM Hart as a councilmember for the ward he can decline to bring it up as this time until after that has occurred but it is up to CM Hart as to whether or not he opts for that procedure. CM Hart said he has not been in touch with them and preferred to defer the matter until another meeting. The Mayor said there has not been a motion so there's nothing to table and they'll put this back for council discussion at the next worksession and will wait for his advice on how to proceed and hopefully Mr. Tyce can give input before that. CM C. Davis said the problem she saw was that there was a hearing date for this Wednesday, August 7th at 6:00 p.m.
Larry Tyce, 5613 Silk Tree Dr, President of the Madison Hills HO Association said this was the first time he'd heard that the Henry's were interested in an easement right of way from the Madison Hills membership. Article 3, page 4 of the by-laws states that a board, on behalf of an association may, by majority vote, grant easement, right of way, license, lease or other similar interest in excess of one year to any resident who is looking for easement. Mr. Tyce said the property in question behind their house belongs to the association so in the past they would have had to submit an application to the board who would vote to allow them to use the property for a deck or to exceed what their property values are. The Mayor said the proposal that came in was for a lot coverage variance of 2.8% and explained that a variance for lot coverage, under PG zoning law states a property cannot have more than 30% of the total square area of the property covered by any structure including homes, garages, or any permanent pavement such as driveway. The Henry's proposal is to go 2.8% over the 30% lot coverage. There's no indication that this is going to impact or need an easement for common area (if it did Mr. Tyce would have absolute legal right to stop them and sue them if they wanted to do that because they can't take your property without prior consent). The Mayor said the lot coverage request is different than an easement request and he wasn't sure if under the by-laws of the HO Association if this would come under that. He asked Mr. Tyce if he'd seen a copy of the proposal and Mr. Tyce had not. The Mayor suggested that the council defer consideration of this for a few minutes while Mr. Tyce reviewed the proposed application and the council would return to the matter later in the meeting. The Mayor said they would skip to item 16. The remainder of the discussion after the council returned to the matter is as follows.
CM Hart moved that the council approve this contingent upon the Henry's go through the homeowners association, submitting an application or letter to them and have them approve it as well. CM Hart said he understood the process was to go through the homeowners association first, otherwise why do you have a homeowners association.
The Mayor asked if we approve it, are we approving it subject to approval of the homeowners association. CM C. Davis said she didn't believe the council could do that. The hearing is on Wednesday. If the homeowners association says no they don't carry the same weight as the town. Several councilmember's made off mic comments. The Mayor suggested an approach and asked CM Hart if he wanted to adopt it and abandon the original motion and adopt that as an alternative. CM Hart agreed saying it would make it clearer.
CM Hart made the motion that the town send a letter requesting that the Board of Zoning appeals defer action on August 7th regarding the lot coverage variance request for the 5603 Silk Tree Drive (Ward 2) property until after the homeowners have had the opportunity to comply with the application process of the Madison Hills Homeowners Association. Further, if the Board of Zoning Appeals does take action on August 7th and not defer, based on the failure of the procedures not followed to this point, the town would have to take a position of opposition at this stage. CM Feldberg seconded the motion.
CM C. Davis said this was a good compromise. CM Tiberio said hypothetically they'd normally approve this and asked where they'd stand if the homeowners association says no. The Mayor said it creates an interesting situation and he wasn't in the position to advise legally but if they attempt to advance something when they've violated the by-laws of the homeowners association an injunction can be used to enjoin the town of Riverdale Park from taking action to do anything with regard to this or the board of zoning because administrative procedures haven't been followed. That would be the appropriate civil remedy if they disapprove of the variance request. He noted he was doing this off the top of his head without law books. CM Tiberio said it was just a logical question considering they normally approve such minor variances. He said he supported the motion asking the BZA to defer it.
CM W. Davis believed what they were doing was in line with what the zoning board usually does when they receive these applications or permits. They poll the closest property owner and since the citizens association is involved in this and it's their property he didn't see any problem with this.
Larry Tyce said the Henry's are a member of the Madison Hills membership and have lived here for more than four and a half years and know what the by-laws state and what the rules are. An application should have been submitted but wasn't. It's not fair to the rest of the membership who participate on a regular basis for this to be bypassed by the association. Mr. Tyce believed the association and it's members should be notified as everyone else has to do and usually they're approved. When one member decides to bypass our association and leadership then it opens up a can of worms and the water starts to spill over. He didn't believe it was a good situation for the Madison Hills Citizens Association not to have this postponed without them notifying us the way they're supposed to. They know the rules and how things are to be done and thinks they're doing this to side step the association.
The Mayor asked Mr. Tyce to be sure the town has an updated copy of the bylaws of the homeowners association because he can anticipate another situation where this situation arises in the future.
For the purpose of the vote the Mayor restated the motion that the Town of Riverdale Park to defer action on August 7th on the lot coverage variance for the property until after the homeowner has had an opportunity to comply with the application process to the Madison Hills Homeowners Association. Further, that if the Board of Zoning Appeals does take action on August 7th and does not defer, based on the failure of the procedures that have not been filed up to this point, the Town would have to take the position of opposition at this stage.
The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor instructed Mr. Prangley to fax the letter to BZA tomorrow. CM Tiberio pointed out to Mr. Tyce how the application was filled out indicating that the homeowners may have thought they didn't need the homeowners association approval since they are now in the Town of Riverdale Park. CM Tiberio said the homeowners association should notify all their residents and that new residents may think they don't need to come to the homeowners association since they are a part of Riverdale Park. The Mayor said it was obvious that the association was not notified because of the way the application was completed. CM Tiberio said they did give it to the adjacent property owners. Mr. Tyce made comments off mic but not all were clear.
Request for Street Closure for Block Party on August 17, 2002 for 5300 Block Powhattan Rd (Ward 6)
CM W. Davis made the motion to grant the permit for a street closing for August 17th from noon until 3:00 p.m. for a block party. CM C. Davis seconded the motion. CM Feldberg asked if this was CM W. Davis' block and he said it was one block down which will minimize the needed street closings. The Mayor asked if noon - 3:00 p.m. was sufficient for set-up and breakdown or if more of a window of time was needed at either end. CM W. Davis said that's all that was asked for and that his name was listed without his knowledge and that he's supporting it.
There was no council discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Resolution of Support for ATHA Heritage Carnival
The Mayor said they should hear from Ms. Parker on security issues before a resolution. He asked Ms. Parker to be as brief as possible and focus on the issues since they know what the Heritage Carnival is about.
Ms. Parker said there were two issues addressed on her last visit that she'd like to give information about. The parade route will be confined to Paint Branch Pkwy, east of Route 1 and ending at Kenilworth. There were two issues she wanted to address, one, she was passing forward was a letter from Fred Thomas, Public Safety Director, and she read aloud: “Pursuant to your request, the PG County Government is looking forward to the Heritage Carnival which will be held on September 28, 2002. To ensure the safety of our citizens which will be attending this event, the police dept will provide their support through traffic management and the fire EMS dept through their emergency medical services. The contact individual names given were Mayor Roberto Hilton, Mayor Cornelius Jackson, and Mrs. Pat Isaac, Director of Community Affairs in the Office of the County Executive. The letter said they will be there to assist us in our planning efforts and the letter is signed by Fred Thomas. They will be asking for a meeting with all of the individuals indicated in the letter including a meeting with the Chief here.
The second item addressed trash removal. Ms. Parker said they will not be requesting DPWT to remove trash but have a selected vendor for during the event. There is a proposal from Bates Trash removal, during the course of the event there will be dumpsters set up and there will be volunteers who will assist in placing trash and keeping the receptacles free of trash so they will be bagging and taking to the dumpsters. There is also the issue of what happens after the event, because if you have a number of people in one space such as what happens on the mall or even in any other event, there's always trash left. ATHA is looking at, and has made a request of another town to supply their commercial trash sweeper for that day (Sunday following the event), and also have made a request to community services of corrections to assist ATHA and provide volunteers that are not part of the penal system but are having to fulfill community services for that system. She said of course they would be a part of the penal system but only the community services part. Those are the options they're looking at to provide a clean appearance to the road when they're finished. Ms. Parker asked if there are other issues.
The Mayor said one of the issues that came up previously was in the event that any security inside the village. He said first of all, the August 5th letter from Fred Thomas, he understood they had a commitment of a minimum number of police officers for traffic control, and said he was looking feverishly through the letter and said he didn't see it in there. Ms. Parker said that for the record, in meetings they have talked about at least 12 officers to maintain the parade. They have not indicated the amount of officers they will use for traffic management and she believes they want to get into the meetings with Major Hilton and the other parties with Chief Evans. The county has said they will address the policing issues that are external to the village. Those matters that are inside the village will require this event to provide those services. ATHA sees inside the village that there could be as many as 100 officers required, maybe less. They will require the assistance of an experienced police individual to assist them and to prepare and coordinate the plan. The Mayor said assuming that hypothetically, the Town and Chief Evans were to take on that responsibility should that be the desire of this body, is ATHA prepared to enter into contracts with neighboring municipal agencies to pay the police services as opposed to the Town contracting them. Ms. Parker said she polled ATHA board members today and they did not have a problem in doing that but they did want to meet as the executive and planning committee to determine more carefully what portion of the income would be designated to pay for those services. They Mayor said he didn't understand. Ms. Parker said that yes, through the event, ATHA would be paying for the services of the police officers. The Mayor asked if hypothetically, it rained and they don't have all the advanced ticket sales and it turns out to be a bust but we've contracted law enforcement agencies for security someone's going to be on the tab for that. He asked what we'd do. Ms. Parker said that certainly some line items would need to be paid for before the event takes place and certainly security would be one of those (just as deposits for performances would be). The Mayor said in preliminary estimates the cost for security would run $30,000 to $40,000 and asked if ATHA is prepared to expense that much money in advance of the event to ensure adequate security? Ms. Parker said the cap figure was about $32,000 and that's the figure they're working on. CM Tiberio confirmed that was for security and the Mayor said the budget for the event is about $600,000 plus. CM Tiberio said he was confused and asked where the 100 police officers were coming from. Ms. Parker said she wasn't saying 100 officers were needed but that they need to get into the plan for policing before the number of officers is determined. The Mayor asked the Chief if he had an estimate of the security detail needed based on the possible number of attendees in the ABC village.
The Chief said they don't have hard numbers but that an officer would cost between $40 and $50 an hour (time and a half rate plus benefits) so if they use 50 officers that would be $2,500 an hour. If using 100 officers that's $5,000 for a 14 hour event which could run upwards of $90,000 for security if you needed 100 officers but Chief Evans but said he's of the opinion that that's not necessary. Acquiring the necessary resources beyond 50 people will be very difficult. If the event requires more than 50 officers it may not be doable from a municipal standpoint. The Chief said he's done preliminary contacts with municipal departments and they're very concerned who they send the bill to. If the Chief implements mutual aid they will provide the necessary resources but they want to know who's paying.
The Mayor asked hypothetically if ATHA made an advance payment into an escrow that the town controls to pay out to police agencies sufficient resources, would that satisfy financial concerns of other municipalities? The Chief said it would.
The Mayor said at a meeting he attended the ATHA board the proposal adopted of the $5 entrance fee into the ABC village, $1 would be committed to the Town of Riverdale Park. Ms. Parker said that is something she would have to take back tot he ATHA board for clarity b/c that wasn't in their records when she checked. The Mayor said that was his understanding and he was present at the meeting and voted on that resolution. Ms. Parker said she understood but when she emailed the members there were members who were not sure that was passed and they want the opportunity for that to go back before the board. The Mayor said as much as he was eager to work with her and for the town to, Ms. Parker was not prepared to answer questions tonight, nor does she have negotiating authority which may be a necessary step before the town embraces this project from a security standpoint and wondered how they were supposed to get past this logjam. Ms. Parker said she was asked to come tonight to make the report and she did. They have a letter from the county executive's office, prepared pursuant to questions about public safety, and they've taken a look at the budget. She'd like for the executive committee to decide exactly what line item income they want to use to be sure they have the escrow account ready and available to pay for the police. The Mayor asked if anyone else had questions and of how the council wished to proceed. He said they need to address security issues and whether the town was going to actively support this program and deal with the security concerns.
