February 5, 2007
Agenda: Commerce Bank revised site
plan was added to the agenda.
Announcements: CM Dennison made a
correction to the Best Decorated House and Yard contest results. Best
House should have been 8717 63rd Avenue.
Calendar: The Council reviewed the
calendar. The date for an Anacostia Trails Heritage Association (ATHA)
meeting hosted by the Berwyn Heights Historical Committee (BHHC) was
added for February 22.
Minutes: The January 10 Town meetings
were reviewed for approval at the next Town meeting. On a motion by CM
Dennison and second by MPT Jewitt, the January 22 worksession minutes
were approved 5 to 0 with corrections.
Department reports: MPT Jewitt
reported that the Code Department, assisted by the Public Works crew,
performed an abatement for a clean lot violation, received $1,500 in
liens from Prince George's County and added one new rental property.
Mayor Calvo reported that County Councilmember Olson has been in touch
with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC)
regarding renovation of the Sports Park field. The Town should receive a
letter from the agency as soon as this week. It is hoped that the
renovation can be completed before March 1, the start of the spring
CM Dennison reported that she and other members of
the Historical Committee (BHHC)attended the announcements of ATHA
grants, one of which was awarded to the BHHC. Berwyn Heights Day
planning began.at the last meeting of the Recreation Council. CM Lofgren
reported that Public Works is undertaking preparations to keep the roads
clear of snow and ice in case of a winter storm.
Citizen comments: MPT Jewitt received
a comment regarding adoption of a commercial clean lot ordinance. He
advised that Council will not be taking the matter up during the budget
season. Mayor Calvo received a comment regarding a Town Center
scheduling conflict between a Girl Scout troop and the Safe Streets
Verizon agreement: No further
comments were made.
Commerce Bank revised site plan:
Mayor Calvo said that Commerce Bank has provided a revised site plan
that incorporates the changes requested by the Council. It includes an
enlarged hammerhead turnaround, 27' long and 20' wide, carved out of a
current residential property that has been bought by the Bank. The
hammerhead would be large enough for a truck from the Public Works or
Fire Department to turn around on. Further changes to the configuration
of the hammerhead can still be made. Another change is to plant grass
rather than trees on a landscaped strip between Greenbelt Road and the
adjacent sidewalk. Trees were moved back to the retaining wall, where
they are less likely to be damaged. Lastly, two benches are proposed
for same sidewalk.
Mayor Calvo asked Commerce Bank Attorney Dan Lynch
to provide a list of changes requested by the Town and agreed to by
Commerce Bank. These could become the basis of a formal agreement. He
hopes to have the list in hand by next Wednesday for the hearing on the
59th Avenue closing. Then the approval of an agreement and
the site plan could take place at the March Town meeting. Other items
that may become part of the agreement include maintenance of a
landscaped area behind a fence shielding adjacent properties,
installation and maintenance of landscaping in the Town's right of way,
and hiring of a local artist to design the mural in the Bank.
At 7:55 p.m., the Council took a 10 minute break.
Police Department budget request:
Mayor Calvo briefly explained a few new budget request procedures and
welcomed Chief Murphy.
Chief Murphy began with two corrections to the
budget spreadsheet. The FY 07 Communications line item should
read $14,000 instead of $15,200 and the FY 07 Capital Outlay > $500
should read $10,000 instead of $8,800. He proceeded to present the major
changes requested for the FY 08 budget. These include:·
More use of overtime to cover gaps in coverage costing
$30,000 (30% increase over FY 07);
One new police car costing $23,000
Promotions of 4 employees, e.g.. 1 Police Clerk II and 3
Privates First Class costing $6,500;
New capital outlays for 1outfitting of police cruiser, 1
laptop computer, 2 radar units, 4 shotguns and 7 TASERs with audio-video
recording capability costing $18,000 (105% increase). Additionally, when
the County converts to an 800 MHZ communications system, the current
radios will have to be replaced at a potential cost of $76,000. However,
he is looking into grants for financing a part or all of this
Increase in shift differential for evening and night
shifts from $1,00 to $1.50 per hour costing $10,000 (66% increase);
Increase in travel allowance for new officers, not yet
using take-home car for work-related travel, costing $600 (50%
Increase of 5% for ammunition;
Increase of 5% for uniforms.
Chief Murphy further suggested that some fines
could be raised to offset some of the new expenditures. In past years,
excess revenue in Fines & Forfeitures were used for the purchase of
capital items such as a speed monitor, radar guns and firearms.
CM Dennison asked if the Police could do with less
than 1 TASER per officer and whether there have been occasions that
called for the use of a TASER. Chief Murphy replied that he would prefer
to have 1 TASER per officer, excepting himself. While Berwyn Heights
officers did not encounter situations requiring the use of excessive
force to subdue suspects, that should not be the basis for a decision to
outfit them with TASERs. TASERs would give officer more options in a
violent encounter and decrease the likelihood of injuries to the
In response to MPT Jewitt, Chief Murphy prioritized
the capital items he requested under Capital Outlays: 1) TASERs; 2)
radar units; 3) shotguns and 4) laptop. He elaborated that the new 800
MHZ radios are needed to communicate with the County, whose call taking
and dispatch system Berwyn Heights will continue to use. He is not aware
of County funding to help with the purchase of radios, but there may be
homeland security funds.
