June 2005 Town Meeting
Town of Cheverly
June 9, 2005
Call to Order
Mayor Mosley called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. in the Cheverly Community Center. There were 9 citizens in attendance.
Also in attendance: Town Administrator David Warrington, Attorney Colaresi, CMs Cullen, Ford, Oslik, Schachter, Hofmann, Watson and Oladele.
Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Mosley opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
There were no changes.
Town Meeting Minutes, 5/12/05
CM Oslik had one correction. On page 5 during the discussion regarding the intersection of Cheverly Avenue and Route 202. Suggested verbiage: “it was determined at the time by SHA that the signage was confusing and that SHA then modified the signage to match the traffic pattern”, old verbiage: “it was determined that the signage was confusing.” Minutes approved as corrected.
CM Watson stated that his name was misspelled in previous month’s minutes.
Worksession Minutes, 5/26/05
The minutes were approved as written.
Special Meeting, 5/31/05
The minutes were approved as written.
Mr. Warrington reported that the Town Staff are preparing for Cheverly Day.
Mayor Mosley added that advance notice has been provided to residents regarding street closures.
Mr. Warrington responded to CM Mosley that the Police Station is up for review by Park and Planning; which was referred back to the Town so the Town’s comments will be favorable.
Mayor Mosley asked Mr. Warrington to verify whether the April Town Meeting minutes had been approved.
Chief Jeffery Krauss was on vacation. There was no report.
Mayor and Council Announcements
Mayor Mosley announced that Chief Krauss has resigned and decided to go into the private sector. She thanked him for his service to the Town for the past four years. He brought his breadth of experience to the Department. Mayor Mosley announced that Lieutenant Harry Robshaw has accepted the position and will be promoted to Chief.
Worksession: Wal-Mart resolution (if not passed during the Town Meeting), amending planning Board policy, private property tree plantings, Newsletter policy, email policy, ethics commission appointments, boat restrictions in Chapter 27 of the Code, evaluating Departments Heads (closed), proposed dog park and Belmont Street survey.
CM Watson announced that on June 14, there would be a Zip Code Task Force Meeting at 7:00 PM.
There was no report.
Cheverly Day Report
CM Watson summarized that Cheverly Day is June 11 from 10 AM – 10 PM. Cheverly Day magazines have been sent to all residents and an insert was provided in the Newsletter. The day’s events will begin with the Run/Walk. He summarized activities.
CM Oslik announced that a ribbon cutting is scheduled for the opening of the Lower Beaver Dam Trail located behind the basketball court. He gave kudos to all who worked on that committee.
He added that the Cheverly Day booklet is excellent.
CM Schachter added that residents who are attending T-Ball games in Boyd Park should park in the lot versus on 64th Avenue.
There was no citizen input.
Discussion –Wal-Mart @ Capital Plaza
CM Oslik recommended that citizens speak first.
CM Hofmann recused himself from this issue because he has family members employed by Wal-Mart
Rhoda Washington, Wal-Mart, stated that she received a letter from the Mayor and Council on June 7 referencing a number of community concerns, namely public safety. Wal-Mar is in complete agreement and plans to address these concerns in writing, they will not sell hunting rifles, sell alcohol nor will they be open 24 hours. The Town will be able to provide input on store hours. A district manager has yet to be assigned. Her Vice President stands behind her recommendation to allow Cheverly input on store hours. Regarding signage, County Code requirements will be followed. She is not aware the extent to which input is permitted regarding signage. That is a matter for the developer and plaza owner to decide. She added that she was not aware the status of the architectural design; however,
she plans to present them when they are ready.
CM Schachter thanked her for her prompt response. He inquired about Wal-Mart’s commitment to provide private security inside and outside the store and to what extent would they be willing to partner with the Town Police.
Ms. Washington explained that once a manager is assigned, more dialogue would occur. She added that current stores have security inside and outside the store in addition to illumination.
CM Watson asked whether local communities would be consulted and what commitment Wal-Mart is willing to make to have its regional manager have ongoing consultations with Cheverly.
