Political Fireworks; $2.5M Settlement Highlight Council Meeting
Patch brings you the news as it happens from Monday's Aberdeen City Council meeting.
8:06 p.m.: Meeting adjourns.
8:05 p.m.: Bennett announces that the city is anticipating approximately $2.5 million in a settlement from a lawsuit stemming from an MTBE pollution at the old 7-Eleven location on Route 40.
"It looks as if our net estimated settlement amount is $2.5 million," Bennett said. "So we are looking forward to that. It certainly gives us an opportunity, we’re now talking about infrastructure needs. This is somewhat premature. We may lok to try to create a rainy day fund for our infrastructure to take care of issues that are happening to us as our city grows older."
Bennett began the announcement with some background info on the situation: "Many years ago we had a leak at the 7-Eleven on Route 40, the old 7-Eleven, that got partially into our well field. We’ve had to do remediation for many years. As a result of that lawsuit, I’m happy to announce, that we are going to be receiving a settlement. At sometime down the road, we will be doing a resolution, No. 1 to accept this, and part of that resolution will be that we’ve agreed to the terms of that settlement. The City of Aberdeen out of the plaintiffs in Aberdeen is receiving the highest settlement. We should be receiving the windfall of this money at the end of this fiscal year. We’ll have to pass a resolution once we get that from the attourney."
8 p.m.: Bennett addressed his trip to Augusta, GA from last week.
"No city funds were used at any time during that trip," he said. "The plane fare was provided by Ripken Baseball, which asked if I would go down and speak about my relationship between the City and Ripken Baseball. There was no script. I answered questions for about 45 minutes from the folks gathered."
7:55 p.m.: Mayor Bennett, during his comment period, said he and City Manager Doug Miller met recently with Aberdeen High School principal Michael L. O'Brien to discuss opportunities for the city and its high school to work together in various forms.
"We’re going to continue to meet with him on a pretty regular basis to see what things the city can be doing to help them out with their mission of helping educate the young people in our city. It was very imformative and a good opportunity to meet him and get him welcomed to the City," Bennett said.
7:41 p.m.: Director of Public Works Matt Lapinsky said concrete work along Beards Hill Road is under way.
He also said a DPW rodeo will take place Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ripken Stadium, with the Aberdeen DPW employees challenging those from Bel Air and Havre de Grace in a driving competition.
Lapinsky said there were 13 water breaks in Aberdeen Monday due to a "hiccup in the system." He said there are 20-24 employees out working on the breaks.
The incident stemmed from a hydrant replacement near Plater Street.
"The City is many years old—well over 100. The infrastructure we have in the ground we know needs to be worked on, its something we've been committed to doing, and this highlights that somewhat," Bennett said.
Lapinsky said his staff hopes the 13 breaks will take care of anything that would have happened in the winter.
"That's as good as it gets when you are knee-deep in mud," Lapinsky said of his staff's optimism.
7:36 p.m.: Police Chief Henry Trabert requests a transfer of $28,101.59 from ceased funds to the police budget. The amendment is approved by a unanimous vote by the Mayor and City Council.
Trabert said the funds are "being utilized to replace and update software and hardware used for surveillance and security for the police department, our holding cell, as well as various locations throughout City Hall."
Councilman Bruce Garner asks if the surveillance will be utilized for Festival Park.
"For us to implement that plan, we had to have this software put into the police department," Trabert said, adding that the amendment will enable the department to upgrade surveillance elsewhere in the city.
7:35 p.m.: The Mayor and City Council unanimously approve the preliminary site plan at Northgate Business Park.
7:34 p.m.: Lou Schaffer, a project manager with Frederick Ward Associates in Bel Air, presents the preliminary site plan for Lot B in the Northgate Business Park.
Schaffer said, "This is a continued development of the North Gate Business Park. This is the retail portion of the project approved years ago."
Schaffer added that three retail buildings will be built on the lot, which is current a vacant, B-3 zoned property. He said the project will be phased.
"We see this being an amenity to the park, rather than it being something that draws people into the location," said Paul Thompson, of Architectural Design Works, the architect on the property.
Thompson said the project entails approximately 11,000 square feet.
A pad site in the middle of the property is set up for either a bank or a casual restaurant, with drive-thru lanes built into the site plan.
7:24 p.m.: Mr. and Mrs. Augustyniak of 27 Hillman Court are unanimously approved as new committee members for the Aberdeen Heritage Trust.
"Unfortunately they couldn’t be here tonight but we congratulate them on the appointment," Mayor Bennett said.
7:21 p.m.: The amended ordinance is unanimously approved by the City Council and Mayor.
Patch will provide the ordinance in full following the meeting.
7:20 p.m.: Council unanimously approves the eight amendments and is now voting on the amended ordinance, 11-0-02.
7:15 p.m.: City Manager Doug Miller proposes eight "minor" amendments to the Public Ethics Ordinance, which is up for adoption.
7:10 p.m.: Mayor Bennett and City Council unanimously approve a series of Bond Sales under Resolution No. 11-R-11. The resolution begins as follows:
"A RESOLUTION to authorize issuance, sale and delivery by the City of Aberdeen (the "City") of its Bonds designated "City of Aberdeen Refunding Bonds, Series 2011" in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed Nine Million Four Hundred Eighty-Five Thousand Dollars ($9,485,000) ..."
7:05 p.m.: The meeting's public comment period begins with resident Patrick McGrady approaching the microphone, and announcing, "I'm Patrick McGrady and I am running for Mayor."
McGrady is quickly interrupted by Mayor Michael Bennett, who says there is no campaigning during a council meeting.
"That hasn’t gone on here for years," Bennett said. "We’re not going to have any campaign time."
McGrady asks if there is a written rule against it.
"We've never done that," Bennett said, before calling him out of order and asking him to return to his seat.
McGrady pauses before continuing in telling a little about himself before Bennett again interjects.
"There’s no campaigning here during the council meetings. Period," Bennett said.
McGrady closes by saying he believes his constitutional rights to free speech are being violated. McGrady returns to his seat before departing council chambers with another individual.
McGrady is the only challenger to run in the upcoming Aberdeen Municipal Election, challenging Bennett for the Mayor's seat. All four City Council members are running unopposed.
Patch will provide the entire exchange at a later time.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Find the full transcription here.]
7 p.m.: The meeting begins.