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4/10/08 Town Meeting



Town of Cheverly
Meeting Minutes
April 10, 2008

Call to Order
Mayor Mosley called the meeting to order at 8:00 pm in the Cheverly Community Center.  There were 6 residents in attendance.

In attendance:  Mayor Mosley, Mr. Warrington, Chief Robshaw, and CMs. Callahan, Ford, Schachter, Ford and Watson.

Pledge of Allegiance

Agenda/Approval/Changes
§       CM Callahan moved to excuse CM Eldridge.  Seconded by CM Ford.  Unanimously approved.

Minutes – Town Meeting 3/13/2008
Mayor Mosley asked to move this item to the next Worksession to allow additional time to review the minutes.

Minutes – Worksession 3/27/2008
Mayor Mosley accepted the minutes as written.

Town Administrator Report
Mr. Warrington reported that Public Works is taking orders for mulch deliveries.

CM Callahan asked Mr. Warrington for an update on the letter received from WSSC regarding the water tower.  Mr. Warrington asked CM Callahan to report on this during the Mayor and Council Announcements.

Police Department Report
Chief Robshaw reported that crime is still down.  Four assaults occurred last month, 3 of which were closed by arrest.  Five burglaries occurred, 3 of which occurred on Landover Road, and 2 have been closed by arrest.  There was a burglary that occurred on Euclid Street.  A witness provided a description, which is a black male, 25 years of age, between 5’2” and 5’4” and 160 lbs., black hair, and wearing a red jacket and carrying a black backpack at the time of the burglary.  The suspect was seen entering a 1990s Nissan or Toyota vehicle with dull red paint.  If anyone has any further information please call the Police Department at 301.341.1055.  One robbery occurred last month, one stolen auto, and 13 thefts, 7 of which were closed by arrest.  

Chief Robshaw presented Chief Awards to Jeff and Kerry Rowel who observed multiple suspects breaking into cars and called the Police Department.  The suspects were arrested and the stolen radios were recovered.  Chief Robshaw read the award wording.  

CM Callahan acknowledged that Jeff Rowel has assisted on more than one occasion, and complimented how the two officers handled the arrest.   

Mayor and Council Announcements
Mayor Mosley announced there will be a special worksession on Thursday, April 24, which will include speed cameras and red light cameras, newsletter and building use policy, budget, capital improvement program, street light installation request at the corner of Montrose and Cheverly Avenue, recycling contract for electronics, and a request for the Civic Association for sign postings in Boyd Park.  There is a mistake in the Newsletter in that there is not a worksession on Thursday, May 1.  The special budget worksession will be held on Thursday, May 29.   

CM Watson noted that next Thursday Cheverly is hosting the Prince George’s County Municipal Association monthly meeting at Town Hall in the gymnasium.  The Board meeting is at 5:45pm, and the general meeting and the dinner is at 7:00pm.  CM Watson encouraged Council Members, former Council Members, and any interested residents to attend.

Mayor Mosley reminded residents that May is Peace Month in Cheverly.  The Council is sponsoring a Peace Forum on Friday, May 30.  Mayor Mosley noted her FYI noted Saturday rather than Friday, and that it is Memorial Day weekend, which is actually the previous weekend.  The next Newsletter will contain additional information regarding Peace Month.  

Mayor Mosley announced that the School Administration announced it was approved to expand the Montessori Program at Judith P. Hoyer Center.  Mayor Mosley thanked CMs Callahan, Watson, and Eldridge, Jolene Ivey, Victor Ramirez, Doyle Neimann, and Senator Harrington for their work on this initiative.  CM Callahan discussed how CAPS was formed, and their hard work to persuade the School Administration to take a different approach with the program.  CM Callahan thanked the Government, Council, and CAPS for working together to get a K-6th Montessori Program at Hoyer next year.  

CM Callahan also noted that the $1,000,000 for Spellman has been itemized, which will be completed over the summer.  

CM Callahan announced that CAPS will be hosting a meeting with Ms. Bridgewaters at the Community Center on Wednesday, April 23 at 7:30pm.  CM Callahan encouraged everyone with school-aged children to attend.  

CM Callahan noted that Mr. Warrington has been working with WSSC regarding the water tower on top of Tremont Avenue.  WSSC has agreed to meet Cheverly’s deadline of December 2009 to take the tower down, but did not agree to deed the land over to Cheverly for the nature park.  The Town may send one more letter to see if the fence can also be taken down by WSSC.  

CM Schachter noted that the planning for the Farmer’s Markets, thanks to Crystal is going very well, but the business organization is lagging.  The organization should be set up as a charitable organization.  CM Schachter asked any residents with this expertise to contact him or Crystal to volunteer their skills, or the Town may have to discuss taking on the expense to take this action.  
        
