LAST NIGHT: Council Receives FY2013 Budget
Havre de Grace City Council met at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.
The following is the play-by-play from Monday's three-hour, 10-minute City Council meeting.
The meeting included two presentations, two resolutions and the introduction of the preliminary Fiscal Year 2013 budget.
Patch covers the meetings with a live blog. This is from the live blog:
10:10 p.m.: The meeting adjourns, and council moves into a closed session.
10:03 p.m.: Council President Martin said two public work sessions have been scheduled to discuss the budget:
- Enterprise funds (Marina, Water & Sewer) at 6 p.m. on March 26
- General fund at 6 p.m. on April 11
10 p.m.: Councilman Craig notes that the Lyric Opera will be held at 3 p.m. on May 6 at the United Methodist Church. Tickets are $15, or $45 including a reception following the performance at Laurrapin Grille.
9:55 p.m.: Councilwoman Wagner said the Havre de Grace Green Team will meet April 4 at 7 p.m. at the police station conference room to discuss a community garden.
Wagner said residents can email email@example.com for more information
9:52 p.m.: Councilman Miller calls for a closed session regarding legal issues with city streets and potential property purchase. The motion carries, 6-0.
The closed session will be held at the end of tonight's meeting.
"The new city website is a great improvement over the past," Miller said. He added that he'd like to see an explanation for other businesses to learn how to have their information on the city website.
9:49 a.m.: Councilman Cullum said the next water and sewer commission meeting will be at 10 a.m. Friday at City Hall. Cullum said all City Council candidates are extended a special invite to attend the meeting to learn more about the water and sewer fund.
Those meetings are open to the public, as well.
Cullum said he plans to make a proposed amendment to the city code on water and sewer code. He also plans an amendment to the code regarding taxi cabs.
9:47 p.m.: Councilman Correri noted the Amublance Corps banquet Saturday was an “outstanding event. I’d like to congratulate the award winners.”
Correri also noted the project for a sidewalk at Tydings Park is coming along nicely.
"It’s nice to see an in-house project," Correri said.
9:38 p.m.: Mayor Dougherty begins his introduction for the preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 2013 by saying, "This is going to be the worst year for the city. It's going to be the worst year for a lot of jurisdictions."
Patch will attempt to post the budget online in a later article.
9:34 p.m.: Chief Teresa Walter said April 29 is the next prescription drug take-back program.
She also said St. Patrick's Day weekend was successful in Havre de Grace.
"St. Patrick’s Day weekend went very well. Everyone was very well behaved. There was nothing earth-shattering to report," she said.
9:30 p.m.: Deputy Director of Public Works Bill Reeder notes a number of city projects that are underway. In particular, a project on Giles Street is nearly complete—it will entail paving from Bloomsbury Avenue to Union Avenue.
9:29 p.m.: Director of Finance George DeHority noted there is an application on the city website for residents with financial issues to apply for a waiver of the Bay Restoration Fee.
9:27 p.m.: Carol Mathis, director of administration, reminds those in the audience that the final day to file for the May 8 election is Tuesday.
9:25 p.m.: Council unanimously approves the Harford Memorial Hospital Run and Relay for Life.
9:05 p.m.: Council is discussing a series of road closures for First Friday events in 2012.
9:01 p.m.: Council is discussing four public events for approval:
- Havre de Grace Farmers Market » every Saturday May 5 through Oct. 27
- First Friday » every Friday May 4 through Nov. 2
- 16th Annual Harford Memorial Hospital Celebration Run » Sept. 22
- Relay for Life » June 8
The Farmers market has been unanimously approved.
9 p.m: Council votes unanimously to approve a resolution supporting the city's application for sustainable community application.
The title for Resolution 2012-03 is as follows:
A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF HAVRE DE GRACE, MARYLAND HAS APPROVED THE DESIGNATION OF A SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY AND A SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY PLAN AND APPLICATION FURTHER DESCRIBED IN THE SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY APPLICATION TO BE APPROVED EITHER DIRECTLY BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND OR THROUGH THE SMART GROWTH SUBCABINET OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND
Councilman Cullum said, "We used to be able to put in for a community legacy grant each year … and if we got that money, there was some leeway. It is my understanding that that will no longer be the case. You now have to do a five-year plan."
As for this year's application process, Cullum said: "Only six [municipalities] have made applications to the state. We would be the seventh out of 157. The deadline is June."
Craig commends Simmons and her fellow city employees for their work on the project.
"I definitely couldn't have done it without Adrean [Troy]," Simmons said.
8:52 p.m.: Manager of Economic Development Meghan Simmons provides some background on the city's application for a sustainable community designation. The application is included in a resolution on Monday's agenda.
8:45 p.m.: Public comment period ends.
Council votes 6-0 to approve a resolution concerning the National Park Service.