CM W. Davis said it wasn't clear to him from the letter. Is the county police going to provide, or does it indicate that they might provide all the security? The Mayor said they won't, the indication from them (“a dubious position they take”) but say they will not provide security b/c it's a paid event but will provide security outside of the paid area. Chief Evans said this is clearly a county responsibility saying he's spent 26 [omega] years with the county (14 years in special operations division) and this is what they do. The county police man every fair, festival, event that has a significant crowd, will be manned and security will be provided by the police unless it's in a park in which the park police will take the lead but the county will also be involved. The claim that they aren't going to be involved because a fee is involved they aren't going to provide security is bogus. They provided security at the Capital Center as long as it was open - fees were charged, they provide security at Jack Kent Cooke stadium which isn't free. Every single event in PG County they provide security for and they're shirking g their responsibility. The fact that they've placed it on the district commander to man this means they're going to get away with as little resources as they can b/c he doesn't have any. The Chief said he knows that b/c he used to do that job. He will do whatever the council asks him to do but if they get over 50 or 60 individuals needed he doesn't know where the resources will come from.
CM Tiberio said they've been going through this since May or June and it's always more and more questions to be answered and they don't get answers. They've heard about security from day one and the county executive was going to do so much but the letter we wanted never came. On August 5th a letter comes from the public safety director that really says nothing other than that there will be officers on the parade route, traffic control. He said he wasn't prepared to go anywhere with this at this time and there are still answers we need. Until they come forward completely, the financial matter is very important and we can't afford to pay out police department whatever amount the chief deems he can volunteer regarding the rest of the town needing police protection at the same time and he believed it was the same for other municipalities. It seems clear they're all looking for remuneration of some kind and are not going to put officers......and said he was not prepared to take action of any kind or to make a motion in any way, shape, or form.
CM C. Davis said if they were having this level of conversation for an event that was going to be held in 2003 she'd have more of a comfort level than they do now. Everyone really wants this to succeed, for ATHA to get good publicity from this and for PG County (especially the northern part) to be thought of as a destination for fun. There are so many unanswered questions and she doesn't feel comfortable inviting all those people to Riverdale Park and then being a bad host.
CM Feldberg said she didn't feel the same way and thought that Ms. Parker answered a lot of their questions and they've come a long way. If the town would support Ms. Parker in her efforts and if the chief would put some time in assisting you a lot more of her items would be finished up. She said she was totally in support of the project. The Mayor asked if she wanted to make a motion. CM Feldberg said so far she's the only one who has suggested support. She'd like to hear from everyone and would make a motion if there would be support on the council.
CM W. Davis said he believed everyone would like to support this but doesn't feel like we want to receive a bill from local police agencies that we couldn't handle. We're the ones who would be guaranteeing the money. CM Feldberg said the county isn't contributing what they should and if the Chief was more actively participating then that might change. The Chief said he has no control over the PG county police department and questions who is in control of it. He can't commit their resources and wouldn't presume to do so. It's the job of the council to go to the elected body of the county and demand the service they're responsible for. They provide security at every major event in the county regardless of where it's held (even at Andrews AFB and that's federal property). The chief has no responsibility to provide the services that the county police are to provide. His responsibility is to the town and will do whatever the Mayor and Council asks him to do, it'll be done well, professionally and by your people. The Chief believed he had an obligation to say that they were going out on a limb for a very expensive proposition, not because he's reluctant to do this - they've done everything they've been asked to do since he became chief of police.
Ms. Parker said to pay for the cost of the police services they can do so through vendor income and a participation in beverage sales. The discussion by board members she'd heard from today was that they felt the participation in beverage sales was more tentative and they preferred to have something that was not looking at day of the event. If we look to the vendor sales there will be enough income in ahead to set up an escrow account. They didn't expect officers to come out with no way to pay for them but Ms. Parker said what you do need in the interim was to develop the plan and figure out the number of officers necessary to implement that. You then go out and buy the services you need to buy, some of those services can come in as an in-kind. ATHA has checked a number of police agencies that would be willing to do that but first you have to develop the plan and then you figure out the number of police and how you buy them.
The Mayor said there were several options. The town could put it's head in the sand but believed that was the worst option of all because potentially something could happen that may turn into a very difficult situation for the community. Up to this point the town has allowed ATHA to be the negotiating party with the county (and to a limited extent they've made a commitment) but we can try to use the political where with all of this body to free up additional resources. The Mayor told Ms. Parker he was not sure the town would be more successful with the county since the ATHA board comes with the force and affect of 14 other municipalities that are member organizations. A third option (extensive and complicated) is to pass a conditional resolution saying it's conditioned on ATHA providing or agreeing to the following information...that the town of Riverdale Park will head the security detail for the ABC village which would involve a $40,000 escrow that can be drawn down from as an advance deposit that the town will use to pay for security personnel from neighboring municipalities under a mutual aid agreement; additionally ATHA will provide $1 out of it's $5 admission fee for the ABC village to allow the town of Riverdale Park to compensate itself for it's administrative cost and the police officers that we would be assigning to it; that we would get an advance and an absolute commitment from the county on the number of officers and their security detail for the parade route and any other types of things people see fit. The Mayor said that might be one approach we might take at this point but we seem to keep going around in circles. Theoretically the ball keeps getting advanced but we aren't advancing the ball very far. ATHA is moving forward with their vendors but the one area we keep asking about keeps getting stuck. He said there might be additional approaches.
CM Tiberio asked the Mayor of College Park if his City had taken a position one way or another. Mayor Brayman said after consideration and repeated requests for specifics in details as to the logistics, the College Park Council took a unanimous vote to ask that the event be delayed until 2003 so that sufficient time could be put forth to garner the commitments whether they be from county or municipalities in order to see that there is a successful event and that the theme behind the event could be championed in a good light and that everyone would have a good time.
The Mayor asked the pleasure of the council. CM Tiberio didn't think the tabling motion was in order because that would only bring it up again next month. CM C. Davis thought it had been tabled three times. The Mayor said there is no motion and there was nothing to table but did someone want to make a motion. He asked what was the council's pleasure in light of the fact that we may have thousands of people coming into an incorporated area but on a public right of way not controlled by the municipality but within the corporate limits assuming the council takes no position at any point in time.
CM Tiberio said he didn't believe they could take action at this time. They're still lacking too much information and suggested they go along with the College Park policy that the event be put off until next year. If that can't be done, his motion would be that we do not participate in this event this year based on the unknown commitments not being made to us financially or otherwise and defer taking any position to assist this year. The Mayor said they don't have a motion but CM Tiberio said his motion was not to take any action this year. CM Tiberio restated his motion that the Town of Riverdale Park does not participate in the Heritage Carnival this year. CM W. Davis seconded the motion for discussion.
CM Tiberio said they've heard attendance figures for this event from 17,000 to 50,000 and no one can even give a figure of what they really believe will be in attendance. We've heard there would be 100 some police officers needed but today, well maybe it's 50 police officers. CM Tiberio said he's not faulting the planning and believed that the committee has broken it's back to try to bring this forward but there are just so many unanswered questions. He thinks more time should be given to the operation and for that reason he makes the motion that the event be delayed and we not participate in it this year and thinks they need a whole year to plan it. They need a new administration in Upper Marlboro to back it including the County Executive down. He's been vague for six months.
CM C. Davis said she's not comfortable having another police chief do public safety in Riverdale Park and that attempts were made to ask another police chief to do that. The Mayor said that won't happen and there will be no authority for a police chief outside of our chief of police to be leading security of law enforcement personnel. CM C. Davis said she agreed with the College Park motion. She thought the carnival was a really good idea, it's not set up enough at this point to give us anything to hold onto. Her further concern is if we allow this to happen and don't participate and something happens, we're still the deep pockets, the government that people will sue and if we don't take part in it that's going to be a problem. The Mayor tried to clarify her point asking if she was suggesting if it happens and we don't participate and something happens then we're sued because we weren't participating?.... CM C. Davis said there are just so many questions - like that - if it occurs in our municipality and we elect not to give resources toward it and something happens and we get sued where does that leave us legally? CM W. Davis asked if we had a gun to our heads? The Mayor said it's an interesting question but doesn't know the position of the council, has heard the position of no support on it. A section of the parade route is in College Park - if the theoretical situation CM C. Davis brought up happens, theoretically they're on the hook but said he doesn't know how the liability works there. CM Tiberio said it's county road though. CM C. Davis said in a lawsuit everyone gets named and the government is the deep pockets even if eventually it's found they aren't at fault.
In regard to liability issues, the chief said the county has already committed to be involved in the public safety arena. They can argue all they want to in court that they only meant to do traffic but they've committed resources to the event so they are in fact becoming part of the organization putting this on because they are providing services to it. If we are not going to take part (he clarified that he was not telling them what to do one way or another saying he would do whatever they asked) then someone needs to contact the office of law and tell them what they are trying to shirk which is clearly their responsibility because if there's an event, there's case law that says that a jurisdiction has the obligation to provide resources if they are knowledgeable that that event is going forward. That's the argument they always put forth when they were giving the services to the Capital Center and other venues that charged admission. The Mayor asked if this was the proverbial gun to the head? The Chief said he didn't think so, the town has committed to nothing. The Mayor said no but questioned what would happen if it does occur and we've committed to nothing and it occurs in our community. The Chief said the county is on the hook but they aren't providing the resources - when you're talking about deep pockets, PG County has deeper pockets than Riverdale Park.
The Mayor gave Ms. Parker the opportunity to respond. She asked to which element or to which comment. The Mayor said the motion on the floor was for the town of Riverdale Park not to participate in this event in this current year. Ms. Parker said ATHA is composed of 14 different municipalities and it is really important that all municipalities participate, and they hope, approve an initiative. This is an initiative in the ATHA work agenda that was approved over a year ago. They feel the town's questions of who's on the hook for traffic management (not just for the parade but for the streets and people trying to come to the event) that the county has addressed those. Certainly they've not told the town the number of officers because that is part of the planning for the entire event, both for safety within and outside of the village. ATHA hopes that the town of Riverdale Park as well as that the city of college park would continue to participate and to assist in the planning for this event so that they can get down to the specifics of the number of officers and where they come from. As far as payment for the officers, that's been discussed, but they feel that with the number of vendors they've gotten responses from, and from publicity and the corporate sponsors they feel the event should go forward this year.
Mary Paradiso, 5016 Sheridan St, thought the idea for the event was interesting but neighbors living near the park are concerned. There are already problems there with games and other smaller events. Even with the minimal number of attendees there will be problems with crowd control. More information was provided in the Gazette article this week on the event than from information at these meetings. Someone from the County said it was the Riverdale Park police departments responsibility to handle this even though they only have 18 officers. Easy to understand that other municipalities are interested but it's not in their back yard. Thinks the event should be postponed to a later date until all the details can be in place and people can be reassured that things will be handled in an orderly way.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, had questions, was confused.. When the topic first came up (last February) the venue was going to be the Riverside or Riverdale Community Park. Now has the impression that's no longer the venue. The Mayor said it will be held on River Rd with Heritage Village on the surface of River Rd - on the section that's in Riverdale Park. If that's the sight, has anyone talked to Riggs Bank which is a 24 hour operation? The parade was originally supposed to start on UM, work it's way down Paint Branch and make it's way down to River Rd then to the village. He's now hearing the parade will start on the east side of US 1 at Paint Branch and go down Paint Branch to Kenilworth Ave. Is it going to terminate at Kenilworth and Paint Branch or is it going down Kenilworth and back down River? Mayor asked Ms. Parker who said it terminates at Kenilworth. Mr. Kiernan referred to Macy's Day parade staging areas and said trying to understand disbursal area at Paint Branch and Kenilworth - will people be dumped onto o Kenilworth? That is in the Town of Riverdale under the towns control and so is that piece of Paint Branch. Mr. Kiernan said he's concerned about the origin and ending of the parade along with the location of the village being down on River Rd.
Doug McElrath, 4901 Ravenswood Rd, also Chairman of the Board of PG Heritage Inc. which has a member on the ATHA board, and is speaking out against the motion put before the body. He said there was no question that this is a complicated event and there are a lot of questions. Anyone who has tried to put together an event of this complexity knows that you're not going to be able to answer all the questions put to Ms. Parker in this setting. Mr. McElrath suggested a motion to authorize the Chief of Police and whatever sub group of the council they deemed appropriate to enter into negotiations with ATHA to answer some of these questions. He believed the process has been a little too passive. If this event is going to take place in this short an amount of time we need to get out of this kind of passive role and really get into more active negotiations so that you can answer some of these questions.
