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Minutes of June 4, 2001

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Town of Riverdale Park

Mayor and Council Legislative Session

Call To Order

The legislative session of the Mayor and Council was called to order. Present were Councilmember's Feldberg, Blaschke, Tiberio, Davis, Almirez and Scott. Also present were Police Chief Evans, Public Works Supervisor Donaldson and Administrator Prangley.

Pledge Of Allegiance And Invocation

The Mayor led the pledge of allegiance and read the invocation.

Approval Of Minutes

CM Davis made the motion to approve the May 2nd legislative meeting minutes. CM Donaldson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

CM Tiberio made the motion to approve the May 8th special legislative meeting minutes. CM Davis seconded the motion. CM Davis noted that her name had been omitted from the list of attendees The motion with friendly amendment passed unanimously.

CM Tiberio made the motion to approve the April meeting minutes. CM Herman seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Correspondence Summary

Upon request, Mr. Prangley read aloud the May 16th letter from MNCPPC to the Mayor and Council, regarding the pedestrian entrance to Riverdale Park at 51st and Somerset Avenue. Plans for 2 different park entrance improvement plans were suggested and a decision for the Town's preference was requested.

Treasurer's Report

Mr. Prangley presented the balances of the Treasurer's Report in summary.

CM Donaldson made the motion to approve the Treasurer's Report, subject to audit.

CM Herman seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Farewells

Mayor Ferguson, CM Donaldson and CM Gross, each individually made farewell remarks and thanked constituents for their support and the opportunity to serve the residents of Riverdale Park.

Swearing In of New Mayor & Council

Rosslyn E. Pugh, Clerk of the Circuit Court, swore in the new Mayor and Council.

Acknowledgements

Frank Randall presented plaques to Mayor Ferguson, CM Donaldson and CM Gross on behalf of the Town in thanks for their years of service. Ken Laurie's presented an engraved tray to Mayor Ferguson.

Introductions

Mayor Herman introduced the new Council providing the time for each to make introductory remarks. Mayor Herman also made an accession speech highlighting his vision for the Town and changes he plans to make:

Expand the economic base to lessen the burden on taxpayers.

Greater inclusiveness in decision making.

Recommend charter amendments to give council colleagues greater responsibility and authority over decisions that will affect everyone in Town.

Promote expansion of citizen participation in new programs designed to improve local quality of life.

Work hard to ensure seniors feel integrated into the community, and not isolated in their homes, as they're the embodiment of the history the Town strives hard to preserve.

He further noted that in light of recent local and national economic news, there will be challenges and hard decisions to make as the Town approaches a budget cycle with the first projected deficit in 8 years. Mayor Herman closed acknowledging the public's demand that their representatives work together, and committed that they would all do so.

Reception Break

A 15 minute break followed for citizens to meet their new Mayor and Council. Prior to the break, CM Tiberio presented the gift of a new gavel to the new Mayor.

Approval of Agenda

CM Tiberio made a motion to approve agenda items. CM Davis seconded the motion. CM Davis requested additions to the agenda. There were no public comments. The motion passed unanimously.

Mayor's Report

Mayor Herman waved the official Mayor's report for the evening stating that brief matters involving legislation and other items would be addressed later in the evening.

The Mayor expressed thanks to the Town staff for their help in the transition since the election. He also asked Council members to have board appointments from each of their wards for the Recreation Board. He proposed to the Council that a rotating schedule be arranged so that the Mayor and Council are represented at the Farmer's Market each week for those who would want to address issues and concerns.

Public Comments

Peggy Lipton, 4802 Somerset Road, asked why promised road improvements had not been done and when residents could expect them to be done. Mr. Prangley explained that the Town had applied for financial help from PG County under a co-op agreement on the $100K plus storm drain project, but the County's involvement had delayed the project. The earliest projected date would be this fall.

Mayor Herman asked Mr. Prangley to arrange a meeting between concerned citizens and the Town's engineer, Mr. Woo, to discuss the possibility of doing the mid-block work prior to the storm water project getting underway in the fall.

