Town of Cheverly
May 8, 2008
Call to Order
Mayor Mosley called the meeting to order at 8:00 pm in the Cheverly Community Center. There were 3 residents in attendance.
In attendance: Mayor Mosley, Mr. Warrington, Chief Robshaw, and CMs. Callahan, Ford, Johnson, Schachter, and Watson.
Pledge of Allegiance
§ CM Callahan moved to excuse CM Eldridge. Seconded by CM Ford. Unanimously approved.
Mayor Mosley introduced the new Council Member for Ward 5, Vernell Johnson and asked him to be seated with the Council.
§ CM Schachter moved to appoint Vernell Johnson as Council Member for Ward 5. Seconded by CM Watson. Unanimously approved.
Mayor Mosley swore in CM Johnson. CM Johnson thanked Mayor Mosley and Council for their support, and Chief Robshaw for providing him with a previous position with the Cheverly Police Department.
Minutes – Town Meeting 3/13/2008
Approved as written.
Minutes – Town Meeting 4/10/2008
Approval Deferred to Worksession
Minutes – Worksession 4/24/2008
Approved as written.
Town Administrator Report
Mr. Warrington reported that they are preparing for Cheverly Day, which is keeping Public Works very busy. The Fire Marshall is set for the fireworks.
CM Watson asked if the Town Office is closed on Monday, May 26 in observance of Memorial Day, which Mr. Warrington confirmed. CM Watson also asked if Mr. Warrington is finished fixing the email system, and if the Virtual Town Hall has implemented the new policy. Mr. Warrington confirmed. Mayor Mosley added that the new policy related to “deletes.”
Police Department Report
Chief Robshaw reported that crime continues to drop compared to last year, but there was a rise in crime this month as compared to previous months. In April there were 4 assaults, 3 of which were closed by arrest, and 2 domestic incidents. There were 6 breaking and entering crimes, which is the highest number this year, 4 of which were in the apartments. There were 3 robberies, and 1 is pending arrest. There was only 1 stolen auto this month. Chief Robshaw stated that he is concerned about the rise in truancy, trespassing and loitering, and drugs. He noted that aggressive enforcement is coming shortly to address these concerns.
Chief Robshaw presented the Chief Award to Robert Rascoe who witnessed and reported suspects attempting to gain entry into a neighbor’s home. Mr. Rascoe followed the suspects who attempted to leave the scene. Mr. Rascoe directed the Police to the suspects which resulted in their apprehension.
Chief Robshaw announced that CPACT has a new blog site. The web address is http//www.cpact.squarespace.com.
Chief Robshaw also announced that a grant application was submitted to the state of Maryland, which requests funds to update the Cheverly Police force’s radio frequency. Also, the grant application requests 20 portable radios. The radios would be dispersed to Cheverly residents throughout town to immediately report suspicious activity to patrol officers, or direct officers to specific sites where crimes may be in progress. The requested funds are $12,000. Chief Robshaw expects to hear from the State in June.
Chief Robshaw stated that “contractors” have been hired by residents recently for various home projects. Several times the contractors partially finished the work, did not return to the site, and failed to provide homeowners a refund for the unfinished work. In six cases Cheverly police were able to help residents obtain some money back or money entitled for the incomplete work. Chief Robshaw encourages residents to contact Maryland home improvement agencies to determine if they have permits. Mayor Mosley congratulated Cheverly’s police officers for their efforts.
Mayor and Council Announcements
Mayor Mosley announced that May is Peace Month, and that the Mayor and Council will be sponsering the Peace Forum on May 30. There will be a special work session on May 29, which will be devoted to the budget. The next work session will be on May 22, and will discuss the budget, the farmer’s market, incorporation and insurance, the recycling contract for electronic equipment, appointment of planning board members, street light installation, and the capital improvement program.
CM Callahan notes that in a previous session it was stated that the town would have a $600,000 surplus revenue, but now it looks as though that was not correct. Mayor Mosley stated that this subject will be discussed later this evening.
Mayor Mosley stated that there was no one present for the recreation council.
Cheverly Day Report
Nick D’Angelo announced that there were tables still available for the May 16 Cheverly Day Dance. Mayor Mosley stated that Mr. Warrington confirmed that alcoholic beverages are permitted on the premises for May 16. Nick D’Angelo paid the Town back for the mailing of the Cheverly Book. There is no Cheverly Day parade this year. The race starts at 10:00am. There will be a variety of games and activities on the mid-way, food vendors, and fireworks. The Saturday before Cheverly Day, there is a plant sale, tennis tournament, and Peace Concert.
