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Town Meeting Minutes 12/08/2005
December 2005 Town Meeting
1
Town of Cheverly
Meeting Minutes
December 8, 2005

Call to Order
Mayor Mosley called the meeting to order at 8:10PM in the Cheverly Community Center.  There were 4 citizens in attendance.

In attendance: Town Administrator Warrington, Attorney Colaresi, Chief Robshaw, CMs Oladele, Ford, Hofmann, Oslik, Schachter and Watson.

Pledge of Allegiance

Agenda/Approval/Changes
The agenda was approved as written.

Minutes – 11/10/05 Town Meeting
The minutes were approved as written.
Minutes – 11/29/05 Worksession
The minutes were approved as written.

Administrator’s Report
Mr. Warrington reminded residents to park on the correct side of the street in the event that it snows.  The leaf collection schedule will resume once the snow melts.  A $25,000 grant application he submitted in April for a hiking and biking trail (Parkway to Magruder Springs) was approved.   Installation is scheduled for early summer.

Mr. Warrington responded to Mayor Mosley that he has not heard from the County Executive regarding county owned surplus land on the grounds of Town Hall.  Bids are due December 30 for the Police Department.

He responded to CM Oslik that he does not know how the trail proposal will overlap other projects, such as the Friends of Beaver Dam Creek.  He offered to provide CM Oslik with a copy of the plan.  

Mr. Warrington responded to CM Watson that the bid for the pathway lighting has generated no responses.  He attributes this to a construction boom and a shortage of available electricians.

Police Report
Chief Robshaw announced that there is a new district commander in Hyattsville whom he is scheduled to meet with on December 12 to discuss recent robberies.    He anticipates that this type of crime will increase.  Chief Robshaw gave the report for November 2005 and attributed the recent drop in overall crimes to the sale of The Club, the activities of the Anti Burglary Partnership and officers working overtime.

The Chief's Advisory Committee projects include:  elder visitation, the home safety and protection workbook, the Anti Burglary Partnership meeting at the Town office, block captain/safe havens and planning public safety day for the spring.

Chief Robshaw reported that this year he is receiving $6,000 in State grants.  $5,000 will be devoted to the Smooth Operator program and $1,000 will be used for pedestrian enforcement on Landover Road near Kilmer Street.  

Next week seven (7) department members will receive Non-Lethal Weapons Training.  Tasers and other non-lethal weapons will be in use starting in December.

Drunk driving enforcement will be increased in December and January.

Dual vehicles may not park in residential areas in town at any time and commercial vehicles are not permitted in town after 7:00 PM.  Vehicles in violation on the street will be towed immediately.  Vehicles in violation that are parked on residential property will be given 15 day warning before being towed at the owner's expense.

Chief Robshaw asked for time during the next Worksession to address communication issues; park projects and department sponsored events.

CM Oslik mentioned pedestrian crossings on Route 202 and gave examples of fences and natural barriers used in other locations in the County to deter illegal crossings.

In response to Mayor Mosley there are four red light cameras in operation.  

In response to CM Oladele, most robberies occur after dark.  There are no certain times during which the robberies are taking place.

The next Neighborhood Watch meeting will be on January 18, 2006.  

Mayor and Council Announcements
Mayor Mosley thanked the Town employees for making the Tree Lighting Ceremony successful.   She announced that the Mayor and Council would sponsor a black tie optional dance the night before Cheverly Day.  There will be no December Worksession.  The January Town Meeting agenda will include the second reading for raising the tax cap, a bid opening for the police station, an amendment to raise the Mayor and Councils’ salaries, a dog park discussion and an Oak Street Park conversion.

Mr. Warrington reported that the new Cheverly website is live.  

CM Oslik added that the Mayor and Council would be using their new email addresses by the end of December.

CM Watson reported that he and resident Joe Pruden are having a Cleanup Day for the wooded area and path between Carlyle, Crest, and 59th Avenue on December 10.   The next Zip Code Task Force will be on December 12 at 7:00 PM.   CM Watson added that he would host a campaign event at his home on January 8.