Ms. Washington responded that their managers are encouraged to get involved in the community e.g. identifying charities, joining the local chamber and working with security organizations. Associates will be hired from surrounding communities.
CM Oslik added that the basic design of the store has been established. He asked whether there exists an opportunity for Cheverly to provide input at this point? Ms. Washington responded that the design renderings have gone through several levels of approval already and she thinks that the Town would be pleased. Wal-Mart will give a full presentation of the design plans.
CM Oslik asked whether the response letter from Wal-Mart would include the process and promise of hiring local residents. She responded that they would consider all qualified candidates.
CM Oslik asked if Wal-Mart is receiving subsidies, set asides or tax benefits? Ms. Washington responded that another letter could be crafted to address issues not formerly raised.
CM Ford asked if an agreement could be reached regarding the hiring of local job applicants. He added that he would like this item addressed in the second letter.
CM Watson clarified the definition of “local” as the inner beltway Prince George’s County.
Mayor Mosley added that the Town would be happy to meet with Wal-Mart and the County Government to have a job fair in hopes that focusing advertising locally initially would help this effort.
CM Schachter stated that he would like to see the design plans of the building prior to the completion of the permit process. If not provided, he is prepared to ask that the Council to block the process.
Ms. Washington stated that no permits have been obtained.
Mayor Mosley clarified that initially Ms. Washington was not aware how far along the project was on the renderings and asked that a qualified person from Wal-mart prepare a response.
Madeline Golde, Co-Chair Progressive Cheverly, 3020 Parkway, explained that the organization is made up of 75-80 residents who are committed to revitalizing the democratic political process at the grass roots level. In the last two months, Progressive Cheverly has reached out to neighboring Towns and associations about Wal-Mart and has established a Community Coalition (Bladensburg, Colmar Manor, Greater Landover Knolls, Radiant Valley, Kenmore, Woodlawn, Port Towns Community Development Corporation (Bladensburg, Colmar Manor and Cottage City) to develop a position to bring before Wal-Mart and the County Council. They want Wal-Mart to be a good corporate neighbor and they would like to develop community standards integral to make this a successful community project. Standards include a living wage, access to
affordable good health care coverage, priority hiring and union representation.
They would not like a grocery store. Would like to see a reduction in the negative impact on small business. Would like to see an environmentally friendly building and parking area; traffic patterns and parking, signage and fencing (separating it from communities that abut) exterior cleaning and maintenance.
They are hoping that the Council will support these community standards and that the standards are used as a negotiating tool. There is a tentative meeting scheduled for the Coalition to talk with Wal-Mart.
Ms. Washington stated that the company is committed to integrate with the community. Currently in Maryland there are 15,000 associates who are paid $9.60 an hour. All associates are eligible for full benefits averaging $40 for individual and about $155 for families of 4. All receive profit sharing, incentive benefits and stock options. In the State, Wal-Mart contributed more than $2.2M to local charities. Area businesses near current Wal-Mart stores have thrived and traffic patterns are always considered. She will visit the store to address this concern. They support community gatherings and look forward to becoming a hub for these activities. Associates are not discouraged from joining a union.
Ms. Washington thanked Ms. Golde for her feedback regarding the cleanliness of the Bowie store and added that a grocery store is not planned for the Capital Plaza location.
Ms. Washington responded to CM Ford that she would have her traffic engineer come back and give a presentation. Also, she will clarify the wages of full and part time employees. The exact square footage of the store is 142,129.
Mayor Mosley suggested that the Town and Wal-Mart use their influence with the Nellis Corporation to champion upscale restaurants.
There was discussion about the deteriorated condition of the Bowie store inside and outside. Ms. Washington responded that a new manager would be assigned to that store. She has inquired with the regional manager about this concern and has not yet received a response.
