Live Blog: April 18 City Council Meeting
Havre de Grace Patch brings you the news as it happens from the council meeting.
9:11 p.m.: Meeting adjourns.
9:08 p.m.: Rod Gaston asks council to clarify their personal stances on the city tax rate so citizens can respond.
9:05 p.m.: Cecil Hill urges the city to cut costs wherever possible, until the economy rebounds.
9:04 p.m.: Mr. Kochenderfer reports that the river sweep will be held Saturday, rain or shine. T-shirts will be provided and the event should be completed by noon.
Mr. Kochenderfer also reported there was significant damage in North Park from Saturday's storm, including to a wooden footbridge.
Arbor Day is April 29, and will include a tree-planting at Concord Point Lighthouse at 10 a.m.
8:58 p.m.: Council President Bill Martin reports signage for parking in the city has been converted from two hours to three hours. Motorcycle parking and signage has been completed next to the Masonic Lodge on St. John Street.
Martin said more fines, beyond parking tickets, need to be discussed.
8:54 p.m.: Councilman Randy Craig expresses his support for enhancing Havre de Grace High School, in response to County Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti's recent statement that she is "skeptical" of spending funds on a new building for Havre de Grace High School.
"I hope everyone in our community lets our representative know that we need to get this done," Craig said.
8:53 p.m.: Councilman Cullum asks that council consider discussing the tax rate at the beginning of the April 25 budget hearing and pass the tax rate at the May 16 meeting.
8:52 p.m.: Councilman Jim Miller reiterates the Parks & Rec mandate that no sunflower seeds be used on the new turf field at Harris Stadium.
8:49 p.m.: Councilman Shank revealed the funding behind his campaign, stating he has received $3,901 as of 3 p.m. Monday
Shank's father donated $1,000. His wife donated $950. Tom Fitzpatrick donated $500. Shank's mother paid his $100 filing fee. Two classmates donated $225 to Shank's campaign. Another donation of $1 was made. Shank said he will reveal all of his campaign funding at a later date.
8:39 p.m.: Mayor Dougherty provides a financial report for the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2011. Patch will provide the full report. The city exceeded its revenue targets in the general fund by $360,000, but declined $635,000 when compared to this time last year.
8:34 p.m.: Mayor Dougherty gave thanks to the Department of Public Works, Police Department, Susquehanna Hose Company and the Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps for their efforts in Saturday's flood.
8:31 p.m.: Chief Teresa Walter of the Police Department thanked the Department of Public Works and the Susquehanna Hose Company for their support during the storm. Animal Control, Natural Resources, and Harford County Emergency Operations Center all responded to the storm. Walter also thanked the dispatchers at the city's police department.
8:30 p.m.: Larry Parks, Director of the Department of Public Works, said there was no significant damage from Saturday's storm, other than the floating pier near Concord Point Lighthouse. The damage to the floating pier is still being assessed.
The Promenade has been cleaned, and Parks reported the repairs to the Promenade after Tropical Storm Isabel were effective.
8:27 p.m.: Jay Bautz, Deputy Director of Planning for the city, said there have been five building permits requested this month, for a total of 29 this year. There were 44 permits at this time last year, and 11 at this time in 2009.
8:25 p.m.: Movies at the Park by the Good Cause Foundation is unanimously passed. Jess Bousa, of Good Cause, plans to air movies such as Tangled and Toy Story 3, beginning at dark. The shows will be held Aug. 6 and 27 at Tydings Park and Aug. 13 and 20 at Hutchins Park.
8:21 p.m.: First Annual Blessing of the Animals and Pet Expo at Tydings Park is passed.
8:13 p.m.: Ordinance 929, refinancing Bonds Series 2011 (1987 and 2000 Series A), and Ordinance 930, refinancing Bonds Series 2011 (1992 Series A) are both unanimously adopted on first reading. A public hearing on the ordinances will be held May 2 at 7 p.m. The refinancing of the bonds will be on the ballot in the May 3 election.
