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06/10/10 Town Meeting Minutes
Town of Cheverly
Meeting Minutes
June 10, 2010

Call to Order
Meeting called to order at 8:00 pm in the Cheverly Community Center.  

In attendance:  Mayor Callahan, CMs Watson, Eldridge, Schachter and Tevault.

Pledge of Allegiance

Mayor Callahan added a Budget Adjustment for the Farmers Market

Minutes – Town Meeting 5/13/10
Approved as written.

Minutes – Worksession 5/27/10
CM Tevault noted that a correction to a second was necessary, which was accepted.
Approved as written.

Town Administrator Report
Mr. Warrington noted that Cheverly Avenue has construction between Inwood and Hawthorne and is Federal funds that are being controlled by the County as part of the economic stimulus.  It is approximately $45,000 in repairs.  The RFP for developing a Youth Program closed today ant the Mayor and Council have 4 submissions for consideration.  Trying to prepare for our FY11 CIP items and we are currently checking with affected residents about the placement of benches at bus stops on Cheverly Avenue.  We do not have any submissions for the Ward 1 or Ward 5 Councilmember seats.  

CM Eldridge wanted to thank the staff for notices on Cheverly Avenue about parking during construction.  Is there any intent to do work on sidewalks or gutters?  Mr. Warrington none were in our proposal for funding.

Mayor Callahan do you know anything about the Magruder Springs project.  Mr. Warrington no that is a County project.

Police Department Report
Chief Robshaw thanks to everybody who attended Cheverly Day.  We had no problems or issues the entire day.  Our crime is edging back down again to where it was before our B&E arrests.  We had 67 arrests in the month of May.  We will be issuing citations around the 20th of this month.  Speed by people using Cheverly Ave is down, but it is in a fairly visible location.  We have hired an officer, Pam Kruger, who is running the program.  The office construction is almost done, the telephones are up and the computers have been ordered.  We anticipate Landover Road coming on line in the middle of July.  We are getting ready to sign a contract with a new towing company, which will allow us to receive some funding for the cars scrapped and sold at auction.  We should be reimbursed by the State for our radios in the amount of $65,000.  We are assigning traffic complaints in a same day turn around for assignment.  Residents can email the Chief.   We are about to start focusing on out-of-state tags this month.  The fine is pretty expensive so encourage everybody to get Maryland tags.

CM Eldridge the community market is in Legion Park this weekend and what will be the impact on Cheverly Avenue traffic.  Chief Robshaw we have contacted Metrobus and this should be handled as easily as it was last year. CM Eldridge there has been an increase in truck traffic on Cheverly Avenue.  What can citizens do to help the police force?  Chief Robshaw we write a lot of tickets for this and we have had discussions with the firms in Tuxedo.  We do have a lot of normal “in town” deliveries.  If you are a radio user you can call.

Mayor and Council Announcements

Mayor items for the Worksession: Explosions/Booms next step, Building Use, Potential Annexation, RFP Results, Department Head Evaluations.

CM Watson we don’t have a process for Department Heads or we are going to set the process at the Worksession? Mayor we have a yearly process and the Town Administrator provides his evaluation of the two Department Heads for discussion.

CM Watson we still need to do the Ethics Commission appointment. Mayor we need leadership from the Councilmember from Ward 3 to provide an appointment. I don’t think we have had any ethic inquiries, but we do have a board.

Committee Reports

Mayor is there anyone here from the Recreation Council?  No.
CM Watson we are looking for a day for Cheverly Day in 2011.  It will probably be closer to the actual April 18th birthday.  There will be a parade next year for the 80th birthday.  Thanks to everyone who made it a success this year

CM Tevault the prom was a huge success.  We had some great door prizes this year. I want to thank all of those contributors, the decorating committee and town staff.  It was a fantastic evening.

Mayor Green Infrastucture? No formal report.

Citizen Input

Shiela Silo Ward 2.  I have not received my Cheverly Newsletter in the mail for the past three months.  Perhaps the Town could check into this.

Dave Kniepp Ward 3 I wanted to remind the citizens that the green home and garden tour will be this Sunday from 1-4.  It starts and ends at the Community Center and is put on by the Cheverly Conservation Alliance and a $5 contribution is suggested to cover the costs.