Cathy Smith, 6019 Inwood Street, raised the issue of livable wages. Corporate America needs to bridge wage gap. She asked how many of these employees will end up on public assistance for health care. She asked that this issue be addressed in Wal-Mart’s response letter. Ms. Washington replied that she could do a specific analysis for the DC Metro area and added that she believes that the wages for this area are slightly higher.
Kathryn Soffer 2807 Belleview Avenue stated that she saw a newspaper article about Wal-Mart trying to compete with Target by providing a more upscale appearance. She added that Wal-Mart imports about 70% of its goods from China; where there are labor issues. She asked what provisions Wal-Mart had in place for monitoring this situation.
Ms. Washington responded that she did not know whether there is truth to those allegations.
Karen Dolan 3000 63rd Avenue added that US taxpayers pay to subsidize Wal-Mart employees.
Fred Price Jr. 1709 62nd Avenue stated that his neighbors are looking forward to Wal-Mart and it would be a disservice to the community to pass an opposing resolution.
Mayor Mosley clarified that there is no resolution before the Council.
Mayor Mosley added that further discussions regarding Wal-Mart should take place during either a special meeting or at the Worksession.
CM Schachter read a short quote from the Public Management Journal regarding the development and design of large retail stores. He added that local governments are afraid of large businesses because they lower their standards.
Public Hearing - Constant Yield Tax
Mayor Mosley opened the hearing.
Mr. Warrington summarized that assessments have gone up and if the tax rate remains the same the collection of total tax revenue goes up. The State requires that notice be sent, and a hearing be held even though the tax rate has not changed. However, residents should be aware that the amount of their taxes might change if the assessed value of their property has increased. The current municipal tax rate is $.40 per $100 of assessed value, and this is considered an increase yield and not a constant yield.
There was no public comment.
There was no comment from the Council.
Mayor Mosley closed the hearing.
Adoption FY 06 Operating Budget and C.I.P.
Mr. Warrington summarized items included in the FY06 Budget and C.I.P.: construction of the Police Department, funding for the planning portion of a potential dog park, replacement of Gast Park equipment, $20,000 for pathway lighting in Gast Park, $1200 for planting an elm tree in Pinkeye’s Park, $16,000 for rear perimeter fencing at Public Works, $100 for resurfacing Greenleaf Road between Crest and 56th, the lease purchase of one police car, a dump truck and a pickup truck, a part time administrative assistant and full funding of 14 police officers.
There is a budget surplus of $600K, and the total budget and CIP is $4.371M.
Mayor Mosley stated that a copy of the budget is available for review at the Town office.
· CM Schachter moved to declare an emergency ordinance to pass the budget. Seconded by CM Ford. Unanimously approved.
· CM Oslik moved passage Ordinance OB-1-05, 2006 FY Budget. Seconded by CM Watson. Unanimously approved.
Introduction O-1-05 Amending Chapter 22 – Police Mutual Aid
Mr. Colaresi summarized that the State of Maryland has passed a law acknowledging and encouraging local jurisdictions to collaborate. One proviso is that the legislative body has to address it, and he drafted an ordinance enabling the Town if it wishes to participate in these agreements and conform to state law. It is not a commitment at this point, but will lead to a commitment.
Introduction O-2-05 – Amending Chapter 8 Building Permits
Mr. Warrington summarized that this ordinance is being updated to reflect the County ordinance. Town Code currently states that 100 square feet is required, whereas the County requires 150 square feet. He read the ordinance (copy attached to original of the minutes).
CM Oslik asked how long would residents on 63rd Avenue have to wait before something is done about the rats. Letters were mailed on May 25 to affected residents. Mr. Warrington responded that he would have to research this issue and that there is a process involved.
Mayor Mosley added that the letter from Mr. Dolof was dropped off just prior to the Town Meeting.
Adjourned 10:20 p.m.
Town of Cheverly
Summary of Action
June 9, 2005
1. CM Schachter moved to declare an emergency ordinance to pass the budget. Seconded by CM Ford. Unanimously approved.
2. CM Oslik moved passage Ordinance OB-1-05, 2006 FY Budget. Seconded by CM Watson. Unanimously approved.