8:07 p.m.: Motion to adopt on a first reading has died after the vote ended in a tie. Councilmen Shank, Cullum and Miller voted "no" to adopting the proposed tax rate on first reading.
8:05 p.m.: Council President Martin said his lone wish is a tax cut.
"I don’t believe this tax cut is reckless. We can do it," Martin said.
8:04 p.m.: Councilman Mitch Shank: "We don’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. I will be voting against this because I believe the tax rate should go even lower."
Shank said he'd like to see the rate go even lower than the proposed one cent decrease.
8:02 p.m.: Councilman Randy Craig respectfully disagreed with Councilman Cullum. Craig said it spurs economic growth.
"We need to be competitive to our surrounding jurisdictions," Craig said. "We have to show real value of the taxpayers of this city, and I think we start with the lowest tax rate possible."
7:58 p.m.: Proposal to lower tax rate by one cent for the upcoming fiscal year is met with strong opposition from Councilman Fred Cullum.
7:48 p.m.: A public hearing on Ordinance 927—introduced Monday pertaining to capital cost recovery fees—will be held April 25 at 6 p.m. The second-scheduled budget work session will be held after the public hearing.
7:36 p.m.: Ordinance No. 926 is adopted unanimously upon second reading. As Council President Martin explains, the ordinance ends the landlord tennant commission.
"It was created years ago with good intent," Martin said. "It's just been a very difficult commission to keep maintained. To actually put this commission in full compliance was difficult from time-to-time. I want to thank those members who did serve on it the last five or so years. I want to thank them for the time they gave. We had a few meetings, some information-share meetings. In the end, it’s difficult to keep it going. I respectfully ask council we support the dissolution of this commission."
7:31 p.m.: Ordinance No. 925, calling for the amendment of Havre de Grace City Code Chapter 147 by deleting the entire chapter from the City Code, is adopted unanimously upon second reading.
7:28 p.m.: Council President Bill Martin proposes a public hearing for May 2 at the beginning of the City Council meeting for the public to discuss Resolution 2011-03.
The resolution, pertaining to the transfer of the streets in The Paddocks from private to public streets in the City of Havre de Grace, was introduced. Martin said, "it is not necessary to hold a public meeting, but we can. We're taking over several streets. There will be a budgetary shifting due to this, and we want to give citizens a chance to speak."
7:25 p.m.: Jeff Tosey and Will Nori speak in favor of the capital cost recovery ordinance, which will be introduced as an ordinance later in the meeting.
7:15 p.m.: Gaston said the city will receive "three brand new roads in pristine condition, built and paid for by someone else, for which the maintenance for the next two years is guaranteed. This sounds like a pretty good deal to me."
Gaston, himself a lawyer for 22 years, applauded City Attorney Paul Ishak for his work with the residents of The Paddocks during a lengthy process.
Gaston said the transaction will result in a 50 percent reduction in homeowners association dues.
7:12 p.m.: Rodney Gaston of Monarchos Drive speaks on behalf of The Paddocks to support the resolution to transfer the private streets of The Paddocks—a 71-single-family neighborhood of Bulle Rock Parkway—to public streets under the City of Havre de Grace.
7:09 p.m.: Former councilman Joe Kochenderfer opens the public comment section of the agenda by supporting the delayed fee schedule for new construction connection fees.
7:05 p.m.: Stathes' term will run from April 18, 2011 to April 18, 2014.
7:05 p.m.: Chris Stathes is appointed to the economic development advisory board and is administered the oath of office by Mayor Dougherty.
7:03 p.m.: Troy Hawkins of Greyhound, who was to give a presentation Monday evening, was not in attendance.
7:02 p.m.: Mayor Wayne Dougherty gives opening prayer in absence of Capt. Tom Guilliams of the Salvation Army.
7:00 p.m.: Meeting begins.
6:45 p.m.: Welcome to our City Council live blog, where we will be updating the news coming from City Hall at it happens.
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