Mayor Mosley announced that there may not be a Cheverly Book next year. Nick D’Angelo confirmed that may be true given the costs associated with producing the Book.
Joyce Lang announced that the Peace Concert would be on Saturday at 2:00pm at the Peace Garden. Joyce Lang requested that the CM’s speak briefly at the Peace Concert if present. Also, there will be a Peace exhibit at Cheverly Day. The Peace Forum is scheduled for May 30 at 7:00pm in the community center. Joyce Lang stated that she is planning a “living room dialogue” for June to discuss expanding Peace beyond the month of May. She noted that she has requested money from the Town Council and other groups.
Mayor Mosley announced that Public Works will assist with the Peace Concert, and that the council has donated funds for the Peace Forum. Mayor Mosley requested clarification on whether additional funds were needed. Joyce Lang stated there were 4 different items needing funds: 1) reimbursement for 2 peace signs ($160); 2) reimbursement for $240 for three peace signs; 3) $500 4) $200 for Friends of Little Peace for their May 20th program.
Norman Oslik of Parkway announced on behalf of progressive Cheverly that there would be a June 5 general meeting and the speaker will be Andrea Harrision, County Council member for District 5. The meeting will be located at the Judith Hoyer School at 7:00pm.
Joyce Lang announced that David Harrington had a resolution that he will bring on Cheverly Day. Joyce received an email from his office stating that specifics were needed. Joyce requested that Mayor Mosley let the office know it would be before the fireworks.
Discussion Guidelines for Newsletter
Mayor Mosley stated that the guidelines were still under consideration and may be voted on next month.
Richard Colaresi stated that the draft guidelines: 1) define “submission”; 2) clarify the difference between “submission” and “publication”; 3) changed the use of partisan or political groups; and 4) attempts to use the term “town organization” consistently. The new guidelines main focus is the community events or community bulletin section, which allows a town organization to register with the town and then advertise its event in the community bulletin section. The requirements primary purpose is not for profit, must submit a statement to that effect to the town, and that the organization allowed for a certain amount of space for the event. The town will allow two notices immediately in advance of the event. Mr. Colaresi attempted to
include all comments from prior meetings in his May 2 draft.
Mayor Mosley noted that this is a fairly specific area, and that the intention is to look at the newsletters uses and other issues in the future. She also noted that emails from residents were included in the development of the draft.
CM Watson asked if this draft is available to the public. Mayor Mosley confirmed that it is available.
Mr. Colaresi requested comments by the CMs before the May 20 worksession. Mayor Mosley suggested publishing the draft guidelines in the newsletter before voting.
Second Reading Ordinance O-1-08 Elections
Mr. Colaresi stated that this ordinance clarifies the function of the Board of Elections and function of the town attorney (or separately appointed attorney) and the interaction between the attorney and council. Mayor Mosley stated that this is up for adoption next month.
Second Reading Charter Amendment CA-2-08
Mayor Mosley stated that this is the second reading.
Second Reading Ordinance O-2-08 Amending the Fence Ordinance
Mayor Mosley stated that this is the second reading on amending the fence ordinance. This amendment is up for adoption next month.
Mr. Warrington stated that this is a clarification of the fence ordinance, specifically with respect to barb wire and razor wire. The current legislation does not specifically address the use of these types of wire. The amendment would ban the use of these types of wire in residential areas.
Resolution R-8-08 Approving a Mutual Aid Agreement Regarding Police Services
Mr. Warrington stated that this resolution authorizes the town of Cheverly, through Mayor and Council vote, to enter into negotiated agreement Prince George’s County. The purpose of the resolution is to improve communication and cooperation between the Cheverly Police Department and Prince George’s County Police Department. It contains the requirements as set forth by Maryland law. The resolution also may cover potential legal issues with respect to leaving jurisdictions. The mutual aid agreement attempts to provide protection to Cheverly’s police and County officers when they assist each other.
§ Vice Mayor Ford moved to pass resolution R-8-08 Approving a Mutual Aid Agreement Regarding Police Services between the town of Cheverly and Prince George’s County. Seconded by CM Callahan (then withdrawn). Seconded by CM Johnson. Unanimously approved.
