January 9, 2012
The regular meeting of the Pocomoke Mayor and Council was held in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Monday, January 9, 2012. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M.
Present: Mayor Bruce Morrison
Council Members: Rob Clarke, Tracey Cottman,
Diane Downing, Donald L. Malloy
City Attorney William Hudson
City Manager Russell W. Blake
City Clerk Carol L. Justice
In a motion (Cottman, Downing passed), to approve the minutes of December 5, 2011.
In a motion (Clarke, Malloy passed), the bills presented to be paid. (Copy of bill list attached to original minutes).
Mayor to introduce Mr. Bill Badger, recently appointed Economic Development Director for Worcester County:
Mr. Badger said that he was very pleased to be in Pocomoke City and to meet the Mayor and Council. He stated that he has had 28 years’ of experience in economic development:, 17 years with DBED and 11 years with Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation. He first met City Manager Blake when they worked together on the Beretta project in 1990. Mr. Badger stated that economic development is his first love, and it is a great opportunity to be working with the City and the County to make Pocomoke City a better place economically.
Mr. C.D. Hall of Hall Realty Co., to discuss request for waiver of water and sewer hook-up fees at Drawbridge Villas Condos on Riverside Drive:
Mr. Hall introduced Mr. Fred Adams, a representative of the lender/owner of the Drawbridge Condo property.
Mr. Adams stated that he is with American Acquisition LLC., and that they would like to request that the water/sewer hook-up fees be reduced by half for each unit. The original plans showed only one hook up. With the fees being $63,000 it is not feasible for them to complete the units and pay the fee. They would like to get each unit ready to be rented or to be sold.
City Manager Blake explained that the total cost would be $58,500 rather than $63,000, in accordance with the City’s fee schedule for multi-family buildings.
Mr. Hall stated the original plans only showed one hook-up for the entire building.
Mayor Morrison asked how many units were completed.
Mr. Hall stated four (4) units with three (3) units occupied. There are three (3) more unfinished units, for a total of seven (7).
Councilman Malloy asked how much needed to be done for the other three units to be completed.
Mr. Hall stated that two units could be completed for around $25,000, and the third one would be around $35,000. The flooring and cabinets need to be installed.
Councilman Clarke stated that he had a problem with waiving the fees. He explained that rates were recently increased to cover expenses, and that the general fund had to subsidize the Water and Sewer fund in recent years.
City Manager Blake stated that another option would be to pay half now and the other half would be a lien on the property to be paid when the property is sold.
Mr. Adams stated that he would not like to have liens placed on the property, it would be more complicated once it went to settlement
Councilman Malloy stated that he agreed that they should not be exempt from paying the hook-up. They could pay half now and half when each unit went to settlement.
In a motion (Malloy, Cottman passed) to accept half of the hook-up fee now and the other half once each unit is sold, or when the entire property is transferred.
Second Reading of Ord. 408 to authorize a new franchise agreement with Comcast Cable, Inc. for Cable TV, Internet and other services:
Mayor Morrison postponed this reading until a later date.
Discuss proposal from Center for Research on Biotoxin Associated Illness which will result in a publication of a book concerning the ecology of the Cypress Park Nature Trail and up to $5,000 in grant funds toward completion of the board walk around Stevenson’s Pond:
Councilman Malloy stated that Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker and his daughter Sally are asking for a non-binding expression of support for a study on the wetlands of the Pocomoke River. Completion of the project will include a recorded walking tour of the Nature Trail for use by people visiting the Trail. The City would bear no responsibility or liability for this project, but would receive at no cost a digital publication and walking tour for visitors.
In a motion (Clarke, Downing, passed) to offer Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker support on the publication of a book on the Nature Trail and the “walking tour” of the Trail.
First Reading of Res. A-12-01 to annex property at 1139 Ocean highway (Dr. Leroy Johnson, owner):
Mayor Morrison read for the record Res. A-12-01.
Discuss request from Worcester County Commissioners concerning possible appointment to Commission on Aging:
Mayor Morrison asked for any suggestion for appointment, he stated that the individual did not have to be an elected official. It was agreed that Councilmembers would call Mayor Morrison to recommend someone for this position.
City Manager to present six-month budget summary report:
City Manager Blake presented a six-month budget status report. Revenues are generally better than expected. Real Estate Taxes are at 75%; Room Taxes 58%; State Highway Taxes 67%; Ambulance Department paid memberships are at 102%;. Water and Sewer revenues: water charges received are at 50%, sewer charges are 51%; Sewage Hauler fees 77%. Total revenues are over 54%, while total expenses are at 41%. We will continue to be very careful as to what we spend in the next six months.
Councilman Clarke commended City Manager Blake and Department Heads for keeping expenses under control.
Appoint members of the City’s Board of Elections Supervisors for two-year term beginning February 2012:
Mayor Morrison stated that the five person Board of Elections Supervisors serve for two years, and their terms will expire later this month.
Councilman Cottman made a motion to reappoint for of the current members, ( Barbara Browning, John Haynie, Grace Holland, and Vanessa Jones), motion seconded by Councilwoman Downing, and carried unanimously.
Comments from Audience:
Adjourn to Executive Session:
Following a motion by Councilwoman Cottman and seconded by Councilman Clarke, the Council voted to meet in a closed session at 8:10 P.M. in the Council Chambers. Present were Mayor Morrison, all council members, City Attorney William Hudson, City Manager Blake, and City Clerk Carol Justice. The Mayor and Council discussed real estate and legal issues as permitted under the provisions of Section 10-508 (a), (1), (7) and (8) of the State of Maryland Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Items discussed were Rico DiMattia regarding possible new industrial business on Pocomoke River; Discovery Center financial situation; MIST Building/Possible new industry; and Salvation Army Youth Club status.
With no further business, the Executive Session adjourned at 9:30 P.M.
Carol L. Justice