Cheverly Day will be on April 29, 2006 beginning with the Cicada Crunch Run/Walk, followed by the parade and numerous activities.  The black tie dinner scheduled for April 28th will be held in the gym and will feature live entertainment, food and drinks.  Details including the ticket price are forthcoming.  The magazine deadline is March 1.

Mayor Mosley added that the booklet will include biographies on prolific residents.  Writers are needed for this project.  

Committee Reports

Recreation Council
There was no report.
Cheverly Day Committee
CM Watson summarized the proposed activities.

Citizen Input
Clarine Hackle, 3117 Laurel Avenue shared information regarding upcoming forums sponsored by Progressive Cheverly.  On December 11, they will sponsor a showing of film WalMart : The High Cost of Low Price from 7:00 – 9:00 PM.  On January 5, Senator Paul Pinskey will speak on the subject: An Elected or Appointed School Board, Does It Matter? from 7:00 PM –8:00 PM, at the Judith Hoyer Building.   The regular meeting will follow.

Position to Support the Legislative Override of the Governor’s Veto of the Fair Share Health Care Act
Mayor Mosley summarized that the Governor vetoed a Bill that would have required companies of a certain size to set aside and provide a certain percentage of benefits for their workers.  Legislators are hoping to override the veto.

CM Ford stated that he is in favor of sending a letter supporting the override to legislators.

CM Oslik agreed and clarified that WalMart is not the only company affected by this legislation; however, it is the only one that was not in compliance.

CM Hoffman stated that the legislation is discriminatory.  For example, Target has less than 10,000 employees and pays less in benefits.  This legislation keeps away big business that the County wants to attract.

CM Watson stated his support of the Bill; however he is not convinced that the Town should expend its political capital on a position Delegates and Cheverly both support.  Time is better spent lobbying for support of the police station, etc.  

Madeline Golde, 3020 Parkway, Progressive Cheverly, added that the WalMart Resolution contained language regarding affordable healthcare; which states Cheverly’s support.    However, a letter does not expend a large amount of political capital.  This issue has a large impact on residents who will work at this new WalMart.  It will be important for the Delegates to know that Cheverly supports them.  Giant Food is also affected by this legislation

·       CM Oslik moved that the Council send a letter to the State Delegation thanking them for their past support and efforts to improve the general economic well being of our citizens and strongly encouraging them to support the override.  Seconded by CM Ford.

CM Oladele stated that he does not support writing for writing sake.

CM Hoffman added that he agrees with CM Oladele; however, he recommends not voting on this motion based on supporting Delegates who did not oppose WalMart coming to Capital Plaza.  The majority of the letters have been in favor.

CM Ford stated his concern is that if WalMart comes to Prince George’s, and then non-insured patients will come to the Hospital.   A letter of support communicates to Delegates that the Town appreciates their help in the past and we stand with you on this issue.

CM Schachter added that Cheverly demonstrated support by passing the Resolution.  The Council is not elected to enter into a partisan fight.

Madeline Golde added that Town should support its delegation when it is right.

CM Schachter added that this is a partisan issue and as federal employees a legal opinion should be given on whether affected Councilmembers could vote on this topic.

Attorney Colaresi responded that this is not the kind of matter governed by the Hatch Act and does not forbid the Council to act.  He was not prepared to give a formal legal opinion at this meeting.

CM Oslik added that if a position is taken it is on a specific issue, not a partisan election; which is the requirement of the Hatch Act.  

VOTE:  CMs Oslik, Watson & Ford in favor; CM Hoffman opposed, CMs Schachter & Oladele abstained.  Mayor Mosley cast the fourth affirmative vote.  Motion passed.