The Mayor said that though he shared some of Mr. McElrath's sentiments he took umbrage at the passivity of the town council. He didn't believe he's spent more time with any individual association over the last month trying to resolve some of these issues so to call his role passive would be a misnomer. The Mayor said he's been in communications with Ms. Parker, attended ATHA board meetings, and has constant consultation with his chief of police over this but is pulling his hair out of his head over this because he wants to do the right thing here. The passivity factor is not accurate. The town has offered the chief and a staff member to be in consultation to do each and every part of this to try to work out the details based on a representation that security was going to be provided by the county without exception and we were just waiting to find out how many officers there were going to be. Then, the bomb was dropped last week that they were going to provide up to 25 officers but not in the area we were most concerned about. That's the bomb that was dropped in our passive negotiations. The Mayor said he understood and supported the concept behind it but he took exception to the comment.
David Hyles, 4804 Sheridan St thought the College Park resolution is an excellent phrasing of a reasonable response to the issue. If it's a large event and there's lots of questions about how it's going to take off and you don't have much time before it takes place, seems like it would be a reasonable perspective to say it's not ready for show time and you should put it off until next year. If that's really the opinion of the council then so move at this time.
CM Tiberio said he also wanted to respond to Mr. McElrath. For many months they've tried to get answers to questions. They've asked questions of Ms. Parker and have heard the county executive's name and others. He said he didn't fault Ms. Parker but they never got the answers and still without certain answers. We haven't just sat back but have tried to get answers. College Park issued a letter with many questions and we tried to get answers to their letter and they're still waiting. Ms. Parker said they provided a document that addressed this. The Mayor said they did, a thick stack of information intended to respond to College Park's letter. It had other stuff in it, some notes from an ATHA meeting the Mayor attended to give an update on where we were. He said he did know that documents were provided. CM C. Davis asked the Mayor to restate the motion.
There was no further council discussion and no public comment.
Motion that the Heritage Carnival should be delayed and that the Town of Riverdale Park does not participate in the Heritage Carnival this year passed by a vote of 4 - 2. CM Feldberg and CM Hart opposed.
The Mayor told Ms. Parker that he hoped they will revisit this next year. He instructed the council to do some inward searching about what we intend to do vis a vis a large event coming on in our community in the next six weeks.
Recess until 10:20 p.m.
Council discussion returned to item 15 - 2.8% lot variance at 5603 Silk Tree Drive (discussion and action noted under item 15 on page 13)
Request for 24 Hour Operation of the Tiger Mart Exxon on a 90 Day Trial Basis
CM C. Davis made the motion to support 24 hour operation of the Exxon on the corner of Queensbury Rd and Route 1 on a 90 day trial period to begin August 6 and end on October 31, 2002 and to include that the second island closest to Riverdale Rd will be non-operational and the convenience store will be closed to patrons between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
CM C. Davis gave background of the 24 hour request. In 1988, at the time Chevron entered into an agreement with the town, they wanted to expand the station from what was a garage and gas pumps into a convenience store and gas pumps. At the time there was also a different owner. At that time in 1988 the town asked for, and received four different conditions for that expansion: that the Riverdale Rd entrance in closed and a fourteen foot landscape strip with grass and greenery be provided by the owner, which they did. The hours of operation for the station will not exceed 18 consecutive hours daily from the period of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., which is still the case. That all new lighting will be installed with shielding devices to minimize glare to adjacent residential properties, which is still the case. The top height of the canopy above the parking island must be retained at 17.75 with the hallmark industry standard of 14.6 clearance, which is the case.
Since 1988 this gas station has changed owners both in oil companies (Chevron to Exxon) and new owners. In 1988 the neighborhood was interested in protecting their quality of life and that has not changed today.
On July 20th, CM C. Davis sent out a letter to the residents of 44th Place across the highway but which see the lights of the gas station, residents of Queensbury Rd, Riverdale Rd, and Beale Circle. Fourteen responses were received: 6 were opposed, 5 were for it, and 2 had no opinion. Opposition had to do with quality of life issues concerning lighting and noise, the biggest concern was about crime. No one wanted anyone holding up the station, no one wanted employees of the station to be injured as a result, and no one wanted anyone who might commit crimes against the station running through their neighborhood to escape the watchful eyes of the Riverdale Park police department. She said one neighbor, Louise King of 5504 Queensbury Rd, who opposed the change summed it up well saying, “although I have mixed feelings about the Exxon at Queensbury and Route 1 becoming a 24 hour operation, on balance, I am opposed. Although I empathize with the struggle of the small business owner to increase revenue, the additional traffic and street noise that would be generated after 11:00 p.m. and before 5:00 a.m. makes me opposed to their proposal. To make staying open for longer hours an economic success, traffic during those hours must increase, with increased traffic comes increased noise particularly along Queensbury Rd and Beale Circle.” Mr. King lives close to the station.
CM C. Davis said a lot of what has been said deals with quality of life issues but the quality of life issues are supposed, which is why when there's such a close neighborhood desire she wanted to try something different and find out what would happen if they were opened for 24 hours for a 90 trial. She asked the neighborhood to keep a log of anytime they're inconvenienced by the change. CM C. Davis said she will wander up there around 4:00 a.m. to keep an eye on things. She suggested that they decide this once and for all and see if there was going to be a problem with 24 hours. If there isn't at the end of the 90 day period they'll extend it, if there is the request will be denied and they'll go back to 18 hour operation. CM C. Davis believes this is a good compromise considering the neighborhood was so close in their feelings on it and this does involve a small business owner who is trying very hard even there is a large gas company involved, it is on the owners to make this station profitable.
Mayor Herman thanked CM C. Davis for forging a middle ground position which he believed encompassed a lot of the concerns. Previously there was a commitment that in the event there was a temporary or permanent 24 hour operation, there were two islands, and the island that is up against the Riverdale Rd side residential properties could be turned off/lights off and the other island would be on. He noted that one of the residents that was concerned about it would be impacted the other way. That was a compromise in order to minimize the amount of nighttime lighting on the community. The Mayor asked if the owners, if they got approval for this, would they be willing to abide that by having one of the islands shut off in order to accomplish that. They answered from their seats. He asked CM C. Davis as the maker of the motion if she felt that was appropriate and she agreed. She clarified that the owners had agreed at the worksession that they indicated the convenience door would be closed and that they would do gas only to protect themselves. The Mayor confirmed that patrons could still purchase convenience items but only through the window.
The Mayor clarified that the maker of the motion is making an amendment to the motion to include that the second island closest to Riverdale Rd will non-operational, not illuminated, and the convenience store will not be operational between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. The maker of the motion and the seconder of the motion agreed and the mayor confirmed that the amendment has been adopted as part of the motion.
CM Hart asked if anyone would be in contact with the owners of the Exxon over the 90 day period to address reported problems and give them the opportunity to find a solution to see if this can work instead of coming at them in the end with reported problems. CM C. Davis said some of the problems they can't remedy are the increased traffic and noise. CM Hart said he understood those things but if there were problems with the lights or something else that and they could find a solution, it would be better to address it during than after the trial period
NAME (?), area manager for the company thanked CM C. Davis and the Mayor. He said during the trial period he would work with the neighbors and CM C. Davis to solve problems. He will work with the neighborhood and get together with them if there are any questions or problems and he will work to solve them.
The Mayor addressed CM Hart's comments saying they will work with the owners and alert them to concerns and asked the owners to notify the town if they had concerns as well. He agreed with CM Hart saying they don't want to talk to them at the end of the trial period with a list of problems. CM Hart said his ward isn't impacted but he will be voting on the issue so he was wondering how it would be handled.
The Mayor asked the Chief if logistically the council should have any concerns about the motion and he said no. CM C. Davis asked the Chief if they have any holes in their security. He agreed.
There was no further discussion and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously. The Mayor said they'd work with the owners and asked them to stay in close consultation with them.
Memorandum of Understanding Between Potomac Development Corporation
The Mayor announced that Joe Caputo and his partner, Sheldon Nasser were in attendance to present additional modifications. Handouts were provided to the mayor and council. Drawings were passed around to attendees.
Mr. Caputo said they've made a couple of modifications to the building to address CM Tiberio's concern with regard to the false facade second story windows. The architect placed a string of second story windows on the frontage of the building along EW Hwy and along Rt 1 to indicate the presence of a faux second story building. He thought that that along with the carriage lights were an integral part of making the building look like it had been there for a while. Eckerd also agreed to change the pill shaped backlit sign to an individual channel letters a little higher up in the eve to give the presence of more of a homey store rather than a chain store. They also played around with adding some cast stone elements to areas of the building - something in the arch above the Eckerd store lettering. They didn't think it looked great but are working with the architect. A couple of architectural components were put on either side of the arch to give it a little more balance. With the new signage it didn't look right but will leave it up to the town to decide how to proceed. A part of the MOU has a process whereby they can review changes as the process moves forward and if the town wants to make changes Eckerd will probably be amenable. Mr. Caputo said this probably gets them to about 99% of where the council wanted them to go.
The Mayor announced that before they moved on there was a MOU that had been reviewed by legal counsel and circulated and Potomac Development Corp. He asked for a motion to approve the memorandum of understanding to get the discussion going.
CM C. Davis mad the motion to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between Potomac Development Corp and the Town for the Construction of an Eckerd store. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
The Mayor suggested that it might be helpful to residents who were watching for there to be a recitation of the MOU instead of reading it in it's entirety. CM C. Davis said that she was more comfortable reading it in its entirety because of the great public interest in this and because there is a lot of stuff in it. The Mayor said there are a lot of legalese in it and being a six page document it will take about 20 minutes to read. CM Feldberg said she didn't agree with that. CM Tiberio said he had a concern and asked when they received the document. The Mayor said it was in draft form - CM Tiberio said in draft form at the worksession was much different than the document he was looking at. The Mayor said the draft form was presented by Potomac Development Corporation, the line he now had was after review by town counsel after the town attorney was given directives from the town council about the objectives they wanted after the worksession - he made modifications according to “your” directions. CM Tiberio said all he understood was a draft was given to them at the worksession and the attorney's would come back with another agreement worked about between them and Mr. Caputo. The Mayor said the town attorney was sitting at the worksession and we wanted to deal with the issue of making sure there was a covenant tied to the sale of any property at EW Hwy and Rt 1; that any agreement to be conditioned on a resolution of the shared parking arrangement; to make sure that there was some indication in there about the non sale or abandonment of the property that is owned and known as W. Beale Circle that would be utilized and leased on a long term basis to PD and, or the parties that are the adjacent property owners that have the businesses there, and to protect the towns interest in the process. The draft from the town attorney, which was after consultation and reviewing the initial MOU, he committed at the worksession that on Friday he would have a draft MOU based on the conversations that happened at the worksession and that's what is presented to them tonight. CM Feldberg said that's what she remembered happening also. CM Tiberio said that's what he remembered happening also but tonight was the first time he's seen the finished product that came out of that and does this document include everything plus anything else they'd thought of. The Mayor said CM C. Davis wanted to read the entire document because of the “intense public interest” in this, and then tease out if there are any provisions or discussion on any of the items in the MOU. CM C. Davis checked to be sure she had the right on.
CM C. Davis read aloud the entire six page document.
The Mayor summarized the document noting that it was complicated and involved a lot of parties, particularly in regard to the parking arrangement. What is embodied in the MOU is essentially as follows: That we agree to move forward with the development of that property for an Eckerd drugstore; that we agree to sell the property at the corner of EW Hwy and Rt 1 for $33,000 and that covers the cost of acquisition and the legal fees for acquisition two years ago; we're executing a property on the covenant before transfer that would require that things from the design continue - that the gateway landscape and signage will be constructed and paid for by Potomac Development Corporation; that we will also have as part of the executed covenant (which must happen before any transfer can occur) that that covenant will require the town's approval before there would be any modification or change to the intended use of the property for anything other than what it is currently proposed for; that we would give a long term lease of the areas known as W. Beale Circle to this parking arrangement for both specified and common parking for the various businesses that are located there and butting that parcel; that there will have to be a separate agreement that will be executed between Potomac Development, the Town, and the adjacent property owners for establishing a reasonable parking arrangement whereby none of the property owners will have less parking than they currently have and the expansion of the parking. He said lastly, which he hadn't included, Potomac Development Corp is required to make substantial compliance, and he said when they say substantial compliance they mean compliance with the design plan here and also with the proposed improvements to the park area known as Beale Circle Park. The document was prepared in consultation with the town attorney and reviewed for legal sufficiency with an eye toward protecting the interests of Riverdale Park.