Robert Madison ward 6 and I want to refresh again the idea for a stop sign at Kilmer Street and Oak Street heading toward Landover Road.  I don’t have any regret about the speed bump on Oak Street.  Mayor we will have the Public Hearing on the speed hump later tonight.  The intersection you are referring to is not in Town, but we will look at it.

Presentation – Elaine Freible –Urban Wildlife/Foxes
Ms. Elaine Frieble has been a resident for 35 years and works at the Jug Bay wildlife sanctuary.  I am a biologist and can tell you that the red fox is a native species in Maryland.  They are highly adaptable to an urban environment.  We subsidize them by allowing them to build dens under sheds and helping themselves to pet food.  They eat mice, rabbits, fruit, snakes, insects, grasses, ground nesting birds and other rodents.  They do not have natural predators here, bobcats, wolves and coyotes.  They can live more than 2 years in the wild.  I have passed out an information sheet and would note that only 5% of foxes get rabies and we should be more concerned about raccoons.  They do not attack humans, dogs or cats.

CM Eldridge people are concerned that if seen during the day they are rabid, but is not the case.

Mr. Warrington noted that some resident had sent an email with concern about his cats.  Ms. Freible noted that there should not be a concern about the foxes bothering the cats.

Mayor in reality this is not an uncommon animal to our environment.  Is there some density number we should be aware of?  Ms. Frieble they go through cycles as the rabbit population peaks the fox population peaks.

Matt Salo I don’t have a question, but I have a comment. The foxes are very much attracted to our cats and the interaction is playful not aggressive.  If you do have small kittens or rabbits then they could become prey.  They do travel day and night.

Mayor there was a lot of concern, but people seem to be calming.

Shiela Salo foxes are not new to Cheverly we have had gray foxes for over 20 years.

Discussion Tuxedo-Cheverly Fire Station

Mayor We will now hear from Chief Jones and Lt. Lee of the Prince George’s County Fire service regarding the closure of the Tuxedo-Cheverly Fire Station.

Chief Jones also with me is my Executive Officer Major Formby and Major Lambden.  I was before you last year about the decline in staffing numbers.  We are now at 661, which is our lowest number.  We are moving the personnel from Tuxedo-Cheverly to the new station. I am open to any questions you may have.

CM Eldridge I have a quality question.  I am curious if we are meeting the required staffing levels for quality of service?  Second, when does this start to impact our insurance rates?

Chief Jones I don’t know about the insurance rates, but I can tell you that there are 6 fire stations within 2 miles of the station we are closing.  We are confident that the level and quality of service will remain high. This fire station is 42nd out of 45 stations responding to calls.  So it is prudent to move them to where they are needed most.  We need to put resources where they best serve the County.  This area is well covered for EMS and fire coverage.

CM Eldridge I understand the decision you have had to make.  My frustration is more on a County level and it is not directed at you.  

Chief Jones I am pleased to know that we are about to hire 100 fire fighters and then we can deploy them as we see best serves the needs of the County’s busiest areas.  

Mayor thanked the Fire staff.  None of us want to see the station closed, but you have explained very well why this is happening.  The Gazette articles today noted understaffed calls and calls never answered.  Getting up to 756 in staffing, does that alleviate these numbers.

Chief Jones we have the largest fire station in the region and we are the 13th busiest fire department in the United States.  We have to deploy our staff to maximize efficiency.  Spreading fire fighters out over 45 stations dilutes your paid fire fighters.  The article did not consider the volunteers and that makes some of this not necessarily true. It should be in the context of the history of the County as a combination system.  We have the largest combination system in the United States.  When you combine career with volunteer then the issue of understaffed responses is reduced by 30%.  

CM Eldridge could you talk about the financial relationship between the County and Volunteer Firefighters as we have been asked to authorize charging for fire services in Cheverly by the volunteers.  

Chief Jones the citizens support the volunteer firefighters in Prince George’s County have enjoyed low cost fire protection because of their support of the volunteers.  They do fund raising to bring funds into their organizations and there is a movement to charge a fee for service to non-County residents.  In order to charge, there must be a law to allow Volunteers to charge for services except for ambulance services.  A law needs to be in place to charge.  The County does provide funding to have their apparatus fixed and repairs around the stations and renovations for Capital Programs for the volunteers.  Most of the stations in the County are owned by the volunteers and career work in these stations.