Committee Reports
Recreation Council
No report was presented.  

Cheverly Day Report
CM Watson reminded everyone that Cheverly Day will occur on Saturday, May 17.  The Mayor and Council are hosting the Cheverly Dance on Friday, May 16 in the gymnasium, which is going to become a bi-annual event on even years.  The deadline for the magazine is right now, and the magazine should arrive in the mail around May 8.  The Cicada Crunch and the Main Stage are occurring again this year, and details are still being worked on regarding a possible basketball in the gymnasium.  The Council is sponsoring a raffle at the Cheverly Dance for the Cheverly Advocates for Public Schools (CAPS).  Tickets for the Cheverly Dance are available for purchase at either the Cheverly Day website, or at the Community Center during business hours.    
  
Citizen Input
Crystal Lal discussed the Farmer’s Market, which will now be called the Cheverly Community Market.  Over the winter they have been working on getting more local foods into Cheverly.  As of two weeks ago, Maryland’s only operating dairy is delivering to Cheverly.  E-mail crystallal@verizon.net or visit southmountaincreamery.com for more information.  South Mountain Creamery delivers milk, butter, sour cream, etc.  Cheverly currently has 40 subscribers to South Mountain Creamery, which is the minimum requirement in order to keep South Mountain Creamery delivery in Cheverly.  Crystal encouraged more residents to subscribe.  The Cheverly Community Market will have a table at Cheverly Day to raise seed money for the market.  The next Cheverly Community Market will be on Saturday, May 24 in the Community Center parking lot.  Oysters, possibly soft shell crabs and fish, organic vegetables, local produce, soaps, MD wine, bread, tortillas, goat cheese, local pottery, and Cheverly Hot Noodles will be at the next Community Market.  Crystal has committees working on a website, promotions, and a summer solstice dinner.  The biggest challenge is working on obtaining non-profit status.  CM Watson asked if the intention is to have a market every other Saturday.  Crystal Lal clarified that they decided on every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, which will occur at the Community Center rather than the Methodist Church.  Mayor Mosley thanked the Methodist Church for offering to host the market.

Leilah Riazi on Belleview Avenue is excited about the new Hoyer Program.  Ms. Riazi is concerned about the wonderful Cheverly Weekday Nursery program, and wants to bring attention to the fact that the program must have a certain number of students enrolled to continue to operate.  Leilah Riazi noted that the program focuses on imagination and free play, which Ms. Riazi feels is lost in many programs today.  CM Callahan noted that this concern was brought to him and CM Eldridge recently, and that they asked the CAPS group to discuss the issue with their members, which may occur at the meeting on Wednesday, April 23.  

Norman Oslik at 3020 Park Way, Co-Chair of Progressive Cheverly invited residents to their May monthly meeting on Thursday, May 1 at Judith P. Hoyer at 7:00pm.  Progressive Cheverly meetings are held every first Thursday of the month.  The May program includes two speakers, who are Father Bryant of the Welcome Home Re-entry Program with the prison and Angelan Frasier, Deputy Director of State Legislative Affairs for Families Against Mandatory Minimums.       

Presentation Recognizing Election Supervisors Service
Mayor Mosley introduced Former Mayor and Council Member Alan Dwyer who has agreed to serve as an Election Supervisor.  Mr. Dwyer thanked the Town for the appointment, and Dr. Foley for his service, and reminded the Town of the importance of the Board and its responsibilities.  

Mayor Mosley thanked Dr. Foley for his service as Elections Supervisor, and presented him with a gift from the Town.  Joanne Reitz was not able to attend the presentation.  Dr. Foley noted that he hopes the Town will continue to use paper ballots in the future.  Mayor Mosley thanked Dr. Foley and Joanne Reitz for their dedication to the elections.  
   
Discussion Guidelines for Newsletter
Mr. Colaresi explained that the Town Newsletter has only been a Town publication, but the Community has asked for a bulletin board within the Newsletter that announces any community organization event that occurs.  The Town is going to try an experiment, which is to have a Community Bulletin as part of the Newsletter for Town Organizations, which must have at least 50% Cheverly residents as members, a certain number of members, and a lawful purpose.  One issue Mr. Colaresi noted is that the organizations should not have marketing products or making a profit as their primary purpose.  The second issue is to consider how to limit notices, and if should notices be repeated.  The current draft notes each organization can only add one notice per month, which was only a suggestion by Mr. Colaresi to limit organizations from monopolizing the bulletin.    