CM Hart asked why did the town purchase that small piece of property on the corner of EW Hwy and Rt 1 for so much. What was the intent of purchasing that property? The Mayor said a couple of things happened. A woman by the name of Maryanna Judy had property worth $200 and was paid $30,000 for it so the Mayor said he guessed part of the intent was to enrich someone very substantially. More importantly, a prior council and a prior administration made the decision to do what they could to stop this development from occurring. A few months back, this council took a vote at a meeting in which they intended to advance the negotiations with an eye toward resolution saying certain things about the design plan were sufficient and that other things needed to happen before they would be able to move into an actual transfer of land and the potential construction of Eckerd. He said the purpose of the purchase, clearly, by a former administration, was to stop Eckerd, there's no question.
CM Hart asked if all the problems that someone had with Eckerd coming in had all been addressed so that they could actually sell the property and said he didn't know. The Mayor said the answer was that they had been through several gyrations and manipulations over the coarse of nine to ten months. He said this body, with the exclusion of two of the newly elected council members, the remainder of them had been involved in meetings and public hearings with Eckerd on probably a half dozen occasions since Potomac Development Corp had become the new developer as opposed to the prior entity, RAM Development Corp. He said they'd been advancing towards this in the event that the council feels this is advisable but this is how things had transpired over the coarse of discussions up to this point.
CM Hart said his opinion was that the new design was much better than what they had the last time. The Mayor said he echoed this sentiment. He told Mr. Caputo there was a lot of controversy surrounding this development and he knew there were people in attendance who were not interested in seeing the project move forward. He said as compared with the discussions they had with RAM Corp when they were interested in the project, though he didn't want to say it was “take it or leave it”, flexibility was extraordinarily limited. He said Mr. Caputo took what was the best negotiation the town received at the end of the fall off of those negotiations, then took up the ball and made improvements both in design and use issues and also expanding the discussion about how to deal with some of the adjacent property owners. The Mayor said he begged to differ with the sentiments shared by Dr. Calomeris in his letter earlier, and believed Mr. Caputo actually went out of his way. He acknowledged that Mr. Caputo was in this to make money, this is a business, but the fact is that they had made vast improvements with what was originally proposed and said he hoped that his colleagues on the council will also support this memorandum as well.
CM C. Davis was amazed at how well their architect knew what she was talking about as reflected in the architectural rendering. In talking about the mass, feel, decorative work and what was appropriate for Riverdale Park she was afraid she'd get a blank stare but the architect has been a joy to work with. If he wasn't able to always do what they'd asked he'd been able to come up with a compromise and sometimes a better solution. She said she had no idea they could alter the sign and is very grateful they don't have the pill anymore and was very grateful he was on their staff. Mr. Caputo said he is a preferred architect with Eckerd and understands the building, and it's his job to bridge the gap. She said when they asked for second story windows he didn't just drop them in but thought long and hard about where they should go so the building looks good and not a mish mash to solve architectural problems. It looks like a cohesive building. Mr. Caputo said the architect's business has a lot historical expertise and preservation and their offices are in a restored Victorian that they remodeled in Kensington. They do this with expertise and finesse and he's thankful the architect is involved.
CM Hart asked what happens if the nearby business owners decide they don't want to be a part of this parking lot deal according to the MOU and would they retain what they have. The Mayor said the hope and expectation is that this is the next advancement of the ball. This will allow for Eckerd to happen. What still needs to happen for us to make full benefit to the adjacent property owners is to have a multi party negotiation with six or seven parties around the table wherein they hope to get the final linchpin and be sure that no one is adversely impacted. To get to the sentiment of Dr. Calomeris' letter, the Mayor said if Dr. Calomeris ultimately decides that getting a new parking lot, new parking spaces and additional shared spaces is such a bad deal for him, then we'll be in a situation where his segment might continue to exist the way it currently looks which would not be an improvement for his property and hopefully we can work out all the logistics at the multi lateral negotiations on the parking arrangements. CM C. Davis believes Dr. Calomeris is an integral part of things because he is on the sidewalk side of Queensbury Rd. Mr. Caputo said he's optimistic because of two positive points. One, he thinks Mr. Caputo is a very likable guy and two, he's generally in support of Eckerd and his issue is really about monetary contributions and there are ways of settling that so he's relatively confident that he'll be a participant.
CM Tiberio said a few months ago the council voted subject to further negotiations and he said he made a statement that night, “subject to the improvements” because he would have just as soon turned around and said no to the whole project. Every condition that he asked for has been met with the latest rendering except a couple that couldn't be way up on top - this glass business. He thinks this gives the feeling of oldness to it and the architect has really tried. He spoke to many constituents in his ward and didn't reach one person who had any opposition to Eckerd in any way, shape or form. There were a couple who would have liked to have seen the buildings occupied by little businesses but when they understood the economics of the situation they were aware the buildings have to go down and something viable has to go up. He knows there's some negatives around town but there would be no matter what you put on that corner. CM Tiberio said he's totally in support of the project and that's how he'll vote. Mr. Caputo thanked him for his support.
CM C. Davis said one of the big concerns of people who live near that area is for the design for the sign and for the landscaping along EW Hwy. She said they haven't seen any of that yet and it is a really big concern (trees, flowers, etc) and asked when they expected to have that. Mr. Caputo said if they are successful in getting the vote they'll set the engineer loose and he has to do his part to take this to the next level. A very detailed landscape plan is part of the submission they need to make to PG County. Mr. Caputo said they'd be more than happy to share the progress of that with the council prior to submitting to the county and maybe incorporating some of your comments into the plan. There are review processes with the county but in general it's a process the council can participate in. If they can move forward it takes anywhere from 4 - 8 weeks to get the plans drawn up but there are certainly things they can see initially that will give ideas as to the character and mass. The Mayor said the MUTC has been meeting with CM C. Davis as a staunch advocate and proponent of the MUTC process and Mr. Caputo previously indicated at a meeting that you would be willing to take all of their landscape and streetscape design and incorporate to the extent that is feasible as they approve them. Mr. Caputo said he just has to get those details to the engineer, with the first blush of the plan he will be sure they're incorporated. CM C. Davis asked Mr. Caputo to work with CM Hart and CM Feldberg as they are experts in this field and understand budgeting as well.
CM Hart said someone brought to his attention that part of Beale Circle was annexed in the past and it was a grant given to the town and if we should happen to give that up or develop it we'll owe the county. Mr. Caputo said they're expanding the park and the Mayor said they may have received open space money for that but it won't be impacted because it will continue to be open space and it will be larger when they're done. CM C. Davis said if they work out the plan it will be according to the 1993 plan with the gazebo and everything.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd pointed out a typo in the MOU - misrepresentation of the designation of EW Hwy (should be MD 410 not US 410). The Mayor said they will change it to the extent it's changeable. He believed one of the lots probably doesn't have a street address and so there should be a better legal definition of those properties. In the MOU it refers to the MUTC design guidelines, in the reference material provided which Mr. Kiernan said he assumes will migrate into the guidelines, both the State of MD Dept of Planning model guidelines for infill development and another model from the City of Raleigh both specifically discuss the placement of dumpsters. The proposed placement of dumpsters will not fly. They say put them against the building, don't put them against the park, don't put them by a public walkway and that's exactly where the Eckerd plan puts them. The Mayor asked Mr. Caputo to respond to the dumpster design and if any modifications are appropriate. Mr. Caputo said they do have some flexibility in the placement of the dumpsters. Adjacent to the building is difficult because of loading, parking, and other aspects but they intend to fully screen the dumpsters and there are several other spots on the park that they can put them. They're also trying to address trash needs of the adjacent property owners as well. Mr. Kiernan responded off mic and Mr. Caputo said if as part of the plan review the county makes them move it, then they'll move it and do what they have to do in terms of county zoning requirements.
Mary Donaldson, 4906 Sheridan St, said approximately two years ago (and three councilmember's should recall), we passed a building ordinance requirement for new business construction which is rather restrictive (she said she couldn't recall it specifically but was looking for it today). Everyone voted to pass it concerning a certain percentage of materials had to be used and recycled and plans had to be submitted covering all these requirements before issues of permits would be made. She wondered if Mr. Caputo had been given a copy of the ordinance so they would adhere to the restrictions we passed. Ms. Donaldson acknowledged that sometimes we pass ordinances that aren't gone back and passed but this was an important one with very serious restrictions. She said she hadn't heard any mention of this. She also asked if details, plans, names of the companies/contractors that would do the work, and adherence to EPA standards and hazardous materials requirements for removal of the tanks and hazardous materials had been submitted yet and said she would like to know. The Mayor said they would alert Mr. Caputo if he had not already seen that section with regard to hazard abatement and they'll be sure they have advanced notification of all the parties involved of all of the hazard abatement. The Mayor Mr. Caputo is aware that he has a potentially environmental problem where the drycleaner is. Ms. Donaldson said/asked that it was not in the agreement. The Mayor said if it's an ordinance it doesn't make a difference. About recycling, the Mayor said his best recollection about that ordinance that was foisted when they were trying to prevent Eckerd from coming to town, there were options and outs for the town to have departures on that. He said he'd have to make reference to that but to the extent that anything is inconsistent with the ordinance they'll have to act accordingly. The Mayor asked Ms. Donaldson if she had a specific point that she wanted to make that says that adoption of the MOU was illegal. Ms. Donaldson said no, she wondering if Mr. Caputo had been given a copy of this ordinance so he could adhere to it when making his plans. Ms. Donaldson said she couldn't find hers and asked if she could acquire a copy of it. The Mayor asked her what she was requesting a copy of and Ms. Donaldson told him a copy of the ordinance that they'd passed. He told her he was sure the town staff could accommodate her during normal business hours. CM Tiberio said the new ordinance they were just issued has that complete ordinance in it and referred to Chapter 15 of the building code and it's very, very strict. He said Mr. Caputo needs to be given a copy immediately, telling Mr. Prangley, even tonight if it's necessary to take one out of the book and give it to him. Mr. Caputo said he had not seen that. CM Tiberio said it's a severe, strong ordinance regarding destruction and construction of buildings as Ms. Donaldson said.
JD DiMatteo, 4900 Somerset Rd said there were three issues he'd like to clear up. On the top of the northern side there seems to be a picket fence on one part of the roof that doesn't go with the design and wanted to know what that was for. On the area around the building, he had a question pertaining to the sidewalks as they'd been meeting with the historic preservation and the MD idea was to have the sidewalks being bricked 12 - 16 feet. He wanted to know if they would be willing to conform with that on the Route 1 side because of the continuity of the entire space of Riverdale along Rt 1 is going to be very important to keep the continuity and give old world feel. Finally, no one addressed what the sign would be made out of for the entirety of the building. He wanted to be sure it wasn't neon or brushed brass or anything like that. Mr. Caputo said it's a more attractive backlit channel letter. The Mayor said the street issue is addressed in the MUTC streetscape and landscape design for which compliance is required. Mr. Caputo said what looked like a picket fence is really an architectural element from the side, it's the angle of the pitch of an aluminum roof - a corrugated roof structure. Mr. DiMatteo verified that it wasn't a shiny material. Mr. Caputo said it won't turn green either.
Caesar Romero commended the improvements. He had a concern about parking if Dr. Calomeris decides not to go with it. Mr. Caputo said they have solutions. They will address it one way if the problem is monetary, or they can exclude him from the process and leave his property out since he only represents a small portion . It doesn't address the greater good but there is a comfortable level of agreement with the other property owners but he's relatively confident they can find a middle ground and he's confident they can do that.
Doug McElrath, 4901 Ravenswood Rd, said his comments were directed at the council rather than questions for the developer and he felt like Don Quixote tilting at windmills but felt what he had to say needed to be said in terms of being opposition to the entire development. He believed the proposal failed on three major grounds; sustainability, architecture and design, and it ignores a lot of visioning and planning that's been going on both locally and regionally.