Geraldine Bryant of B&B Group Homes, asked for another meeting between herself and Cleveland Ave residents concerned about the 4-occupancy group home she is working to establish in their neighborhood. A meeting was scheduled for June 11th at 7:30pm in Town Hall.

Dr. Alan Thompson, 4711 Sheridan Street, provided copies of Riverdale Park's Vision of the Future documents new Mayor and Council. Dr. Thompson requested biographical info and updates for the website and noted that emails can be forwarded directly from the site to Councilmembers if they were interested.

Phil Bailey, 4800 Somerset Rd, said the Boys and Girls Club are interested in erecting two 2-post Plexiglas-covered signs to display B&G Club activities and announcements - one at the Field of Dreams and one outside the B&G Clubhouse at Riverdale Park. They're also interested in repainting the faded Town logo on one side of the NOAH sign located at the Field of Dreams, and using the side of the sign facing Tuckerman to paint their logo. Mr. Bailey agreed to submit a proposal letter for consideration at the June worksession. If agreed to, residents affected by the sign on Tuckerman would be contacted as well.

Action Items

Request for Driveway Improvements at 5307 Powhattan Road

Mr. Donaldson said he'd looked into the matter as previously discussed and found that the last record of improvements on Powhattan the Town had paid for was CDBG FY 83 - 84. He'd been unable to reach previous residents who'd moved to confirm who'd paid for driveway improvements since then, others he didn't have numbers for. Mayor Herman asked Mr. Donaldson to call him at home to get numbers for a few he thinks he has numbers for. CM Tiberio suggested requesting the Town's cost estimates in case it is the Town's responsibility. Mrs. Grade noted that the two addresses at issue are 5311 and 5307 Powhattan. Mayor Herman suggested that action be deferred until next week when the issue would be discussed at the next special legislative meeting.

Street Closing for June 10th Arts Festival

CM Davis made a motion that Rhode Island Avenue be closed between Riverdale Road and Queensbury Rd on June 10th from noon until 5:00pm for the Arts Festival. CM Scott seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. CM Feldberg announced that artists interested in participating should contact the Bookstore for details.

June Worksession Date

CM Tiberio made the motion that the June worksession be moved to June 18th at 8pm because the Mayor and Council would be attending the MMCC on the regularly scheduled evening. The motion was seconded by CM Davis. The motion passed unanimously.

Committee Assignments

Mayor Herman proposed that responsibilities of the Buildings and Grounds Committee be moved under Public Works Committee, and that the Buildings and Grounds Committee be replaced by the Economic Development Committee.

Mayor Herman announced the following committee assignments:

Public Safety Committee

Chairperson: Lissa Scott

Committee members: Christina Davis and Guy Tiberio

Finance Committee

Chairperson: Guy Tiberio

Committee members: Cynthia Blaschke and Rebecca Feldberg

Public Works

Chairperson: Rebecca Feldberg

Committee Members: Jose Almirez and Guy Tiberio

Legislative Committee

Chairperson: Cynthia Blaschke

Committee Members: Christina Davis and Lissa Scott

Community Affairs

Chairperson: Jose Almirez

Committee Members: Rebecca Feldberg and Lissa Scott

Economic Development

Chairperson: Christina Davis

Committee Members: Jose Almirez and Cynthia Blaschke

CM Davis made a motion to approve the appointments. CM Tiberio seconded the motion.

Council Discussion

CM Davis asked about guidelines for the new Economic Development Committee. Mayor Herman suggested that the Chairperson develop guidelines and recommended that there be an outline before the committee meets formally. He explained the committee would oversee redevelopment operations and responsibilities, particularly dealing with the Town Center, Route 1 Corridor, Kenilworth Avenue or other issues related to economic development and redevelopment that may become part of the committee's charge.

CM Feldberg and Mayor Herman discussed her inquiry about a change to best serve the Town with CM Almirez's talents, but after explanation, the Council agreed that appointments would remain as proposed.