Introduction O-1-06 Amending the Annual Salaries for Mayor and Council
Mayor Mosley summarized that Mayors’ salary is $1200, the Councils' salary is $800, Council expenses are $200 and mayoral expenses are $75.  The salary numbers have been in place for 30 years.  By Code the Mayor and Council cannot vote to raise their own salaries; however, if they were to raise their salaries they can do so after the next Mayor and Council election.  A survey taken four years ago revealed that by far Cheverly has the lowest paid Mayor and Council.   The Resolution proposes to raise Councilmembers salary to $2500 and the Mayors’ to $3,000.

CM Watson supported raising the salary for the next Council.  

CM Schachter added that he felt $6,000 for Council and double or triple that amount for the Mayor was appropriate.

CM Ford added that a salary increase is due; however, he does not want to see people run for office for the salary only.  He supports the increase for the next Mayor and Council.

CM Schachter added that the Mayor and Council work is a job and should be compensated accordingly.

Mayor Mosley added that she is unsure of her position.  It should be raised; however, she is not comfortable with doubling salaries.

Robert Madison, 6509 Maureen Court asked how the Council arrived at the decision to raise the salary.

Mayor Mosley responded that the Maryland Municipal League conducted a survey six years ago on salaries and benefits for the State and concluded that municipalities of the same size had higher salaries.  The Town is proposing the low end of a comparable salary.

Second Reading Charter Amendment Raising the Tax Cap
Mr. Warrington summarized that the Charter has set a tax cap, which is the maximum amount to which the Mayor and Council can raise taxes.   Although assessments have risen, the tax cap keeps taxes from being doubled or tripled at one time.  With impending construction for the Police Department, the Town will have to float a bond and taxes must be raised in 2006 to pay it back.  Currently, the town is $.05 away from the cap.  Getting close to the cap makes it difficult to raise taxes.  The proposal is to raise the cap to $.50.

Mayor Mosley added that she is in favor or raising the cap and it is likely that taxes will also be raised.

Attorney Colaresi added that surrounding municipalities have taxes much higher than Cheverly's cap.


Dog Park Discussion
Mayor Mosley summarized that this item has been discussed for the past year.  There has been opposition from residents and problems with the Hospital and WSSC sites.  The latest proposed location is the Oak Street Park.  The Council initially proposed a location within Town Park; however, it was not feasible financially.  Chief Robshaw added that he has been working with Park and Planning Police to address crime in Oak Park and Euclid Park.  He also conducted a survey on the usage of the Oak Park tennis and basketball courts; which revealed that they are rarely used.

CM Ford was concerned that the tennis court area would be too small for a dog park.

CM Hoffman added that there are more positives associated with this location versus previously proposed locations.

CM Watson agreed.

CM Oladele was in favor of trying the location temporarily and exploring others if it does not work.
Mayor Mosley added that she would like to see the Oak Park site used for this purpose because the dog park would enhance the area and would provide the Town more grounds on which to request additional space form Park and Planning.

CM Schachter agreed that this is a desirable use of that park.

Robert Madison, 6509 Marvin Court noted that he has lived on Maureen Court for decades.  He knows there are bad things going on in the park, but doesn't want to see a dog park there.  He stated that drug dealers have dogs too and doesn't see how a dog park will fix things.  He had a dog and kept it in his yard and walked it.  He doesn't think the town needs a dog park.

Mr. Terry, 6011 Forest Road, thanked the Council for considering the Dog Park; however, he is concerned with the proximity to residential areas.

Mayor Mosley added that this item will appear on the January Worksession agenda.

Adjourned 10:40 p.m.
Town of Cheverly
Summary of Action
December 8, 2005

1.      CM Oslik moved that the Council send a letter to the State Delegation thanking them for their past support and efforts to improve the general economic well being of our citizens and strongly encouraging them to support the override.  Seconded by CM Ford.

VOTE:  CMs Oslik, Watson & Ford in favor; CM Hoffman opposed, CMs Schachter & Oladele abstained.  Mayor Mosley cast the fourth affirmative vote.  Motion passed.



 
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