Mayor the reason Tux-Chev is closing is because of staffing and with the addition of 100 new firefighters we still wouldn’t leave it open.  

Chief Jones perhaps we would locate an ambulance there as that is where a demand is in this area.  We will review our deployment.

Mayor as mentioned before, is the County considering moving in that direction of charging as a mechanism for funding.  Chief Jones there has been no discussion on this matter.  There has to be a law and there is no law at this time.  Discussions take place, but without a law this can’t be done even on a volunteer basis in the County.  

Mayor I thank you for coming and going through this information.  I believe our public safety is an issue that needs to be brought to all the candidates running for office in the upcoming elections.  We should let them know that this is an issue.

Public Hearing – Oak Street Speed Hump

Mayor opened the public hearing.

Mr. Warrington provided an overview of the process starting with the petition, verification, staff input, public hearing and options for the Mayor and Town Council.   A good deal of volume on the street is probably caused by the park at the end of the street.  The speeds do not seem to be excessive.

CM Tevault is one week the typical standard to test and when was it done?  Mr. Warrington yes and it was done 2 weeks ago.  Monday to Monday over 24 hours.

CM Tevault with parking on both sides does that provide natural traffic calming?  Mr. Warrington yes, the natural squeezing of the lanes still allows for ample space because there is not a lot of two way traffic at the same time.  The speeds don’t seem excessive, but with pedestrians and playgrounds is becomes and issue.

CM Tevault I am wondering if perhaps we should consider if this should have been 15 mph to follow our park criteria.  If that is applied then there would be more in the way of speeding on the street.

CM Eldridge you have groups coming in and groups coming out so those vehicles probably would not be able to speed, but the baseline traffic is there a way to distinguish who is going to the park.

CM Tevault are there any criteria additionally for speed humps like stop signs or is it just that they have met the standard and it is up to our judgement?  

Mayor I want to make sure we are all aware of our Code.  So, this is to make sure everyone is on the same page and read the Code section.  At this point we can take public input.

CM Eldridge this is in proximity to Spellman?  Mayor from the Hanson Arms apartment they could be coming down from this road.

Ms. Jamila Mohamad resident for 22 years and for the past 2 years there has been an increase in speeding after 3pm with non-residential young people going to the playground.  We have a lot of kids on this street.  It is a short street, but they can pick-up some speed.  We think it is necessary for the safety of the children.

Ms. Carolyn Brewer Ward 6, there are a lot of kids that come down Oak Street and cut through to get to Hillside.  They use the short-cut.

Mayor we expected to see more speeding, but it occurs to me that the vast majority of this traffic is making a right and going down to Maureen Court.  So, the rest of the traffic would go to the end of Oak Street.  The numbers could be scewed because the vast majority of the traffic is making that right.

CM Tevault I would recommend that we consider this street to be posted 15 mph because of the location of the park.  I would then note that most of the people would be speeding and then install the speed hump.

Mayor I would like to get a recommendation from the Chief of Police, Mr. Torres and actually bring this up again at the June 24th Worksession.

Mr. Colaresi you should leave the hearing open for further input.

Mayor we will place this on the June 24th Worksession from the Chief for how it fits in our generalized speed limit and from Mr. Torres some commentary around these numbers from an observational view rather than an empirical view along with what type of speed hump and where.

Mr. Colaresi and perhaps the Department Heads’ alternate means to slow speeding on that street.

Discussion – R-5-10 Amending the Urban Renewal Plan – 5901 Medical Terrace  

Town Administrator in April we had a public hearing as to whether to add this property to our Urban Renewal Plan.  The Mayor and Council decided to delay taking action since the property owner was waiting for County approval of their permits.  The County had raised some additional issues and the property was trading amendments back and forth with the County.  The Mayor and Council received additional information about what is happening at the May Town Meeting.  The property owners are back again to address the matter.

Mayor I would like to hear where you are status wise for your permits.  We had tabled the public hearing until today and we are back on the public hearing

Mr. Ugwuonye I am the attorney for the Anglican Church and I have brought two members of the church.  I just provided the last application submitted to the County concerning this property.  We have complied with the County requests and this is evidence of our last submittal for compliance.  The County employee responsible for this has been on vacation, so it was delayed in getting to us and allowing us to file this document.  I have been telling them that I was appearing before you and we have asked for documents noting that they were delaying us, but they had nothing to give us.