Discussion FY09 Operating Budget and Capital Improvement Program
Mr. Warrington stated there have been some changes to the numbers stated at last month’s meeting. The issue in question was the amount of money targeted, which was listed in the intergovernmental income tax receipts. It was incorrectly categorized; it was actually real estate taxes. The money is still here it has just been correctly categorized. Also, an adjustment was made to revenue. The estimated actual year for 2008 is approximately $144,000 in the black. The projected budget for 2009 is $78,000 in the red. Cars on a leased payment schedule were included. The town will announce the new property tax rate in the near future. If the projected revenue fluctuates up or down, that will affect the new tax rate.
CM Schachter stated that the tax rates will not be going down. The town desperately needs new equipment for Public Works, maintaining and repairing our streets, equipment for the police department, and other smaller important items. CM Schachter suggested that there should be a program in place to maintain and repair the streets. Therefore, a tax increase is necessary to active these goals.
CM Watson believes that road work is necessary. CM Watson also stated it is important that the CMs develop a list of priorities. It is not going to be the Finance Committee’s recommendation that we raise property taxes.
CM Callahan stated that the State incorrectly posted a payment amount to the town’s account, therefore, our forecast was off by approximately $600,000 in revenue. Because the town believed there was this additional revenue, it did not anticipate raising taxes for the coming year. CM Callahan recommends possibly not performing certain capital improvements and tightening the spending. He stated that he believes this will not affect the town’s integrity. CM Callahan also stated that we should not raise taxes for next year as promised to Cheverly’s residents.
Mayor Mosley stated that the budget does not include additional leased cars. If we sold the property at the Pointe at Cheverly, we may be able to purchase a basic truck with the proceeds Until then, we are otherwise without that $300,000 surplus.
Mayor Mosley stated that the cost of living increase for town employees is in the budget. In addition, the County police will be going to a new radio system. All municipalities that don’t have there own radio system will need to upgrade to communicate with the County. It will cost approximately $150,000 to upgrade our radio system. The town is requesting assistance from the State to help defray this cost. However, given the large sum, the town is putting money aside toward this expenditure. It is anticipated that the upgrade will occur by 2010.
Mayor Mosley further stated that we don’t have money in the budget for tearing down the palm reader house purchased with Project Open Space money. The Town would like to return the structure to green space.
Vice Mayor Ford stated that those interested in participating in the budget discussion should come to the work session.
CM Callahan encouraged input from the community. He stated that the subcategories within the budget are driving the increases in the budget, such as the associated costs of having town employees.
Mayor Mosley stated that we still may not increase taxes.
Storm Drain Stenciling Update
CM Callahan stated that at the intersection of Belleview and Inwood, there is storm drain stenciling. The purpose of the stenciling is to point out that anything that goes in the storm drain will flow to the Chesapeake Bay. It has a positive impact but it is somewhat unsightly. Progressive Cheverly, the Environmental Impact Group, Friends of Lower Beaver Dam, and the Garden Club have expressed concern and put forth a proposal for the stenciling. CM Callahan believes that these groups are attempting to obtain a grant. The decals on the storm drains can be attractive, and may last 15-18 years. He also recommends a general education campaign on this issue. The Town Council will vote on this issue in the near future.
Mayor Mosley stated that this is the second announcement of this issue.
CM Schachter agreed that the decals are attractive and make a very positive statement and contribution to the appearance of the town. It also reflects a community that demonstrates pride in the environment.
Update on Explosions Meeting
Mayor Mosley stated that she has not heard any explosions recently. She believes that we have the attention of the County on this issue. There is a meeting scheduled in Senator Harrington’s office May 12 to discuss the issue, and there may be approximately $50,000 in the DER budget to investigate the explosions. The County has had several meetings independent of ours discussing this.
Support Our Troops Project
Farmer’s Market Discussion
CM Schachter advised a group of individuals organizing the market to purchase insurance to cover any liability issues.
Magruder Springs Project
CM Callahan advised that a group of citizens have been working with the County regarding the refurbishing of the Magruder Spring. He noted the history and issues related to the project and that the final solution will hopefully address all the concerns of the different parties.
Meeting adjourned at 10:50 pm.
Town of Cheverly
Summary of Action
May 8, 2008
1. CM Callahan moved to excuse CM Eldridge. Seconded by CM Ford. Unanimously approved.
2. CM Schachter moved to appoint Vernell Johnson for Council Member for Ward 5. Seconded by CM Watson. Unanimously approved.
3. Vice Mayor Ford moved to pass resolution R-8-08 Approving a Mutual Aid Agreement Regarding Police Services between the town of Cheverly and Prince George’s County. Seconded by CM Callahan (then withdrawn). Seconded by CM Johnson. Unanimously approved.