Public Comment

Alan Thompson, 4711 Sheridan Street, explained that he'd expressed concerns about the Finance Chair appointment to Mayor Herman in a phone conversation, noting the history of the Town's finances under Mr. Tiberio's oversight had not been stellar. He said he'd spent significant amounts of time looking into rumors he'd heard since moving to Riverdale Park, about financial mismanagement during the time Mr. Tiberio was Mayor, and two previous years he'd served as Financial Committee Chairperson. Dr. Thompson explained that no one he'd spoken to could substantiate stories he'd heard, however, he'd seen blank spots in documents he'd reviewed and noted that, with the exception of an increase one year following a tax increase, fund balances decreased each year Mr. Tiberio served. Copies of documentation were provided for the Council's review. Dr. Thompson expressed his confidence in the many protections built into the system, but encouraged everyone to pay attention and exercise diligence He asked Mayor Herman why he chose CM Tiberio for this position.

Mayor Herman answered that in his 8 years serving on the Council, he'd never heard committee appointments challenged. He explained that his reasons for the appointment had to do with Mr. Tiberio's experience and his confidence in his abilities, skills and years of service, noting that these would serve the Town well considering the financial challenges ahead.

Dr. Thompson said he didn't intend his question about the Mayor's reasons for the appointment to be a challenge at all, and that he'd invested significant time looking into stories he'd heard to be sure his question wasn't a challenge of the appointment. He then expressed his hope that everyone would work together for the good of the Town.

Mayor Herman noted in closing, that he didn't believe the Town's financial situation was as good as had been presented earlier in the evening before he took office.

The Council voted on the motion and second. The motion passed unanimously.

Mayor's Privilege and Prerogative

Mayor Herman said he was utilizing the privilege and prerogative of his office to appoint a Vice Mayor. He explained that he was going to propose charter changes that would provide for a more egalitarian approach to government where everyone is integrally involved. The Town government would actually be run by everyone on the Council, the Chief of Police, Town Administrator, and Public Works Director, instead of a top down management style. He noted that he has a full time job and can't be everywhere, all of the time, so the Vice Mayor position would serve as ambassador on behalf of the Town in times when he is required to be somewhere he cannot be.

Mayor Herman said he was naming Christina Davis as Vice Mayor because of her experience serving the Town, familiarity with the function and workings of government, and that she is a trustworthy individual. CM Tiberio made a motion to approve the appointment. CM Scott seconded the motion. There was no Council discussion or public comment on the matter so the Council voted. The motion passed unanimously.

Mayor Herman announced that Timothy Maloney would no longer serve as the Town's attorney. Mr. Maloney had agreed to serve as interim counsel until a replacement was found, and he would continue to serve on matters to which he was presently assigned. CM Tiberio made a motion for the change. CM Davis seconded the motion. There was no Council discussion and no public comment on the matter. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Thompson, 4711 Sheridan Street, noted for the record that since formal measures were being adopted, the charter also required that rules of order be adopted. Mayor Herman said that they would refer to the charter and the July session, and follow Robert's Rules of Order in the meantime.

Committee and Ward Reports

Ward 1 - Rebecca Feldberg

No report

Ward 2 - Cynthia Blaschke

In response to a street light request from a resident on 51st Ave., a quote for installation of has been requested from PEPCO for review by the Council prior to installation, hopefully in the near future.

During the campaign, residents raised several traffic issues, some related to Town improvements and construction, others related to their location, as with Madison Hill residents. These questions and others related to speed humps and traffic calming devices will be addressed at the Traffic Study Committee meeting tomorrow evening.

Ward 3 - Guy Tiberio

CM Tiberio and Mayor Herman discussed the need to meet and discuss the tax rates and look at the budget. It was agreed that a finance meeting will follow an Executive Session meeting on June 6th at 7pm. Mr. Prangley reminded everyone of the state deadline regarding changes in tax rates and explained the process, including public notification and a hearing. It was agreed that inquiry would be made about advertising in the paper to meet requirements and the meeting would be changed if necessary to meet the state deadline of June 17th for notification of a change.