CM Watson deferred to Mr. Warrington’s workflow with regard to rules regarding running the same announcement for consecutive months.  Mr. Colaresi suggested the Council thinks about it in terms of events, and how far in advance events should be advertised, and also considering each meeting as an event.  CM Watson asked how an organization recites its purpose.  CM Schachter noted that the main point is that the sentiment is to open the Newsletter to allow private groups, with some restrictions to announce their meetings and events.  CM Callahan noted this is great progress on this issue.

Introduction Ordinance O-1-08 Elections and Charter Amendment C-2-08
Mr. Colaresi discussed that it is important for the Board of Elections to be somewhat independent from the Mayor and Council, because they conduct the elections.  The Ordinance and Charter Amendment clarify the role of the Board of Elections, and when the Board of Elections can act on its own.  The Town Attorney is the advisor to the Board of Elections.    

Introduction Ordinance O-2-08 Amending the Fence Ordinance
Mr. Warrington noted that the Town reviewed the current ordinance, and it may be necessary to add to and modify one portion of the ordinance.  Barbed wire is noted as being banned, but razor wire is not listed, and is the preference of industrial and commercial areas.  The Town is concerned that this preference may creep into the residential area.  The Town would like to exclude razor wire in residential areas in the fence ordinance.  Mayor Mosley asked to discuss excluding barbed wire and razor wire from the front of commercial and industrial areas to the Worksession agenda as a further consideration to the fence ordinance amendment.  Mr. Warrington responded that he will look at the covenants to see if there are already restrictions to what is permitted in the front of a business.  Mr. Colaresi noted that the ordinance states that a fence is not permitted adjacent to any avenue, road, or alley so it cannot be adjacent to the public right-of-way.  Mr. Colaresi also noted that the Town could add another provision that a fence is not permitted within so many feet of the public right-of-way.                         

Introduction FY09 Operating Budget and Capital Improvement Program
Mayor Mosley noted that a copy of the detailed budget is available at the Town Office for any interested residents, and that the budget will be on every Worksession and Town Meeting agenda until the budget is passed at the Town Meeting in June.  Mr. Warrington noted that there has been an overall increase in home values in the Town.  The Town’s personal income tax doubled this year.  Mr. Warrington has tried to find out from the State what caused the taxes to double, and if the Town can plan on this being repeated for budget planning purposes, but the State will not commit to this level of taxes being repeated.  The State encouraged the Town to take the average from the last 2 years, which is what was done for the Town’s budget.  The Town has taken a hard line with the staff on maintaining line items where they were set.  Due to the higher level of personal income taxes, and holding to the set budget for expenses the Town is expected to be in the black this year at $626,000.  The proposed budget for next year is in the red $-34,000 for a $4,000,000+ budget.  There are many tough choices that were made including putting off obtaining much-needed equipment.  Some of the expenses are due to the County going to a new radio system to make sure everyone can communicate.  The issue is that the Town is facing $150,000 in capital investment to switch to the new radio system.  The County has discussed the possibility of cost-sharing, but that has not come to fruition to this point.  The expense has not been written into the FY 09 budget, because a definitive date has not been set for the change over to the new radio system.  Mr. Warrington suggested that the Town makes sure there are sufficient funds available in case the change to the new radio system occurs in FY 09.  Mr. Warrington also discussed the aging Police Department fleet.  The expense to replace some of the vehicles is not in the FY 09 budget at this time.  Mr. Warrington noted that the tax cap was increased from $0.48 to $0.58.  If the Town only takes in the same amount of revenue in FY 09 as FY 08 the rate would need to decrease to $0.43, which the Town will have hearings on to discuss.  The Washington-Metropolitan area is an expensive place to live.  The cost of living index provided by the Department of Labor used for Town employees is at 5% this year, which has been included in the FY 09 budget.  The Town has a piece of property, which the Town may be able to sell.  The Town would most likely breakeven on the sale, but it is an important part of a project. The $75,000 Livable Communities grant is completed so it is no longer on the Town books.  Mr. Warrington also noted that he has included all of the expenses and reimbursements for the Development Program Open Space project in the budget although some expenses and reimbursements could flow into the following year due to timing.  Mr. Warrington was hoping that a speed camera or mobile red light cameras would assist with offsetting the new radio system expenses, but most recently speed cameras did not get passed.  Mr. Warrington stated that some line items had to be increased due to known or expected increases due to rising oil prices and other rising consumer prices, but the Town did hold the line on many line items.  Mr. Warrington also noted that postage prices are increasing $0.01.