Sustainability is a term that sounds good to a lot of people use but we don't always know what it means. Mr. McElrath said in his case as with others, the reason that they chose to invest in this town and to live here is because they were looking for an alternative to the typical monotonous banality of suburban development. They were looking for a feel of something different than what you can find in lots of places in this region, just look further up Route 1 to Beltsville or Laurel or go to other suburban strips. Rockville Pike is one of the most monstrous examples of this kind of development. The people who came to Riverdale were looking for something different and this development is in fact is bringing to Riverdale precisely the kind of development they were attempting to get away from. Essentially what we're being offered here is a signature construction, that means this building is not sustainable. It can only be used for this purpose as an Eckerd drugstore. If it ever ceased to be an Eckerd drugstore it would probably have to be demolished and something else put in it's place so that's certainly not a sustainable form of development. It's a bankrupt economic idea. The big box store is being rejected by communities all across the nation. Here we are being asked to take on a form of development that many other communities are finding don't contribute to quality of life that we're looking for. Many others have commented on the fact that this is over saturation. We don't need another drug store. Once again, it's not sustainable. As the result, we're likely to have another drugstore leave it's premises and have an empty store.
Mr. McElrath said he'd like to address the fact of jobs. One of the things that seems to have has made it such an attractive thing is that it would bring jobs. In fact most of what Eckerd is going to be offering are dead end minimum wage jobs, another form of unsustainability which is not what we want for this town.
Architecturally, despite all the attempts at improvement, you've essentially got a brick box. You can gussy it up by putting little peaks and windows on it but in no way does it reflect what we're trying to achieve in the architecture in this town. It lacks human scale. Essentially this is a building designed for cars to pull up to. If you think about what we're trying to achieve in Riverdale with human scale pedestrian type development, Mr. McElrath said he doesn't see it here. He said he has a hard time describing it as any style at all other than the Eckerd style. It does not conform to any sort of historic or classic modern look at all. It's a signature store designed to be an Eckerd, it will always look like an Eckerd and there's not much you can do about that.
Mr. McElrath said it's his turn to take a little umbrage. He thinks the whole process has ignored the enormous contributions of a number of citizens have made to visioning and planning for this town, many of whom are in this room. We're ignoring the whole concepts of mixed use main street type development, which is what so many here have expressed as their vision for the future of Riverdale. There are so many interesting things going on now with the Route 1 Arts District, the idea of America's main street and instead we're just trying to look like the run of the mill suburban big box sort of development. He said he questions why, with all of these developments with our neighbors further up Route 1 why we aren't participating with that and going with an easy solution.
Mr. McElrath said he's often asked where is Riverdale and he thinks it's tragic that in the near future he'll have to say it's that part of Route 1 where you see a Rite Aid, an Exxon, a McDonald's, and an Eckerd. That's what we're going to define Riverdale Park as in the future and he thinks we could do so much more than that. This was our opportunity to make a statement about what Riverdale Park stands for. We don't want to be just another insignificant point in the suburban sprawl where developers impose their vision on us. We're a town that takes pride in how we present ourselves to the thousands of people that pass through it daily. We want a development that really contributes to our quality of life and this was really our last opportunity to take this concept of a gateway to our town and do something to show that we are a distinctive, sustainable community. Mr. McElrath called on the council to reject this as a third rate development that quite frankly lumps Riverdale Park into the faceless monotony of a typical suburban strip. Mr. McElrath said he will not shop at Eckerd and will encourage his friends not to shop at Eckerd because of what he thinks it's doing to his vision of the town. He said he'd hoped that our political leaders would take more leadership and really push for something new and different, something that isn't just kind of the typical answer to development. He believed we really could do a lot better than this.
Mary Paradiso, 5016 Sheridan St, agreed with Mr. McElrath's comments. Thinks this round of the process has been pushed on the citizens and all this is happening very quickly. Appreciates the changes Eckerd made to accommodate what people asked for but there are still concerns. Ward 2 wasn't even represented until recently and votes were taken without those residents having a say. Expressed gratefulness for CM Hart's presence on behalf of Ward 2 residents regardless of how he votes on the issue.
The EW Hwy and Route 1 intersection is a nightmare as it is. Drivers often have to wait several light cycles to get through it when vehicles weren't entering and exiting off of it and the intersection is extremely hazardous to walk across. It's not a pedestrian friendly area and will be a problem. It may turn out to be a good thing but visually as Mr. McElrath said it is a box even though you try to gussy it up. Said is one of the goofy people who bought into a lot of what people have said over the years about what we could do. So much work has been put into the town center with long discussions about what we want to allow and not allow and here we are with another drug store. It is disappointing. Almost didn't come because it seems like a done deal but someone pointed out that it may be the last time citizens can voice their opinion about this. Thinks it is a done deal regardless of what the citizens think. Hopes it turns out to be a good thing somehow but agreed with Mr. McElrath it's not going to be what we want to represent us. People went to a lot of trouble to hire an assistant town administrator to work with redevelopment and work on the town center will be starting soon. Hates to think that when Town Center is completed businesses would be interested in coming to Riverdale Park that residents would have really supported and been united about but we had someone who threw money at a problem that was really ugly to us but we have the attitude that at least it looks better now. We'll have to see. Wished it were something that did go with the vision of the town that she's heard so many people talk about for so long but this isn't it.
Clare Janns, 4907 Ravenswood Rd, a resident of Riverdale Park for about four years. Thanked Doug McElrath for his prepared, very eloquent statement which reflects a lot of the opinion of the neighbors she spoke to in Ward 2. Recently had a meeting in Ward 2 at CM Hart's home and this was the opinion expressed by residents at that meeting. Appreciated the flexibility of the developer but thinks this is a short time investment but thinks it's a short term investment. Agrees with Doug that it's not sustainable. If we look at what's happening down in Hyattsville and Mt Rainier and they're making their vision happen. We have a vision that we would also like to make happen and this is not going to help us make that vision.
Alan Thompson, 4711 Sheridan St, said he didn't think he could speak as well as Doug did and thought he spoke very well to the issues at hand. When the meeting happened in February about whether the town should reenter negotiations with Potomac Development to produce this. Dr. Thompson said he was reluctant but told his CM at that point that opening negotiations was fine and hoped that they would make good progress on reaching the design goals that he had for any building that would take place of the historic buildings there. Frankly has been disappointed at the lack of progress towards achieving those goals. Had a very few hot ticket items that if it had happened he would have been quite happy. Was told by RAM Corporation that they were economically impossible and believes this has been echoed by Potomac Development Corp. They've said you simply can't have, or at least Eckerd will not put up with mixed use development and having a second floor with people actually working in it or living in it or using that space. Instead we have a second floor which is Disneyland. It's windows that look out, and that's greatly preferable to a gigantic empty brick wall but it's still not a living, breathing, useful space. Was disappointed by that. Also disappointed by all the talk of living up the MUTC guidelines that some of the major pieces of the guidelines which are not up for discussion. One is that the buildings fronting onto Route 1 have 60 % coverage of the spaces there, the coverage of this building is probably 30% from the plans he's seen. Disappointed his CM will vote against this but doesn't know that it will make a difference whether she does or not and hopes that assuming the project goes forward has questions about the process going forward from here.
Asked if the MOU specifies at what level the designs will be in accordance with MUTC? The Mayor said he thinks it talks about substantial compliance and asked CM C. Davis since she had the best copy available. CM C. Davis read that “all landscaping being designed and undertaken in a manner consistent with the most recent design guidelines promulgated by the Prince Georges for the proposed MUTC guidelines. Dr. Thompson pointed out that it's just the landscaping that's covered and the Mayor agreed. As he understood it, they will continue to work to come to some honest shared parking, however this could drag on for two or three years and asked if that was possible according to the MOU and then the parking could be essentially unchanged and that initially they try to get it, if they can't then they post a bond saying they will do so. A year after it's constructed then they can either extend the term to continue to try to work out the deal or forfeit the bond and asked if that was correct and the Mayor agreed. Dr. Thompson referred to a line he thought he'd heard read that stating they could conceivably make changes to the existing plans based on public feedback. The Mayor didn't recall but CM C. Davis agreed and Dr. Thompson noted there was some hope that we could do at least a little more facade work and asked if that was correct. The Mayor said he wasn't sure of the section since it's a six page document. CM C. Davis said it was correct. The Mayor said the window of opportunity exists. Dr. Thompson said there are a few more fairly minor changes that would make him somewhat happier with the plan
At the worksession there was a discussion that he didn't know the outcome of regarding people who walked through the park and suddenly came to Route 1 but who wanted to get to Route 1 without weaving through the cars. He asked if that plan was worked on. Mr. Caputo said the pedestrian access through the parking lot plan can be addressed in the site plan. It hasn't been addressed in the rendering but there are pavers and a definite attempt to get residents from E. Beale Circle to walk through the park on the pavers to traverse the parking lot instead of just walking across black asphalt, ways to make it more pedestrian friendly. Dr. Thompson said it would make him happier.
Dr. Thompson said an issue he read in the February meeting minutes that comes up over and over and did so again in tonight's discussion is the issue of what happens to the store should Eckerd decide to move out. He was interested in whether the town considered putting a penalty for having the store empty for more than a 3 or 5 year period of time. If the store is empty for more than 5 years could a penalty be placed on the developer. Dr. Thompson said he knows paying the mortgage on the short term is important but the building is been said to last 20 to 50 years and he doesn't want the residents of Riverdale Park to be staring at another empty unused building from the years 2030 to 2050. The Mayor said he understood and comments were well taken.
Simon Plogg, 4910 Ravenswood Rd, said he's been opposed to the Eckerd drugstore being built and like everyone else thinks it's probably a waste of his time to say anything. Sees a few councilmember's have already supported this. Based on past experience at the February Eckerd meeting when over 100 people attended and approximately 6 people spoke in favor of it, he found it appalling that the council voted to continue negotiations with Eckerd that night.
David Hiles, 4808 Sheridan Street, one of the things he thinks about in terms of the Eckerd position is where is it located both physically and commercially. It's located at a high traffic intersection and we're in a modern society where that's the reality. EW Hwy and Route 1 has a very high amount of traffic every day and that's part of our reality and will continue to be and there's nothing the town is going to do to substantially change the flow or nature of traffic coming through Route 1. It strikes him that that particular site is particularly well suited to high velocity, high frequency, small purchase retail. That's the reason why you look at intersections like this all the way along EW Hwy you see successful establishments of that nature - gas stations, fast food, small, fast retail, those are the businesses that are actually commercially successful to the extent that they are maintained and are a benefit, rather than a burden to their community. You also see things along EW Hwy that are undeveloped lots held for the future or you'll see residential sites in varying kinds of condition. Eckerd seems to be a good solution to this particular space in Riverdale. There's a lot of other retail space within the community that can be used for other kinds of retail and thinks it should be open for other niches in the market. He thinks this is actually something that will be a success for this location. When he moved to Riverdale he thought it was great that there was a pauper at that location but he'd been there for 30 or 40 years and the reality of the community had passed him by.
The other thing he sees as the issue at this particular site is the dry cleaner he used to go to is there as well. The kinds of pollution issues that are likely to be in place there really does limit the number of viable parties that can come in and develop that spot. He thinks he was probably one of the six people who spoke in favor of this in February. He believes the town and council has put a lot of time into looking at the issues and giving it a fair hearing and the community has been open to coming in and participating and working through the issues. At the end of the day he thinks this is a reasonable solution they're trying to work modern retail into the fabric of an old town that's in the middle of a high traffic site and you have to make some compromises. He believes the developer and council has worked hard to try to make that be.
JD DiMatteo, complimented Doug and Alan Thompson for their comments. Alan came up with something he wanted to put the dagger all the way in to the council. He charged the council with assuring anyplace in the town to not be empty for more than 30 days and he thinks it would be wise to put legislation in place to make landlords take care of buildings and hold them responsible to be sure we don't have a rat infested place in our town. Hated driving down to Route 1 and EW Hwy and going by it. It's dilapidated and in horrible condition. Doesn't feel proud of it as Doug alluded to. He said he doesn't know but is a compromising person and will give Eckerd a shake, knows they have good prices and they want to bring business in here. Thinks they're willing to compromise and modify and hopes he's not wrong about that. Charged the town council to assure that we don't let any of our buildings fall into disrepair again. Said he'd be watching especially in the area we'll be building. The Mayor told him to keep watching because we're a town on the move.