In response to Mayor Calvo, Chief Murphy
prioritized the benefits he requested: 1) Overtime; 2) shift
differential; and 3) uniform allowance. Priorities including both
capital and wage benefits are as follows: 1) overtime; 2) shift
differential; and 3) TASERs.
Osage Street WSSC project (moved up to
accommodate guest): Jeff Andrews, Contract Manager for the
Washington Suburban Sanitary and Sewer Commission (WSSC), said that he
has been in touch with TA Murphy and Director Colman regarding the water
and sewer replacement projects on Seminole and Osage Streets. Water and
sewer lines have been replaced on Seminole Street, but restoration of
the street is pending. WSSC has different options on how to restore a
street: 1) using its contractors to apply an asphalt overlay to those
parts of the street which have been dug up; and 2) transferring the
funds required for the restoration to use at the Town's discretion. Mr.
Andrews estimates that the cost for an overlay on Seminole Street would
cost WSSC an estimated $30,900. Lately, WSSC's preferred option is to
sign a Memorandum of Understanding with a municipality and authorize the
transfer of funds.
Mayor Calvo said that Seminole Street is a top
priority on the Town's street repair list and needs a thorough overhaul,
including curbs and gutters. It makes sense for the Town to combine WSSC
with Town resources to do it right. Mayor Calvo also asked if WSSC
plans to repair curbs damaged by equipment during the excavation of
Seminole Street. Mr. Andrews said that he wasn't aware of the damage,
but that he would look into it. It may require getting the Town and WSSC
contractor together and agreeing on which damage was due to the
With respect to Osage Street, a full overlay is
planned between 60th Avenue and Edmonston Road, and half
overlays on Osage Street between 60th Avenue and Cunningham
Drive and on 60th Avenue, 60th Place and 63rd
Avenue between Osage Street and Berwyn Road. However, a cost estimate
and MOU would not be finalized until the replacement of pipes is
Mayor Calvo asked what the cost would be if the
Town were to use WSSC's contractor to do a complete restoration of
Seminole Street. He was told the cost would be $60,000, plus $40,000 for
curbs and gutters. Also, the Town would need to negotiate with the
contractor directly if it wants to use that contractor to resurface
other streets at the same time. Mayor Calvo concluded that the Council
will consider its options and and get back to Mr. Andrews later.
2. Public Safety
NW/EP budget request (discussed out of
order): Chair of the Neighborhood Watch/Emergency Preparedness
(NW/EP) Mike Attick presented his budget request. He said that the
emphasis in the County's emergency preparedness program has shifted
toward municipalities and citizens taking taking on more
responsibilities in disaster response. NW/EP requests $4,500 for public
education, most of which would go toward purchasing 1,000 Red Books,
a reference on disaster preparedness. Part of this cost might be
defrayed by revenues from advertisements of local businesses. The book
would be made available to every household in Berwyn Heights. Another
$1,800 is requested for trailer emergency equipment, mostly for first
aid supplies and tools, and $1,350 for emergency boxed water.
In response to Councilmembers questions, Mr. Attick
explained that he plans to purchase tools from a major disaster
preparedness supplier, that the water budget would buy approximately 200
gallons of boxed water and that the Red Books could in part be
financed by $1,700 in remaining FY 2007 funds. MPT Jewitt and Mayor
Calvo questioned whether the Red Book would be the best way to
educate residents about disaster preparedness as few would be likely to
read it. A summary 1-page document might be more effective.
No items were discussed.
Driveway variance request: TA Murphy
explained that the owner of the property at 8802 Edmonston Road has
petitioned the County Zoning Board to relocate a driveway from a
conforming to a non-conforming location. Director Solomon believes that
the rationale for relocating the driveway is to provide access to
another home if the lot is subdivided. TA Murphy believes that that
another home could be built in back of the existing home. He recommended
that the Council not support the variance request.
MPT noted that this variance request is not made in
person and that no reason is given for the relocation. CM Lofgren moved
to oppose the variance application. CM Gourley seconded. The motion
passed 5 to 0.
Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation Department budget
request: CM Dennison presented her FY 2008 budget, which
requests an 11% increase over FY 2007. The line items proposed for
increase for Special Events, which funds needs of Town Committees and
Organizations plus Berwyn Heights Day;
increase for Pops Park equipment;
increase for concession stand upgrades and supplies;
A $600 decrease is slated for the Pontiac Street
Apart from these changes, CM Dennison is requesting
a new appropriation of $10,000 for a Boys & Girls Club shed shown under
Capital Budget. The proposed cinder block shed is estimated to cost
$16,000 in total and would replace the current wood shed at the Pontiac
Street field. It would be larger, watertight and more secure.
CM Dennison's priorities for the proposed budget
increase are 1) Special Events, 2) Boys & Girls Club shed, 3) Concession
stand upgrades, and 4) Pop's Park equipment. CM Lofgren recommended
asking the County Parks and Recreation Department to undertake the
improvements to the concession stand as it is their facility. Secondly,
Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) should be contacted to
request permission to build a shed; and thirdly, money for tree care
needs to be appropriated to maintain the Town's Tree City USA status. TA
Murphy said tree care money is in the Public Works budget and that PGCPS
would be contacted regarding the shed. Pop's Park equipment funds are
intended for removing one of the outdated climbers, but no new equipment
has been proposed.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 p.m.
Kerstin Harper, Town Clerk
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