CM Callahan reiterated that the Town originally expected to finish the current year in the red -$173,000, but through the work of the Town Department Heads and additional revenue the Town is expected to finish in the black $626,000.  Unfortunately, the savings and revenue are not structurally built into the budget.  CM Callahan noted that he would never view red light cameras as revenue, but as a public safety issue.  Mayor Mosley noted many hours are spent by the Police Department monitoring speed control, and if a portion of the income could come to the Municipalities rather than all going to the State it could assist the Town with increasing its number of Police Officers, and its presence patrolling the Town.  

CM Watson asked Mr. Warrington if 5811 is the Palm Reader house, and Mr. Warrington confirmed that 5811 is the address of the former Palm Reader’s house.  

CM Schachter noted that the Community Market is going to be an asset to the Town, but there is risk for Ms. Lal unless an organization is formed and the necessary insurance and licensing is acquired.  CM Schachter discussed the concerns with Mr. Colaresi, and the Town Attorney suggested the Town determine an interim solution.  CM Schachter suggested presenting the Community Market as a Town function, and compensating Ms. Lal as a part time Town employee.  Mr. Colaresi noted that any fees collected would be given to the Town, and could not be given to Ms. Lal.  Mayor Mosley noted there is some resistance to this idea from other Council Members, because other Town organization representatives are not compensated.  CM Callahan would prefer to find ways to set up the separate organization faster rather than using the interim solution.  CM Schachter asked if the Town Attorney could find out the costs of hiring an attorney to set up the organization.  Mayor Mosley asked Mr. Colaresi to contact an individual that may be able to assist with the issue.  Mr. Colaresi clarified that he can contact and recommend an attorney, but then it is the attorney’s job to determine the needs of the Community Market if it is not going to be a Town function, and the Town would be limited to a grant to assist the organization with being formed.  CM Ford noted that this may need to be a partnership in the interim.  Mayor Mosley noted this discussion can continue at the Worksession.  CM Callahan asked Mr. Colaresi to note the 3-4 options and the pros and cons of each, in particular the timetable.  Mr. Colaresi would like to know the direction of the Council with regard to making the event a Town function versus a separate organization.  CM Schachter prefers to have the Community Market as a separate entity, which is funded by a grant from the Town.  CM Callahan would also prefer to have it as a separate entity to avoid the Town getting into the details of running the market.  CM Watson prefers running the Community Market similar to Cheverly Day.  CM Schachter does not want to run the Community Market similar to Cheverly Day, because it leaves volunteers exposed to liability unless the organization is formalized legally.  Mayor Mosley will discuss the options further with the Town Attorney.    

Norman Oslik of 3020 Park Way asked if the budget could be placed on the web site, which has been discussed in the past.  Mr. Warrington responded that the budget is available on the web site.                

Discussion Stormdrain Labeling
Mayor Mosley noted this issue was brought to the Council several years ago in order to educate people to treasure the water ways into which the stormdrains feed.  The volunteers would stencil wording on the stormdrains, such as do not dump or do not pollute.  The Council rejected the proposal many years ago, because upon visiting Hyattsville to see how its stenciling was done the Council was not satisfied with the way in which the stenciling was completed.  The Council also questioned if the stenciling would accomplish the goal of preventing people from polluting the water ways.  The issue has been brought up again by many Town Organizations, and semi-permanent decals have been presented to the Council in addition to pricing.  Mayor Mosley stated that this is an introduction, the Council is seriously considering the proposal, and that information will also be placed in the Newsletter to obtain further feedback from residents.  CM Callahan noted this is an education program, which includes the stormdrain markers in addition to other forms of education, such as door hangers or stickers.  CM Ford was against the original proposal, but he is in favor of the new proposal.  

Norman Oslik of 3020 Park Way presented a sample of the stormdrain decals and door hangers on behalf of Cynthia Robinson.  

Discussion Magruder Spring
CM Callahan discussed that last September the Town asked residents for suggestions for Magruder Spring in the Newsletter.  The residents who are working on this issue have a vision, which is to teach residents about Cheverly history, hydrology, and the environment.  CM Callahan noted there will be something in the Cheverly Day Brochure asking residents to participate.  The County wants to resolve the stormdrain problem at Magruder Spring, but at the same time may be willing to add other benefits to the area, such as an access ramp.  Over the next two weeks the Town needs to refine its vision so that it works in conjunction with the County’s work at Magruder Spring.  A meeting is scheduled to discuss the vision for Magruder Spring on Monday, April 14 at 7:30pm at Town Hall.  Mayor Mosley noted that the Town wants to ensure that if the County puts in an access ramp that it works with future ideas, such as adding a bike trail.  

Meeting adjourned at 10:20 pm.
Town of Cheverly
Summary of Action
April 10, 2008

1. CM Callahan moved to excuse CM Eldridge.  Seconded by CM Ford.  Unanimously approved.












 
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