The Mayor addressed the residents in attendance. A number of people have come up and this proposal has evoked some very strong emotions. Wanted to say he shared a lot of the sentiments of people in terms of historic preservation and looking at some of the type of development they'd like to see in Riverdale Park. He bought a house that was built in the 1800's and believes very strongly in preservation when we can and when it's economically viable. He arrived at a sad conclusion about these properties, and thinks a conclusion that unfortunately a lot of other residents had come to as well. There's a reason those stores have been vacant and decaying for a number of years, because businesses could not survive at that location. He agrees with residents who stood up and said it's not pedestrian friendly and it's an abomination what it looks like. He agreed with someone who saw the first signs of graffiti and said that that was very troubling to the community. He agreed with a lot of the things said, though not necessarily with the ultimate solution. Thanked the residents even though doesn't agree with ultimate conclusion, who took the time out of their lives to offer their comments through the process that's gone on for several months. Thanked them. Looked at the design and procedures and what has been put into place tonight and the ball has been advanced substantially b/c of public comments that have been adopted by the council. Without your input perhaps we would not have gotten as good of a deal for the town as we could get. The fact remains that the town is broke. The town is broke and if we don't find economically viable ways to develop our commercial space the town is either going to be raising taxes on residents or we're going into bankruptcy. It's an either or proposition, a zero sum game, or you raise the economic value of your properties. We're doing our part. For those who may not agree with the positions some of the councilmember's take let us say we can still work together. We can agree to disagree. Those kind of wedges that have driven people in this community on some hot button issues have forged some very, very awkward friendships and embittered enemies over the coarse of time. He looks at each and every one and respects their opinion though he may not agree with everything that they say. He said let us not let that be the wedge that we cast between the two of us as we work for the community and for community improvement. Let us say we can move forward regardless of the outcome of tonight's vote.
The motion to support the memorandum of understanding passed 5 - 1. CM Hart opposed.
The Mayor asked Mr. Caputo to get a copy of the regulations that were set forth as soon as possible and we'll continue this discussion as the process moves forward.
Introduction of Ordinance Resolution Concerning Sale of Land Parcel at Intersection of Route 1 and EW Hwy
The Mayor said there's an ordinance resolution concerning the sale of the land parcel at the intersection of EW Hwy and Route 1. He asked CM C. Davis if she would make the introduction of the ordinance resolution since she was the maker of the original motion. She asked what original motion she offered, which motion they were talking about. He said it was resolution 2002-OR-_____which will be the next sequence number. He explained this is a resolution that needs to be adopted concerning the no need for continued public use or ownership of that parcel of land in association with the memorandum of understanding. CM C. Davis said she mentioned at the worksession that she had difficulty doing this until covenants were in place and they aren't. The Mayor said the covenants have to be executed by the MOU so the resolution is not an abrogation, in fact, the resolution speaks to covenants that will be running with the land that will be also doing the things that will be required by the MOU as well. On advice of the town attorney, if they do not adopt this ordinance resolution they can't sell the land. A failure to adopt the ordinance resolution will result in the MOU that we just adopted being moot. CM C. Davis said we can't sell the land without the covenants. They Mayor said this is what that says. The ordinance resolution says that provided that these other things are met then you can find that the public purpose of holding the land in perpetuity is no longer necessary. The Mayor asked if anyone wanted to offer the resolution.
CM Tiberio made the motion to introduce resolution #2002-OR-_____ It was noted that the next number in the sequence would be put into the record. The Mayor said the introduction of the ordinance resolution is only being offered tonight for it's first reading and will appear in the town crier in the next edition and will not come up for a vote at the earliest until the September legislative session. The Mayor said it has received it's first reading and will come up at the next legislative meeting.
The Mayor said they would skip agenda items 21 and 21a temporarily and will come back to them.
Proposal to Eliminate Council Work Session
CM Tiberio made the motion to eliminate council work session each month. CM W. Davis seconded the motion for purpose of discussion.
CM Tiberio explained that the reason he made the motion and brought it up is because of what happened tonight. Last week there was a worksession that lasted almost the same amount of time. We discussed all of these items in detail and some of the same people that were there then are still here. We get into the position that every item we discuss at the work session we discuss in detail all over again. Said if we're going to discuss them this long all because we keep harping on these things, illuminate them, broadcast them and talk about them over and over again. It's getting ridiculous and said he doesn't see the benefit of the worksession at all. If we're going to do the work in detail here at the regular council meeting then let's do it. CM Hart said the reason he thinks the work sessions should continue is because he has a social/meeting with Ward 2 residents that affords him the opportunity to discuss issues we'll be talking about during the legislative sessions with them so that he can come and vote no as he did tonight on something he wasn't sure he wanted to but he has to represent Ward 2 and that's why he prefers to keep it.
CM W. Davis said it's tempting as they sit here at 12:15 a.m. but this is a system that's worked for 26 years and though it's been difficult the last several months he thinks it would handicap him. The council is made up of two first term members (Feldberg and Almirez), and two who've only been on the council for 3 months, maybe at another time - in a few years or try it on a trial basis but he couldn't support it now.
CM Feldberg said she agrees with CM Tiberio that when something is reiterated in detail at the worksession it shouldn't be repeated again but should be stated much briefer. Thinks that some councilmember's feel that the town has to hear the whole story and that's why things get repeated for the second time. If that's the case then thinks the worksession should have another focus but thinks it's important to have work sessions. Doesn't think we should be repeating the same things. If what is said are things someone thinks should be heard by the whole town in a legislative session then it's not something that should be discussed at a worksession.
CM C. Davis said she wouldn't know what to do without a worksession where she knew for a week she had certain things to concentrate on and of what to look up on her own if information is missing. Thinks a lot of trouble they get into is because things are not fully discussed at worksessions because people don't want to so they end up repeating themselves here and then add information to it so this meeting gets longer. We spend a lot of time at worksessions talking about how we don't need to talk about stuff. That's an interesting view but in reality we're just feeling things out and finding positions on things. She said if there's an item she's just heard about like tonight when we pulled a piece of legislation off the agenda because no one had really seen it before. She said she doesn't feel comfortable voting on something she hasn't had time get familiar with unless it's an absolute emergency. Said she's not in favor of eliminating the worksessions. CM Feldberg said the problem is if the four new councilmember's spoke as much as the two old councilmember's and the mayor the meetings would go on until four o'clock in the morning. CM C. Davis said maybe they have to. CM Feldberg disagreed. CM C. Davis said she didn't want to be here for that length of time either. CM Feldberg said we need to learn to be briefer and then this whole discussion wouldn't even come up.
The Mayor said one of the discussions he raised months ago, and maybe it's needed now more than ever, and discussed it with CM Feldberg, about holding a one day retreat with the council to discuss procedures and policies and talk about how we can better manage meetings and governance in general. He believed this was bringing to bear the appropriateness of that idea. CM Feldberg said she didn't understand why the worksessions can't deal with a lot of that stuff. If we're going to go into so much detail at the legislative meetings, why not go over them briefly at the worksession and then discuss more procedural things. The Mayor said he'd be flexible to hear the perception of the council on that with regard to modification of what they intend to accomplish at the worksession. Getting back to the motion, or thrust of the motion is about whether or not to do away with the worksession at all.
CM Tiberio said the worksession last week had 10 items of business, this meetings agenda has over 30. The Mayor pointed out that the first 10 items are business items (pledge of allegiance, etc) the next three items were approval of meeting minutes and the correspondence summary where everyone wanted letters read, then we had a recreation board appointment which we've been clamoring for an extended period of time, the three/four matters after that were discussed at the worksession, the ATHA matter which took a long time was discussed at the worksession anticipating someone would be here tonight which they did, 24 hr operation of the Exxon was discussed and agreed to put on the agenda, MOU was discussed and put on the agenda, the resolution concerning the land parcel sale was discussed and needed to be introduced tonight, the multi- dwelling unit was pulled tonight, the bid effort for 48th and 49th was put on the agenda at the worksession, the engineering contract is new, the proposal to eliminate the worksession and the next one, to change the date of the worksession came up at the worksession and put on by agreement, the matter about public works vehicles that we'll be dealing with later which is as a result of things we learned over the coarse of the last week which at the worksession people wanted brought up tonight. There's actually nothing on the agenda that didn't come up from the worksession and said he begged to differ. CM Tiberio said there's still 22 items, forget it. CM Feldberg asked if Alan could make his comments now.
Alan Thompson pointed out to CM Tiberio that recently when he brought this up he said that recently there's been a lot of discussion at the worksession followed by the same discussion at the legislative session. Dr. Thompson said his experience he's had with this council over the last 5 or 6 years it's been true the entire time. It's not a recent thing at all and if you thought about it you'd find the same thing has been going on for 35 years.
CM Tiberio said he didn't understand Dr. Thompson's comments because he was too close to the microphone. Others filled him in.
The motion failed 4 - 1. CM Tiberio opposed. CM Almirez was no longer in attendance.
Proposal to Eliminate Council Work Session
CM Feldberg introduced the secondary motion explaining that that she thought if these two meetings were spread out.........first of all the legislative agenda would not be at the last minute - doesn't like getting at the last minute - likes to get it in advance.
CM Feldberg made the motion to change the worksession date from the last Monday of the month to the third Monday of the month and was seconded by CM W. Davis. CM Feldberg thinks that a lot of things come up throughout the month and thinks they should try to group them all in two meetings rather than having to always add meetings. If the two meetings were spread out more then you should be able to tack on things easier than when they're all close together. CM Tiberio said his concern is for dates of things that come between the date you set and the regular meeting that have to be acted upon, that need immediate action. CM Feldberg pointed out that now we have three weeks from the legislative meeting to the worksession where all kinds of things come up and we do end up having more meetings. It's easier if we only have two weeks to wait. She explained that it's her preference that all meetings are either at the worksession or the legislative session and they don't have other meetings tacked on or added. Thinks they'll be able to do it a little easier if these two meetings are spread apart.
CM W. Davis said recently there's been cause for a lot of these meetings with the budget and redistricting the last few months. As for the motion, he could support it on a trial basis but isn't sure he wants to go further than that.
Alan Thompson made a technical suggestion (as the person who lays out the town's web calendar) that it should be the next to the last Monday as opposed to the third since there are many months that have five Monday's in them. The Mayor said if they do the first and the third they know they're two weeks apart. CM Tiberio disagreed. The Mayor said you know for a fact that you won't have meetings on back to back weeks.
CM Feldberg said she was willing to make the motion on a temporary basis if everyone thought that was better. The Mayor asked if she was suggesting an alternative or amendment to the motion. CM Feldberg said the amendment would be that they try this for a three month period. The maker of the motion and the seconded found that to be a friendly amendment so the Mayor declared it adopted as the main motion which is to change the meeting for the worksession from the last Monday to the third Monday of the month and to do that for the next three months as a trial or experiment.
CM C. Davis asked for clarification of the months and the Mayor said it would be for August, September and October. CM C. Davis said this wouldn't work for her because of her job. She is here and has to be up early and will be stupid when she gets to work. Spends a lot of time at town hall coming directly from the office. Things are set up with her job there's an understanding so that the week between the worksession and the legislative session she belongs here/to the town and not to her office/job. This won't make it any easier for her and thinks she's been very accommodating of people's schedules and reluctance to meet even mentioning changing the meeting time even though it's inconvenient for her and others who get up early in the morning to start earlier and this just isn't going to work for her. CM Tiberio said in October you'll have a meeting on the seventh, which is the first Monday of the month and the next worksession will be the 14th which is the next week. The Mayor said it would be the 21st - under the motion the worksession would be two weeks (14 days) after the legislative session. CM Tiberio pointed out the 2nd and 16th in September and then the next meeting will be all the way to the 7th of October. The Mayor, CM Tiberio and CM Feldberg discussed dates with CM Tiberio noting there would be a long time between meetings.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, said there would be a problem with the September test date because of Yom Kippur. He said unless you go back to the old system 25 - 30 years ago where you had two legislative sessions a month and you set them up that way so you could take votes without having to worry about calling specials, then that would make sense from the standpoint of meeting deadlines and just drop the worksession and go to two broadcasted legislative sessions a month. Said he didn't know that it saved anything in terms of dates if you have to wait two to three weeks after you've talked about it. CM Tiberio said they did away with the second meeting at that time because there was nothing on the agenda - only 3 - 4 items at the second meeting so they got rid of the second meeting. The worksession was created when the business got bigger. He agreed there was something to be said for two meetings.
The Mayor restated the motion as changing from the last Monday to the third Monday for the next three months for the worksession. The Mayor called for division after the vote. The motion passed 3 - 2. CM Tiberio and CM C. Davis opposed. CM Almirez was no longer in attendance.
The Mayor asked CM Feldberg to write something for the Town Crier to be sure residents saw it (as opposed to just posting it) and so they know it was on an experimental basis.
The Mayor asked that the September work session for September be moved from September 16th to the 17th because of Yom Kippur as he and CM Feldberg are observant. The motion to extend the worksession to the 17th was made by CM W. Davis and seconded by CM Hart.