Mr. Warrington why is the document we have before us dated June 6, 2010.  Is this an additional permit?

Mr. Ugwuonye no, this is a submittal to address their questions and we submit a revision.  The County did come back to us 3 weeks prior to this date and there was an issue of the fire hydrant needing to be within 500 feet.  Our architect had to go to WSSC to locate it and that was the time needed to do this.  Also, Mr. Melton was on vacation and that added delay.

Mr. Warrington is this an existing hydrant or are you going to have to install a hydrant? I thought there was one down there.  Mr. Ugwuonye existing.

CM Tevault you mentioned that that was compliance number 9, how many more are there.

Obya that was the last one.  This was not in the original requests.  They added this one after we thought we had fully complied.  The County takes 4-8 weeks to issue a permit.  Our site plan and structural plan had been approved, so we are just waiting for the final approval.

CM Eldridge please explain it again, this is not a new application?

Mr. Ugwuonye this is a continuation of the original application approval.  These are other matters that have arisen over time and we have just complied.  It is the last item we needed to do.  This is a continuation.

  • Motion CM Schachter to table R-5-10 Amending the Urban Renewal Plan for a month.
Mayor if you could wait one second.

CM Eldridge if you could talk about your time frame for when you get your permits in 4-8 weeks are you ready to go?

Mr. Ugwuonyeyes we are ready to go as soon as we get the County approval.

Mayor I have a motion to table for 90 days, do I have a second? Motion fails for lack of a second.  Do I have any other motions?  If no other motions, the hearing remains open and we will revisit this in 2 months.  I would note that putting it on the Urban Renewal List may be helpful in getting the County to move, even though I know you don’t.  

Public Hearing – Constant Yield Tax Rate

Mayor opened the public hearing on the Constant Yield Tax Rate.

Mr. Warrington explained that the State requires this hearing and a proper posting in a newspaper of record, which has been done.  Noted that the constant yield rate is the tax rate needed to be adopted in order to keep constant the revenues collected last year.  Since our assessments have increased, the amount of taxes collected will increase and this hearing allows the public to be aware and comment on this matter.  In order to keep the amount of revenues constant from last year, the Mayor and Council would have to adopt a rate of .45 cents.  We are not proposing to do so and are proposing to leave the rate at .48 cents.

CM Watson so the rate would have to be reduced to .45 cents.  You are saying that the collections in FY11 will be $180,000 greater if we were not to reduce the tax rate.

Mayor any other questions or public input?  The public hearing is closed.

OB-1-10 Adopting the FY 11 Operating Budget and CIP

Mayor by adopting this Ordinance we will be adopting our FY 11 Budget.  We have talked about this budget since our February Town Meeting.  This will seem like a quick process of approval, but this has been anything but quick.  

Mr. Warrington I wanted to note that this an uncodified ordinance and doesn’t go in the Code, but our Charter requires this acceptance by adoption.

  • Motion CM Eldridge to adopt OB-1-10 FY11 Operating Budget and Capital Improvements.  Seconded CM Watson.  Approved 4-0.
Budget Adjustment – Farmers Market

CM Watson noted that the Farmers Market will be held this weekend at Legion Park and there is a need for a budget adjustment to allow for the rental of a Port-O-John for the site.

  • Motion CM Watson to approve a budget adjustment in the amount not to exceed $200 for the purpose of providing a Port-O-Potty at the Community Market this Saturday.  Seconded CM Tevault.  Approved 4-0.
Meeting adjourned.
Town of Cheverly
Summary of Action
June 10, 2010

  • Motion CM Eldridge to adopt OB-1-10 FY11 Operating Budget and Capital Improvements.  Seconded CM Watson.  Approved 4-0.
  • Motion CM Watson to approve a budget adjustment in the amount not to exceed $200 for the purpose of providing a Port-O-Potty at the Community Market this Saturday.  Seconded CM Tevault.  Approved 4-0.
  • Motion.  Motion CM Schachter to table R-5-10 Amending the Urban Renewal Plan for a month. Failed for lack of a second

Cheverly Executive Offices:   6401 Forest Road, Cheverly, MD 20785  (301) 773-8360
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