City Council Talks Taxis, Fees & More
Havre de Grace Patch recaps the proceedings from City Hall.
Below is a recap of Monday's City Council meeting from our live blog coverage:
9:07 p.m.: The meeting adjourns.
9:06 p.m.: Councilman Miller asks for an amendment to the initial motion to go into a closed session, requesting to add the road code ordinances to the closed session to consult the ordinances with legal counsel. Council approved the amendment, 5-1.
Councilman Craig is the lone vote against the amended movement.
Council then voted unanimously to go into session to discuss the ordinances.
9:05 p.m.: Council president Bill Martin calls for a closed session to discuss land acquisition following Monday's meeting. Martin requested the presence of city attorney Paul Ishak, director of administration Carol Mathis and director of finance George DeHority.
Martin notes that the proposed Havre de Grace license plate has already received 50 inquiries.
8:55 p.m.: IWIF recently recognized Havre de Grace for its workplace safety efforts.
Of 21,900 policy-holders with IWIF, Havre de Grace was one of just 41 employers recognized.
8:52 p.m.: Mayor Dougherty recommended the state looks to the municipalities for an example of how to survive tough economic times.
"What goes on down in Annapolis is a cryin' shame," Mayor Dougherty said. "Again, folks, we're doing our best at a local level to keep us all afloat."
8:45 p.m.: Councilman Randy Craig joked that he recoup any time he's cut back on recent addresses and use it tonight.
Craig began by addressing the need for a new school with a magnet program in Havre de Grace. Craig pointed that a recent convention for high school juniors called Futures 11 included 450 students from some of the county's magnet programs, with students representing Harford Tech, Bel Air, Edgewood, Joppatowne and Aberdeen high schools.
"There are students from Havre de Grace that attended this event. They just don’t attend Havre de Grace High School now. They attend one of these elite programs," Craig said. "What the Harford County Public Schools system has done is created a system of school choice, and it’s choice for some and not everyone. This community depends on this school."
Craig also spoke on the shortfalls of the Maryland General Assembly, noting that while there were a number of bills that failed, there was a bill passed pertaining to fantasy football.
8:38 p.m.: Councilman Fred Cullum, local region president for the Maryland Municipal League, said the MML will meet this weekend in LaPlata—rather than Annapolis—as the community remembers the tornado that hit 10 years ago Saturday.
8:37 p.m.: Councilwoman Barbara Wagner wished everyone a happy Earth Week.
The River Sweep will be held Saturday.
The Green Team's community garden efforts have focused on a Market Street lot between the former Save-a-Lot building and antique shop. Wagner said the soil is being tested for ability to grow vegetables.
8:25 p.m.: Councilman John Correri thanks members of the Susquehanna Hose Company for their ongoing efforts. Correri and other members of council attended the SHCO annual banquet Saturday.
8:23 p.m.: Councilman Jim Miller said the planning committee has been working hard on the zoning task force. The next meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on April 24 at City Hall.
8:14 p.m.: The Walk on Water 5K walk/run was approved unanimously.
The event will benefit the efforts to bring clean water to communities in Africa.
8:12 p.m.: Council votes unanimously to introduce a new water and sewer rate for the city.
A public hearing will be held on the rates at 7 p.m. on May 7.
Beginning in July 1 in each of the following years, the quarterly water and sewer rates would be set per 1,000 gallons, as follows:
- WATER » 2012: $4.55 ... 2013: $4.80 ... 2014: $5.05
- SEWER » 2012: $6.85 ... 2013: $7.20 ... 2014: $7.55
Residents would be billed quarterly.
8:05 p.m.: Council votes unanimously to table ordinances 936 and 937 in order for a public hearing to be held before the next council meeting, set for 7 p.m. on May 7.
7:56 p.m.: The public comment period for agenda items opens.
Torey Pierce speaks on Ordinances 936 and 937, which pertain to the Harford County road code. Pierce urges council not to adopt ordinances.
Karla Walton, of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, submits literature to council for consideration pertaining to a special event on the agenda for later in the meeting. The sorority is sponsoring the Walk on Water 5K walk/run planned for June 16 at Tydings Park.
7:55 p.m.: Ron Browning, chairman of the Havre de Grace Historic Preservation Commission, presents the Havre de Grace Historic Preservation Awards.
Members of the commission are in attendance. Those homes recognized are marked with a plaque.
Buildings must be 50 years old with minimal change to the original design, or recreation to resemble the original design.
The winners include:
- 1886 Vandiver Inn on Union Avenue
- 1949 Foley House
- 1799 Rupulta on MD Route 155
Patch will provide photos of the buildings in a future post.
7:45 p.m.: Tom Fitzpatrick begins a presentation on behalf of Havre de Grace Main Street.
The Main Street Board is in attendance, as is new Main Street manager Matt Kriegl.
Main Street oversees First Friday, Arts by the Bay, Murals of Grace, Haunted History Tours, façade improvement program, farmers market and Graw Days.
Graw Days, held October 13, will be focused on the 100-year anniversary of The Graw racetrack. This will be the fifth Graw Days festival.
Patch will provide the entire slideshow in a later post.
7:33 p.m.: Havre de Grace High School's Keith Sifford is honored with a student of the month award.
Sifford is involved in a number of teams, activities and clubs at the school. He homered for the Warriors baseball team earlier Monday afternoon.
Sifford plans to play baseball and study biology in college.
7:29 p.m.: Havre de Grace Middle School's Sophia Tobio is honored with a student of the month award.
Sophia had the crowd laughing hard when asked to introduce her family, and introduced her mother by saying, "She usually goes by 'Mom.'"
7:25 p.m.: Daniel Gonzalez of Meadowvale Elementary School is honored with a student of the month award.
Gonzalez was joined by his mother and sister.
Patch captured video of Daniel's recognition to post later today for his father to see. Danny Gonzalez is currently serving in Afghanistan.
7:15 p.m.: David Peter Fountain of Havre de Grace Elementary School is honored with a student of the month award.
David Peter recently went on a field trip to Harford Glen, where he picked up the hobby of bird watching. He is also a member of the advanced orchestra and chorus, and held the lead role in the school musical.
7:13 p.m.: Mayor Wayne Dougherty and City Council begins a series of student of the month recognitions.
7:07 p.m.: The council meeting begins.
7:06 p.m.: A period for public comment on the ordinance begins.
Lori Maslin, of Washington Street, is an advocate for higher fines for taxicab violations, as well as for an open market for taxicab business. Currently, Montville Taxi is the only business permitted for service in Havre de Grace.
"What we don’t have in Havre de Grace is competition. I think it is a disservice in its current form to our citizens," Maslin said. She added that an accident involving a taxicab and a parked family car last year was "just a more recent incident of taxicabs running amuck in our city."
Herb Tresslow of Bloomsbury Avenue said: “I called them three times last week and nobody answers their phones. If you pass this ordinance, I’ll be very pleased.”
Joe Fiocchi added that he agrees that there is more need for competition, but notes that he hasn't noticed any egregious miscues by Montville Taxi drivers in comparison to other drivers in the city. Fiocchi asked for more consistent traffic enforcement.
7 p.m.: The evening’s events begin with a public hearing on an ordinance pertaining to taxicabs.
All elected officials are in attendance with a standing-room only crowd in the council chambers.
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Check out our council meeting preview, which includes a PDF file of the agenda.
NOTE: Lulls in reporting happen from time to time due to wireless internet connectivity inside the council chambers.