CM C. Davis believed she had a work conflict but didn't recall what it was. The motion passed 4 - 1. CM C. Davis opposed. CM Almirez no longer in attendance.
Bid Award for 48th and 49th Avenue Improvements (Ward 1 and Ward 2)
The Mayor asked Mr. Prangley for documentation on the bid opening noting it was a Ward 1 and Ward 2 matter. Mr. Prangley explained this is a follow up to the 48th and 49th Ave advertisement that went to the Dodge Reports/Blue Reports (?) that went to the whole DC area. There were two sealed reports from NZI and VMP. The projects were separated and you can see the tabulation showing the engineers estimate, NZI and VMP's sealed bid amounts. NZI was the low bidder at $157,841.50 for 48th and 49th Ave. The engineer has recommended NZI for the award.
CM Hart made the motion to accept the NZI bid for both 48th and 49th Ave and was seconded by CM Feldberg. The Mayor said it was very clear that some of the unit prices are much better than the initial engineer estimates and that is to our benefit. The Mayor said the motion is to give the bid contract for an amount not to exceed $157,841.50 The Mayor said they would be grateful to Mr. Prangley if he could get it any lower than that.
The motion passed unanimously.
44th Avenue Engineering Contract for 44th Ave (PY 28)
Mr. Prangley said this was the engineering contract discussed at the worksession for the PY 28 program. It was widely advertised and unfortunately only one sealed bid was received. Mr. Prangley said they had the bid opening today and the amount was for $12,450. Due to the fact that they did not receive two other bids he asked that the council extend the bid for a couple of weeks (the next session is the 19th) for two reasons. It's a federally funded project. HUD has not released the fund for this project and we're way ahead of schedule. Normally, they don't release the funds until September. If we make an award we may be premature on this. They normally like to get this done up front but they assured us this year it would be released in July but it hasn't been released officially yet. We moved on this because we wanted to get ahead of these projects. We're one of the few towns that are completely up to date on all the CDBG projects. The Mayor asked if Mr. Prangley's concern about there only being one bidder because of the cost or about the fact that we don't have the money in the bank to pay yet. Mr. Prangley said both. He explained that when you go back to them with only one bidder it's not in a good light and they like to have more than one bidder and we normally have three to four. The Mayor clarified that Mr. Prangley was proposing that the bid opening be extended rather than expensing more money to re-bid it. Mr. Prangley said we should go back to Dodge and Blue Reports if we re-bid it.
CM Tiberio asked if they could just have a motion to not accept the bid that we were presented and extend the bid opening for two weeks. CM C. Davis made the motion. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.
The motion passed unanimously. The Mayor said that will be deferred. Mr. Prangley suggested they post the next meeting (the 19th) as a special legislative if the intent is that they take legislative action at the next worksession. Mr. Prangley said it will be posted as a special legislative meeting but CM Tiberio said he already had scheduled a redistricting meeting for that night and that's not a short meeting. Mr. Prangley said this will be a very brief discussion. Councilmember's discussed the scheduling conflict. CM Tiberio said they'll change the redistricting meeting to the 23rd. The Mayor pointed out that they'll have a lot of people attending the redistricting meeting thinking they're attending a worksession. CM Tiberio said the TV information needed to be updated.
There was common consent to change the September worksession to Tuesday September 3rd because of Labor Day.
Items of Unfinished Business
Mr. Houser said they spent the last week looking into alternatives to the vehicles that were priced in the bid amounts. Unfortunately, after searching far and wide on the internet and other sources, they don't have a better price on a comparable vehicle. As alternatives, Mr. Prangley's been working the interest side and payments while he's been looking for alternative sources for money. Today PW received a bid on refurbishing the doors to the PW building, the bid was $9,500. The Mayor asked how much was left in the special assessment fund for PW building improvements. Mr. Prangley said that will save approximately $10,000. The Mayor said he was missing the point and asked if they did the bid of the new person to do completion on the doors were they then still $10,000 to the good, or if we don't do that work we'll be $10,000 to the good. Mr. Houser said they can have the doors refurbished and they'll have about $10,000 left. CM Tiberio asked how much was left in the bank now - unexpended. Mr. Prangley said $20,000. The Mayor said with that in mind, having approximately $10,000 built in savings, what is the recommendation in terms of how they handle this or cover the shortfall on the vehicles. Mr. Houser believed the money could be moved from the public works fund to pay for the vehicles. CM Feldberg wanted to know if that would cover the total shortfall. As Mr. Houser and Mr. Prangley discussed it CM Tiberio asked for the bid prices on the two leaf machines noting they were way under budget on some of these items. CM Feldberg said they were still short to buy all four pieces of equipment.
CM C. Davis wanted to know what happened asking if prices shot up. The Mayor explained that Mr. Houser gave them a bid estimate based on 2002 year models for vehicles and from the time of the proposed budget - the numbers were good when he gave them to them - they're now into the next model year and the company bumped their prices. CM C. Davis asked why they couldn't buy 2002 models still and the Mayor explained these vehicles can't be purchased off the lot, they were custom made vehicles “oners”. Mr. Houser said the bids they received were based on specifications they put out. The leafer prices were from the manufacturers and were $19,824. each and Mr. Prangley said the leafer budget was $44,000 and they're under $4,000. CM Feldberg asked how much they're over they are from the original with the current price of $1402,000. Mr. Houser said $10,804.75. The Mayor said CM Feldberg's question assumed for the sake of argument that they were able to transfer/reallocate the monies that were designated for the building that are no longer needed, into the vehicle equipment purchase. He asked if that cover the shortfall or would there be a need for additional resources? Mr. Houser and Mr. Prangley discussed it off mic. Mr. Prangley said the financing they were looking at initially was for $150,000 and secured financing at a 3.8% rate saving thousands of extra dollars. $4,000 was saved when the two leafer's came under budget at a little under $20,000. They had an initial budget of $40,000 for the light truck. The initial bid price was $52,000 and they got it down to $46,000 at Koons Ford so they saved an additional $5,000 on that one. Looking at both, they're in the hole for $2,000. The medium size truck had a budget of $57,000, the price came in at $67,000 so now were $12,000 in the hole and need to come up with that. The savings with this latest proposal that we talked about is $10,000 but the hit isn't all this year, it's spread over a four year term. We could manage under this years budget with the savings we have next door but it would require an action of the council since that levy was specifically for improvements in public works. Any balance left over you would have to go back with special action to approve it for that purpose but it would be in public works.
The Mayor said he's concerned and talked about only earmarking $2,500 for this year and then dealing with it in out years. They don't want to saddle the next council with a problem, or next year with a problem but thinks they should earmark the money now and if they want to take all of the money and reprogram it makes total sense. He said/asked if there weren't a residual of an excess of $10,000, closer to $11,000. The figure that's currently in the bank on that project, on the special assessment is an excess of $20,000 and PW got an estimate of $9,500 to do the doors so there's $10,500. There may be a shortfall of maybe $1,500 in an out year but we won't be saddling it for a long period of time. The Mayor asked if there was a recommendation to reprogram that money for that purpose.
CM Tiberio said this is a council decision and he took exception to this. He said first they put into a bid $20,000 worth of work to replace the doors because it was so necessary to replace the doors. CM Feldberg made the comment that they couldn't even do it for $20,000. CM Tiberio said it was in the contract to replace the doors for $20,000, and now it's “refurbishing” just because we need the money to purchase this equipment. He said the only reason it's being changed is to cover up for the shortfall. CM Feldberg disagreed. Mr. Houser said that wasn't true because there were additional costs to doing the doors. The architect did not figure that electrical would have to be moved so there were additional costs into doing the doors. PW was already looking into alternatives because there wasn't enough money. There wasn't enough money to move the electric. CM Tiberio said he asked this question before about reprogramming money that's been obtained by special taxes and eh was told it could not be diverted to any other function, any of these unspent funds for projects that we put a special levy on the taxpayers, if there was money left it couldn't be reprogrammed somewhere else. When he asked before about money left over somewhere else. CM Feldberg asked if he wanted to take money out of the budget to pay for the extra amount needed to put new doors in because they don't have enough. CM Tiberio said he saw the bids too and he was there when the architect was talking about the doors that day. He said if he remembers right the architect had a price less than $20,000. CM Tiberio said the architect told them the electrical/pipes/conduit up there had to be moved but the doors that were there, that were no good when it came time to go out and get a bid, and they were no good when it came to putting a special levy on the people, are suddenly good, all we have to do is fill in some cracks and do a few things. CM Tiberio said he's not so sure that reprogramming that money is needed. The Mayor said he's not sure there's actually a bar on doing this. CM Tiberio said the Mayor can have an opinion and he'll have his and he'll ask the CPA for the opinion. When you tell a taxpayer you're going to special levy them something to do something then you don't.....said he understood doing it with road projects but now we're going from a building project having taxed people accordingly then we say we aren't doing that we're doing this. The Mayor said it's a capital financing in the same department.
Mr. Prangley explained that the rate they got was not dependent on the $150,000 threshold. They said they'd honor it higher or lower and quoted this rate. From the bid opening on all the equipment it is imperative that we get that order in on the leaf machines. We're definitely $4k under budget on that. Mr. Houser is very comfortable with the light duty bid received and Koons can deliver on that ($45,999). We're still $5k above the budget but we have an offset there. That's another piece of equipment we need to order pretty quickly because that's going to pull the leaf machines, it'll be outfitted in the winter for snow removal operation and will have a tailgate mounted salt spreader.
Mr. Prangley suggested that Mr. Houser give background on the function of the medium truck that's $10k over and it's importance. He said they have to come out of this meeting with getting an order in pretty quickly. Mr. Houser said it will be difficult to get the trucks built now. The prices were good on those vehicles and GM who was the low bidder had recent high percentage increases in the cost of their vehicles. If he'd ordered in April, May or even June that $58k would have been good. Unfortunately they didn't go to bid till much later than that and there were substantial increases. That truck will have snow fighting capabilities and pulling the other leafer as well as being the CDL training vehicle. He spec'd them out to a fair minimum to do the work they needed to do. They don't have leather seats and CD players and other things, they're just for work. Unfortunately that's the price they are now. He couldn't even get Ford to bid on one, they're not even doing 2003's now, the next thing they're be building this fall is 2004's. They basically wouldn't even bid the truck.
The Mayor asked if there were any resources he saw in the PW budget as the result of this discussion that may be freed up, particularly with regard to capital expenditure. Mr. Houser said there wasn't much in capital. The budget was trimmed down pretty well in the budget process. Looking at it he's sure money will be turned in. He could give back some of his supply line item. The Mayor asked if Mr. Prangley had any opinion as to whether or not the reprogramming/reallocation of money from special assessments are acceptable when you come in under budget. Mr. Prangley's opinion was that the money was for a specific purpose in a specific department. Thinks if any further consideration, obviously, they've been under budget numerous times in the past, if there'd been any concerns about those leftover monies that've been recirculated in that department or things, they're approved to go into certain things but it has to be done by council action.
CM Feldberg said at the PW meeting it was discussed and they unanimously decided that we want these 4 vehicles purchased. CM Tiberio asked who made this decision at a public works committee meeting that made this decision to unanimously want to do anything. CM Feldberg said the members who were at that meeting. He asked who. She said herself, Matt, Gerry... he interrupted her to say only two councilmember's and only one of the public works committee. Mr. Prangley said that's why he brought up the authority of the council to levy that initially for that specific purpose. The only way to reconsider or reprogram money would have to come from council action because the town was involved in the levy for that specific purpose. He said with the leftover funds there should be further consideration as to what is the disposal of those funds. Logically it should go into the department where it was designated and that would be your pleasure how those funds are disposed of.
CM Feldberg wanted to clarify her impression that committee's make recommendations and of coarse the council still has to vote on it but that hopefully the council would seriously consider what the committee recommends or else why else have the committee? CM Tiberio said no one is not considering what she's saying. He said his whole thing is that we went out to a bid process, had an architect set up and we as a council approved the contract to do certain work in that building that's not going to be done now because we need the money to buy a truck because we have an over cost. CM Feldberg said that's not the case, and anyway. CM Tiberio interrupted to ask why we don't do the work that's specified in that contract. What's the sense in putting out contracts? We could have just as well never mentioned the doors in the contract and had less tax on the people because we wouldn't have needed the money. And what did we do with the heating systems? Are they all taken care of too over there now? Because if there were extra money didn't we talk about changing the heating system in the building because it was necessary, but no, we aren't going to do that either. If you have $10k or $11k extra why wouldn't it be put into the heating to heat the building? That was the other consideration, that the building needed better heat and didn't have it. Mr. Houser gave a couple of off mic responses.