Mr. Kiernan of Riverdale Rd asked for clarification about the constant yield tax rate, the tax cap, and what had been discussed about the issue at a previous meeting.

Mr. Donaldson provided the Public Works report (the tape did not pick up what he said - dead microphone?).

Ward 4 - Christina Davis

There was no Fire Department report.

Chief Evans read the police report. Mrs. Grade of Powhattan Street asked the Chief if individual ward reports were available to citizens as well. Chief Evans explained that some of the information is privileged because addresses are listed, but general ward reports can be obtained by calling the police department and asking for Mr. Pazak.

CM Davis gave CM Scott the General Orders Manual for the Police Department. She recommended a ride along, and attendance of the Police Municipal Academy for citizens. Chief Evans commended both to anyone who was interested.

CM Davis noted that she'd received several code complaints during the campaign. If anyone has a code complaint they should call 301-927-6381 to report a violation.

CM Davis hopes to soon wrap up the Building Standards Committee Standards they'd been working on regarding architectural compatibility guidelines. The work had been stalled by county legislation.

CM Davis plans to set up guidelines for a Route 1 Corridor Redevelopment Committee at the June worksession. She also expressed interest in overhauling the elections manual and would like a citizens advisory committee to do that. She has suggestions outside the basic guidelines for dealing with the Town Crier and website, and would like to set up a citizens advisory committee for that as well.

Ward 5 - Jose Almirez

CM Almirez said residents have complained about traffic and speeding along 54th Avenue and field to Riverdale Road. Residents believe traffic is too heavy on both sides of 54th Avenue. It was noted that these issues should also be raised at the Traffic Study Committee.

Ward 6 - Lissa Scott

The 6100 block of 54th Avenue experienced problems with debris filling the spillway which was causing serious problems with rats and Asian tiger mosquitoes. She learned that PG County Department of Public Works Office and Transportation Office of Highway Storm Drainage Division deal with spillway problems. If anyone needs to reach them about a similar matter you can call CPWT at 301-499-8500.

If anyone has a problem to report related to activities in the Parks, please use one of the following numbers to reach park police:

Emergency number: 301-459-3232 (i.e.: drug or alcohol related activities)

Non-emergency number: 301-459-9088 (i.e.: noise problems)

CM Scott thanked the police department for their quick response to an attempted break in call at her home on April 5th. Officer Clites responded so quickly that the attempt was unsuccessful.

CM Scott noted several individuals who'd received special awards or commendations:

Dr. Alan Thompson received the Governors Volunteer Service Award from Kathleen Kennedy Townsend at the Baltimore Convention Center on April 2nd.

Donald Souls received a Certificate of Appreciation on May 29th from the Riverdale Park Police for his service.

Mrs. Betty Johnson of Greenway Drive sends her appreciation to Public Works for their help with a drainage problem she reported at the corner of Greenway Drive. Mr. Donaldson's crew trenched ditches around a tree at that corner for improved drainage which cleared up the problem.

Old Business

None

New Business

CM Tiberio reminded the Mayor that they still needed to reconcile the current budget before the end of the fiscal year and adopt a new budget. It was agreed that they would see how things move at a meeting the following evening and announce what would need to be done to accomplish the task at the worksession.

Public Comment

Dave Sutton apologized for not having a fire department report available due to other conflicts. He also noted that the fire department had space to accommodate the Boy Scout meeting scheduled for the following night at the Town Hall if the Council needed to move them to accommodate their meeting.

He also noted that there is a traffic problem every afternoon at Greenway Drive due to construction on Kenilworth Avenue. The Do Not Enter sign isn't working where it's placed and recommended that it be moved to the big tree at the entrance to alleviate misuse of the route as a traffic short cut.

Adjournment

CM Davis made the motion to adjourn. CM Tiberio seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Minutes prepared from videotape. by Mary Paradiso

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