Sunday, May 8, 2011

Council Meeting - May 3, 2011

May 3, 2011
City Council Meeting

Michael Gumpert of Gateway CDC appeared to address questions regarding the $5000 public art grant the city and Gateway are collaborating on.  City will write Mount Rainier a check for upfront cost of the project, to be reimbursed per the terms of the grant.  Funds will be used for the painting of the 34th and Bunker Hill intersection for Mount Rainier Day (5/21/2011), a project spearheaded by Mike Turner and a committee of volunteers.

Maxine Drakeford, Supervisor, City of Mount Rainier Board of Elections
, appeared to read the results of the May 2, 2011 election.

Ward 1
Jimmy Tarlau (4 year term) - 96 votes
Bill Updike (2 year term - special election) - 91 votes

Ward 2
Adrienne Charles - 46 votes
Brent Bolin (4 year term) - 112 votes

The Council passed a motion accepting these results.

Alonzo Washington, Chief of Staff for our County Councilmember Will Campos (District 2)
Bed and Breakfasts - discussion of adding bed and breakfasts to the list of permissible uses in the Arts District Overlay zone. B&Bs are currently not a permitted use, and there is a concern with CM Campos and the Mount Rainier Council that it could provide a back door to quasi-legal boarding houses.  A B&B was shut down in Hyattsville by code enforcement, and a possible B&B in Mount Rainier is being considered by a property owner.  The council opted for further discussion at a forthcoming worksession.
Street Sense - the development company is very interested in the 3200 block of Rhode Island Avenue, and has stated a willingness to respond to the RFP (previously they expressed a preference to deal one on one with the city).  In the past Street Sense has indicated a relationship with ownership of Thrifty Car Rental, implying an ability to redevelopment the entire 3200 block, but Street Sense has yet to prove that an agreement with Thrifty exists.

Officer Tuk Carpenter, MRPD
Reported on city's involvement with DEA's "Got Drugs" drug takeback program, which has proven to be a success for getting prescriptions off the streets and out of our waterways.  Proper disposal of pharmaceuticals is turning them in for destruction, NOT flushing them down the toilet where the drugs pollute our rivers.

Public Works report - Luther Smith
3200 block of Bunker Hill - should be single side parking, but signs get removed and painted curbs get ignored.  Public Works and MRPD will address.

Farewell by Bryan Knedler (attempted transcript)
"I made a lot of comments at my roast and toast that you can see on MRTV. It has been my honor to serve the residents of Ward 2, and man those 14 years went fast.  Congratulations to both Adrienne and Brent, who both said they learned a lot by going door to door to speak to our residents.  They got a good sense of what we deal with as council members, trying to address our citizen's needs.  Was easier to leave with two good candidates running to replace me.  Council has big decisions in the next few months, redevelopment in the town center is front and center and the decisions made will have ripples for years.  Clear from history research that one decision can have a lasting effect, for example the decision to keep City Hall at Rhode Island Avenue.  Applauds current mayor and council as most collegial and creative group of his time of service.  New points of view with new council members to pair with experience of veterans.  Both harder and easier to leave because of the great team.  The new group will really push the green initiatives and Mount Rainier will achieve the recognition it deserves.  Hope we get better zoning authority to protect our historic homes.  Be sure to be able to say no to your neighbors and friends.  Don't burn out your staff and don't burn out yourself by taking on too much.  Citizen volunteers are extremely important to our city and how it operates, without all the people that have stepped up over the years there is much we would not have accomplished.  I will continue to volunteer on city boards, etc. and I will continue to be in the back of this room sorting through 20-30 of archives in the drawers.  Our names will be forgotten in 20 years but our deeds and accomplishments will remain in the city."

Ivy - all the beautiful trees that brought her to the city are Knedler's best tribute from his years on the council.
May is Peace month.  Free water safety program.  Farmer's Market will begin Mount Rainier Day, May 21 at One Municipal Place and the Bluebird parking lot.  Along with Ms. Wallace, met with the county library system about the hours at Mount Rainier library. 

Mayor Miles - addressing Mr. Knedler, it has been a pleasure and an honor to serve with you.  It makes her emotional to think of him not sitting by her side.  Compliments him dedicating 14 straight years to the council.  Always found a way to get to a solution even when they didn't agree.  She has dubbed him the Mount Rainier Statesman.

Ms. Wallace - Library hours, no Sunday hours in the system, there will definitely be some cuts, but Mount Rainier is only city owned library and that should carry some weight.  At Green Streets, Green Jobs conference spoke with contractors about pervious surface for repaving Bluebird lot.  Mike Jackson is working on getting them to the next worksession to discuss material options for Bluebird lot.

Old Business
Ordinance 4-2011, FY12 budget. Passed.  Real property tax rate unchanged at $.79 per $100 assessed value.  $4.6M total budget, 39.5 employees (20 MRPD, $2M)

Ordinance 5-2011, Ethics Revision to comply with state law.

3200 block of Rhode Island Ave.  Tarlau moves to re-open RFP for 3200 Rhode Island Ave for 60 days, Knedler seconds.  Ivy says not legally necessary, just make it known we will still accept offers and avoid costly process of advertising reopening of RFP.  We can legally accept proposals from developers now.  Mayor wonders if someone brought a proposal to the city tomorrow, what would the process be for dealing with them versus other known, interested developers?  What is process to be fair?  Knedler - expensive for companies to do a proposal, but has advantage of structured competition that creates a level playing field.  Mayor - in the meantime we can explore other strategies such as working with a broker.  All we did was invite developers to approach us, we didn't get meetings, follow up, and sit down with them to talk.  Mayor wants to get out of the box on how to do this process.

Proposal: invite developers to review the RFP and bring a proposal to the council any time through the July break.  Advertise widely and maintain transparency in the process.  Possibility to find a partner who shares our vision.  Council agrees.

Monday May 9, 8PM Swearing In of the new council at City Hall.

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