The Mayor said in the town budget there are line items that might be a little bit of a stretch to use in this terminology but with regard to some of the other funds there is a public infrastructure trust fund. He thought only acting as a guarantor in the event that that department comes in under budget you may have the ability to use those resources anyway because we have category budgeting not line item budgeting, if there is nervousness. He asked CM Tiberio if he was proposing that we have a tax rebate or what is it he thinks we should do if we have a residual at the end of the day. CM Tiberio said we should do the doors - that's what we were told needed to be done. If we didn't need to do the work why even put it out to bid? It wasn't us that came up with this.
The Mayor asked CM Tiberio to hypothetically follow him saying if we have a determination that it's not necessary to spend the extra $10k for something that you don't really want because you said you wanted it once before even though the rules may have changed and it's not necessary, but you say go ahead and spend that money because we want you to spend all the money we give you. Now we're starting to look like these governmental agencies that spend money just to make sure they spend everything that they have just to show that they look like they're doing what they need to do. We now have a situation where someone looks at the doors and says a modification to these doors will save the taxpayers $10k and that's $10k that could be reprogrammed for a public purpose. CM Tiberio said the elimination of buying that truck will save the taxpayers how much money too but he doesn't hear anything about not buying the truck. CM Feldberg said that's not what the committee recommended. CM Tiberio said we're only looking one way - we have the money and we need to spend it. CM Feldberg said we don't have to spend that money on the truck and asked if he had another idea. CM Tiberio said when Mr. Prangley brought this up he told him to find the money in the budget and asked if there wasn't the possibility there's $10,000 that can be saved in PW budget this year. Though you'll say no because we're cut to the bone, there'll be a plus side to the salaries, every year it's that way. CM Tiberio said it's been that way for 20 or 30 years because someone quits or whatever.
CM C. Davis said she isn't comfortable and it seems we're robbing Peter to Pay Paul. Knows we need things now, the leaf machines and light duty truck but if you can't afford the other thing then we need to sharpen the pencil and find all of the money and she's not ready to do that tonight. The Mayor suggested they say they're buying it or not. CM Feldberg said the medium truck is the one that had to be ordered asap because that's the one that will take the longest to come. The Mayor asked if there was any utility in doing the two leafer's and the mid size duty truck now and holding off on the heavy until we can look at our resources. CM Tiberio said the leaf machines immediately, he should be placing that order tomorrow. Mr. Houser's comments were off mic - hard to hear but he said something about not having a way to pull them. CM Tiberio asked how we've been pulling the leaf machines for the last 10 years. CM Feldberg said the council approved purchase of these four vehicles. CM Tiberio said they approved purchasing these four vehicles and we taxed the taxpayers to do it.
Gerard Kiernan, 5309 Riverdale Rd, said he was at the PW meeting. He believed CM Tiberio has been partly right in his comments. What you can't do with a special assessment is reprogram it into general funds. Secondly, the discussion then has descended into apples, oranges, and bananas. The apples part of it is buying the trucks. To his pea brain at 1:00 a.m. - go back to LaSalle with the new amount, yes you did the tax assessment based on a value you had. They changed the value. Go back to LaSalle, borrow the new amount. Your hit for this year will probably be about $3k. If you've got additional construction work (the oranges of this) to do in the PW building in the out years, take the $10k you save off refurbishing the doors and put it in the heating system so then you only have to stick the citizens for $17k instead of $27k. The bananas part is finding the $3k in your general fund someplace. Go back to LaSalle, we've done it in the past, you have a bid, you did a good faith to get the tax money for it and the price came in differently. You're jerking around trying to find $10k in the general fund budget that $280k in the hole to start with and you may as well try to find the $3k instead.
The Mayor said as of now there is no motion and asked if there was going to be one advanced about what to do or else he'll adjourn the meeting. CM Feldberg said she thinks it's preferable to borrow the money to pay for it. The Mayor asked if the motion was to borrow $12k to cover the shortfall on the cost of these vehicles. CM W. Davis seconded for discussion and asked if adding on to an appropriation had been done in the past. The Mayor said yes. CM Feldberg said we have the borrowing authority to do that. The Mayor said it's true that depending on how much the hit is for, depending on the financing of it, it won't necessarily be that much now. Mr. Prangley said this won't impact our borrowing authority. The Mayor said there is no prohibition on supplement appropriate through borrowing. Mr. Prangley said what they have is $152,648 so we're talking about financing $153,000. The Mayor asked what's the surplus over and above what they brought in through the special assessment noting that's the only number that's relevant.
CM Tiberio asked the price for the two leaf machines. Mr. Houser said the full amount is $152,804.75. The Mayor asked how much was raised by the special levy. CM Feldberg said $142,000. The Mayor said the actual number is $12,800 up to $13,000. and asked what was the council's pleasure. He asked if CM Feldberg wanted to amend the motion to make it $13k. She asked if he did the math right. CM Tiberio and CM Feldberg had $10,804. The Mayor said make it $11k
They voted on the motion to borrow $11k to complete the purchase on the equipment. The vote was 3 - 2 and the motion didn't pass because they needed 4 affirmative votes. CM Tiberio and CM C. Davis opposed. CM Almirez had already left.
CM C. Davis suggested they bring it up again at another time. CM Feldberg said they needed to resolve this tonight. CM Tiberio said can still authorize the purchase of the two leaf machines immediately and they can do that tomorrow. Mr. Prangley responded but the mic was off (?). The Mayor responded saying it didn't take a motion. If they wanted to purchase a certain segment of that with the amount of monies from the special levy they can do that tomorrow. CM Tiberio said they need a motion to approve, the Mayor agreed in excess of $5k. CM Tiberio said if the motion could be made to purchase the two leaf machines and the small duty immediately, those are within budget. CM Feldberg pointed out that one takes the longest time to get and needs to be ordered right away (several people talking over each other).
CM C. Davis made the motion to purchase the two leaf machines and the one light duty trucks. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. CM Feldberg asked why they don't order the two leaf trucks and one leaf machine. She said they need to order all four machines or they won't get ordered. Mr. Prangley reminded everyone that the reason they're going through the exercise is that the code requires that anything over $5k has to specify not only the amount but the company we're procuring this from (his mic dropped out?). CM Tiberio said the company who gave the low bid on the leaf machines can be made a part of the minutes and that we authorize the purchase from them. Mr. Prangley said the company was O.D. Pitt Bee (sp?) for $39,648, the light duty is Koons Automotive for $45,999, and Central Truck Center for $67,157.75. CM Tiberio and CM C. Davis said the motion is to purchase the two leaf machines and a light duty truck.
CM Hart asked if out of $150k appropriated for the purchase of these four items you can't switch the money back and forth between those four items. In other words, you figured $9k for a leaf blower, you have to use it for that, you can't use that $9k and not buy one of the leaf blowers and buy the medium duty truck? CM Tiberio said they figured it out and they were short. CM Hart said what he's trying to figure out is if you can't purchase all four things what wouldn't you want to buy now. If we don't have the medium duty truck what are the consequences to the town not having that? Mr. Houser said the snow's going to fly, it's going to get deep, people's homes will burn because the fire department can't get to them, people will die in the streets because the police can't get to them.
CM C. Davis asked if she needed to add a figure to her motion not to exceed $85k. Mr. Prangley said they'd be authorizing, $39,648, and the $45,999 which comes up to $85,647, and to go ahead. The other part is that you'd have to authorize the financing too, that would be the second motion.
The Mayor said he wanted to make an off the wall comment and hopes they can get past this. He was looking at PW salaries and believes they'll find the savings in the budget ultimately. Mr. Houser said he came in under budget $109k last year. The Mayor told Mr. Houser he was agreeing with him. The Mayor said the budget for July and year to date they've spent $22,700, annualizing that it's well in excess of $100k under budget. He said the maker of the motion certainly will find his suggestion quite hostile, but he would encourage his colleagues to vote against the motion, then vote to take $11k from the salary budget for public works out of salary and move it for the purchase of this other vehicle. CM C. Davis said she did find it hostile saying they're having difficulty getting trash schedule and projects done and doesn't want to take staff away where they might need them down the road. The Mayor said based on what he just looked at they're probably going to come in well under budget, which means you don't have to worry because that money will still be in the same budget category. CM C. Davis said she wasn't comfortable, it's getting very convoluted, we shouldn't be trying to rob Peter to pay Paul and said we need to find an honest way to pay for this truck.
The Mayor reviewed the motion is to do all these three purchases for up to $85k.
Gerard Kiernan said the other side of the coin is since they're only going to borrow $85k, he's going to have to renegotiate this with LaSalle because it's a significant deviation. You'd have been better off borrowing the extra $12k and kept the same deal. CM Tiberio asked about the interest rate before the new rate he got today. Mr. Prangley said it was 4.25% and with (name?) you got 3.8%. Mr. Prangley said there were three competitors. The Mayor said the interest isn't going to be the primary issue here. He encouraged his colleagues to vote against the motion and then find an appropriate motion to get this thing moving. He said he thought they were going to lack four votes and they were at a stale mate. Without another councilmember they'll be there all night and will keep changing votes and nothing will get accomplished. The motion failed 3 - 2. CM Hart and CM Feldberg opposed. CM Almirez had already left.
The Mayor said there's no way we can purchase equipment under the motion and asked if anyone who opposed or supported it had any comfort in taking the money out of the current appropriations to accomplish this purchase. CM Feldberg said she would be willing to make the motion to take it out of salaries. The Mayor said the problem is that even if the three of you vote for this we'll play the same exercise and keep getting nowhere reiterating the need four votes. CM Feldberg asked if Chris and Guy did not want to buy four vehicles. CM Tiberio and CM Feldberg both spoke.
The Mayor said he was taking executive authority and said if they continue to do what they're doing nothing will be done. Nothing will be passed here tonight unless the two on the losing end of the last motion ask that the motion just passed on be reconsidered and are willing to flip your vote, other than that we'll play this game all night long. Mr. Prangley said the two leaf machines and the light duty truck are imperative. If they get that on board tonight it would be very good. The medium size truck - there's a little bit of time. He's not sure how long they'll reserve the truck for us and said Mr. Houser felt initially, a week ago, they possibly could work on it a little more if they had a little more time on this. We're coming back on the 19th, let's see what we can do more on this one that's $10k over.
CM C. Davis said she will remake the motion. The Mayor said she cannot remake the motion and asked if anyone on the losing end of that last vote were willing to ask us to reconsider the last vote. He said if either CM Feldberg or CM Hart make a motion to reconsider the vote then they can take this up, if not, we are nowhere and we will adjourn. CM Feldberg asked if by reconsider he meant just getting three vehicles and the Mayor said yes. She said she hadn't heard any suggestions as to how they to get the rest of the money for the fourth one and asked why would that change later on. The Mayor said that wouldn't happen tonight. Five councilmembers are present, two aren't going to support your motion so if we don't adopt anything we won't purchase anything. CM Feldberg said she wasn't asking for support, she was asking for suggestions for how to purchase that fourth vehicle. CM C. Davis said she can't decide that this evening and needs to look at more vehicles. CM Tiberio said he thought it was important to buy the two leaf machines immediately and that other truck because they're available to be bought so lets make a purchase.
The Mayor said he was finding this discussion non-germane and unless there's a motion on the floor.....CM Tiberio said it's not his authority to tell them what's germane. The Mayor said there is no motion on the floor. CM Tiberio said the council has a right to......The Mayor repeated that there is no motion on the floor. CM Tiberio made the motion that we buy the two leaf machines and the light truck. The Mayor said his motion was out of order, the motion just failed. The Mayor said there was no motion and announced the meeting adjourned.
Meeting adjourned at 1:30 a.m.(?)
Minutes prepared from videotape.
DATES TO REMEMBER
Tuesday, August 6, Traffic Study Committee, Town Hall, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, August 12, Recreation Board, Town Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 13, Madison Hill HOA, Town Hall, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 20, Neighborhood Watch, Town Hall, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, August 26, Council Work Session, Town Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 3, Council Legislative Session, Town Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 10, Election Day
Thursday's, Farmer's Market, Town Center, 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
This page was last changed on Friday, September 5, 2003. Questions, comments, or submissions? See the Website Committee web page. This page has been accessed 9642 times.