The title of Resolution 2012-02 reads:
A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF HAVRE DE GRACE, MARYLAND PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 23A OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND AND CITY CHARTER SECTION 34, AUTHORIZING THE CITY TO ENTER INTO A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING FOR FIVE YEARS WITH THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE IN SUPPORT OF THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL WHICH SHALL IN PART FEATURE THE CITY’S ROLE IN THE WAR OF 1812 AND AUTHORIZING A LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SIGNAGE.
8:43 p.m.: The meeting is back underway.
During public comment, resident Joseph Fiocchi requests a copy of the city's budget audit for 2012.
Main Street President Billee Smith speaks in support of Main Street's First Friday events, scheduled for each Friday from May through November. Smith notes that this year, Main Street is looking to close streets from Franklin at Union to St. John Street to Rochambeau Plaza, and the 200 block of Washington Street to the intersection at Pennington Avenue. The event will be discussed later in the meeting.
8:25 p.m.: Council takes a recess.
8:05 p.m.: The Havre de Grace High School Envirothon team gives a presentation on the Lily Run Watershed, which it presented in winning the Harford County Envirothon competition.
The presentation outlines the challenges the city and the watershed face, as well as multi-tiered potential solutions.
The Warriors Envirothon team will compete at the state level.
Members of the team presenting to City Council Monday included: Tony Cofrancesco, Jon Biondo, Farhan Bachu, Rachel Rosenberg and Tyler Cook.
7:49 p.m.: Mayor Dougherty praised Mothershed, saying, "We're so fortunate in Havre de Grace to have the EMS service that we do, that so many jurisdictions do not. … Every year that you come in, you have improved."
Martin added, "Those are the things when you get a call, a loved one’s heart is leaping out of their chest. And the fact that 96 percent of your calls are beating the national response time. I’ve personally, in the past two years, benefitted from someone in your service."
Councilman John Correri said, "This gentleman just gave a report that just barely touches on what he probably does. This man is a full-time employee of the Harford County Sheriff’s Department, with a family here in Havre de Grace. This man is a bright, shining star. Jeremy has led this organization with great pride. It’s been a good leadership. These guys do a tremendous job."
Correri added, "You should be congratulated, along with your other officers, on what you do."
Councilman Fred Cullum noted a significant decrease in "no-show" calls, from 70 in 2008 to 17 in 2011.
"That 17 is even a bigger number, because the number of calls has increased, and the no-show calls has decreased," Cullum said. "You've come a long way, and I know its through your leadership that a lot of that change has happened, and the citizens are very fortunate to have the Ambulance Corps provide the service to them."
Councilman Jim Miller congratulates Mothershed for the organization's success, and asks how a resident may apply to the corps. Mothershed notes that applications can be found on the organization's website.
Councilman Randy Craig noted that the first report he saw from Mothershed years ago called for a decrease in no-show calls.
"Congratulations on that success," Craig said. "That was a long process for you. You went right at it, and you are to be commended for that."
7:30 p.m.: Chief Jeremy Mothershed of the Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps presents a report on responses from the past year.
Mothershed said the corps responded to 1,979 calls, including 17 traumatic injuries. There were just 17 "no-shows" and just seven "late responses" of arrival at more than 10 minutes.
Average response time from dispatch to arrival is seven minutes. Response time from dispatch to "en route" is 2.3 minutes at 96 percent of the time, "which is exceptional," Mothershed said. National response time averages are around eight minutes at 90 percent of the time.
The Ambulance Corps has 70 members, including 25 volunteer EMTs, with a 53 percent retention rate. Another 15 members are awaiting EMT programming
Mothershed brought a new medic unit to City Hall Monday.
The Ambulance Corps held its annual banquet Saturday at The Bayou.
A full breakdown of the annual report will be presented in a later post on Patch.
7:17 p.m.: City spokesman Jim Newby and his wife, Trudy, are honored during a special presentation by Dougherty and Martin.
The Newbys' son, Lt. Col. Lance Newby, has been stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan since deployment on Sept. 11, 2011. He is expected to return home this summer.
A flag, letter, and a certificate from Lt. Col. Newby will be displayed in City Hall.
"I never thought you'd get one over on me like this one," Jim Newby said. "I usually know everything that is going on."
7:10 p.m.: Mayor Doughtery and Council President Bill Martin introduce Havre de Grace Elementary School fourth grader Gabrielle Vega, a Ben Carson Reading Scholarship winner.
Gabby was presented with a $1,000 scholarship award to invest for her college education.
Gabby wrote an essay, relating things she learned from Catherine Holmes, her art teacher at Havre de Grace Elementary. She read her essay before those in the council chambers, urging others to "never give up, and art will happen."
"It's a very select group that they choose," Martin said. "When I had the chance to meet this young lady in the mayor's office, I was blown away. … I'm honored to sit next to you."
Mrs. Holmes is in the audience. Gabby also introduced her mother and her sister, drawing laughter from the audience by describing her mom as "the taller one."
Mayor Dougherty notes that Havre de Grace schools are home to three Ben Carson reading rooms.
7 p.m.: The meeting begins.
Mayor Wayne Dougherty delivers the opening prayer.
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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.