MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF LAUREL
AGENDA (Revision #2 as of May 8, 2023)
MONDAY, MAY 8, 2023
VIRTUAL ZOOM MEETING
Watch the meeting on Laurel TV streaming live in your web browser at https://laureltv.org/watch-live or locally Laurel TV can be found on Comcast Channel 996 (HD), 71 (SD) or Verizon FiOS Channel 12.
Contact the Clerk for Zoom information at [email protected] no later than 2:00 pm on the day of the meeting.
- Call to Order- Brencis D. Smith, Council President
- Roll Call- Sara A. Green, CMC, City Clerk
- Report of the Mayor and City Council
- Mayoral Appointment
- Ralphenia Tia Clark- Chief Judge, Ward 2 Board of Election Supervisors 05/08/2023-05/08/2024
- General Public Hearing
- Second Public Hearing with Possible Action on Charter Resolution No. 178- A Charter Resolution of the Mayor and City Council of Laurel, Maryland Amending Article 300 “Government” of the Charter of the City of Laurel to Amend Section 357 to Allow for Collective Bargaining for Certain Employees of the Department of Public Works
- Introduction and First Public Hearing on Charter Resolution No. 179- A Charter Resolution of the Mayor and City Council of Laurel, Maryland Amending Article 300 “Government” of the Charter of the City of Laurel to Amend Section 357 to Allow for Collective Bargaining for Certain Employees of the Department of Public Works
- Public Hearing on the Constant Yield Tax Rate (CYTR)
- Introduction and First Public Hearing on Ordinance No. 2011- An Ordinance Adopting the General Operating Budget and Capital Improvement Program of the Mayor and City Council of Laurel, Maryland, for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024 and to Levy Property Taxes; and to Authorize the Collection of Such Taxes
MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF LAUREL
The meeting convened via Zoom at approximately 6:00 pm with Council President Brencis D. Smith presiding. The roll was called with Councilman Carl DeWalt, Councilman James Kole, Councilman Keith R. Sydnor and Craig A. Moe, Mayor present. The following staff were also present: Christian L. Pulley, CPM, City Administrator, Joanne Hall-Barr, Deputy City Administrator, Sara A. Green, CMC, City Clerk, Ana R. Navarro, MMC, Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Bill Bailey, Director, Department of Parks and Recreation, James Cornwell-Shiel, Director, Department of Information Technology, Chief Russell Hamill, Brian K. Lee, Director, Department of Public Works, Robert Love, Director, Department of Economic and Community Development, S. Michele Saylor, Director Budget and Personnel Services, Deputy Chief Mark Plazinski, Larry Taub, City Solicitor, Len Lucchi, Esquire, City of Laurel Labor Attorney, Chrissy Cornwell, Emergency Manager,. There were approximately (7) members of the public in attendance.
Councilman Martin Mitchell entered the meeting at approximately 6:02 pm.
Agenda Item No. 1 was the report of the Mayor and City Council. Councilman DeWalt noted that he’d completed No Mow April on May 1, 2023. Councilman DeWalt noted that the program was new and sponsored by the City which allowed residents to forgo mowing their grass for one (1) month to allow lawn flowers to bloom and feed hungry native bees emerging from hibernation. Councilman DeWalt noted that it was difficult to mow his grass because it had grown tall in just one month. Councilman DeWalt congratulated Ms. Christian L. Pulley, CPM, City Administrator on her selection and participation in a Senior Executive Program for State and Local Government Executives at Harvard University. Councilman DeWalt spoke about his volunteer work with Brighter Bites helping to distribute over 150 bags of fruit and vegetables to students and families of Laurel Elementary School. Councilman DeWalt also volunteered at the American Legion Post 60 Bull and Oyster Roast for the Sons of the American Legion.
Councilman Kole noted that on April 30, 2023, he attended the Braxton Legacy Prom giveaway with Councilman Sydnor and other councilmembers. Councilman Kole said he also attended Lake Fest and Fido’s for Freedom Festival at the American Legion.
Councilman Martin Mitchell said he visited Laurel Mill Playhouse on April 28, 2023, for their 25th Annual Platinum Spelling Bee. He said he also attended the varsity baseball team Senior Night at Laurel High School.
Councilman Sydnor noted that on May 5, 2023, he attended a Centenarian Celebration hosted by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) at the Laurel Beltsville Senior Center; on May 6, 2023, he attended Lakefest; May 7, 2023, attended Laurel Museum’s “Your World Children’s Day” sponsored by the Laurel Historical Society and attended the Islamic Community Center of Laurel (ICCL) Eade Festival.
Council President Smith said he attended the Islamic Community Center of Laurel’s (ICCL) picnic. Celebrated Cinco De Mayo with constituents at Mad Cow and attended Lakefest and Laurel High School’s Choir Concert.
Next, Craig A. Moe, Mayor offered his deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Ollie DiPietro, former Mayor Robert J. DiPietro’s mother who had passed away.
Mayor Moe attended Arbor Day and planted a tree at Discovery Park. Mayor Moe thanked the Department of Parks and Recreation staff and City employees for attending and working together. Mayor Moe also thanked Senator James Rosapeppe, District 21 who attended the event and later that evening Mayor Moe held the first City Hall in the Park of the season at Emancipation Community Park; May 27, 2023, Mayor Moe had the pleasure of meeting with King Comey La Jaya, was visiting from Co-West Africa. Mayor Moe wanted to take the time to acknowledge and thank Sheriff Carr who invited him to participate in a Community Roundtable that not only dealt with County issues but also took the initiative to visit local communities. Mayor Moe also had the opportunity to attend a volunteer Firefighter EMT for a day at the University of Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute. Mayor Moe announced: the Laurel Farmers Market would be open May 11, 2023, from 3:00-7:00 pm and that the market would remain open every other Thursday through September 28, 2023. Mayor Moe announced that on May 12, 2023, the City of Laurel Employee Awards Ceremony would take place at the Barkman-Kaiser Public Safety Complex Partnership Community Center and that City Hall would close at 1 pm; On May 20, 2023, the Main Street Festival would be from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Kids to Parks Day would also be held on May 20, 2023 from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm at Granville Gude Park. Mayor Moe noted that he had issued the following proclamations that would be put out via social media: Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13, 2023; National Economic and Development Week, May 8- 12, 2023; National Police Week May 14-20, 2023; Bike to Workday, May 20, 2023; May 19, 2023, Kids to Park Day; May 21 27, 2023, National Public Works Week.
Mayor Moe wanted to thank Mr. Len Lucchi for being on the meeting and noted that the Administration had worked with Mr. Lucchi and spoken with the President of UFCW 1994 Union. Mayor Moe noted that he had sent a memorandum to the Council President requesting the inclusion of Charter Resolution No. 179 that had been drafted to allow for the unionization of certain Department of Public Works employees on the agenda and to table Charter Resolution No. 178 indefinitely since it had already been introduced which would essentially kill that legislation and then have the first reading of Charter Resolution No. 179 that evening. President Smith asked Ms. Green to add Charter Resolution No. 179 to the agenda as Agenda Item No. 7.1. If everything moved forward, Charter Resolution No. 179 would have the second reading with possible action on May 22, 2023.
Agenda Item No. 4 was the Mayoral Appointment of Ralphenia Tia Clark for Chief Judge, Ward 2, Board of Elections Supervisors. Councilman Sydnor made a motion to approve the appointment of Ms. Clark. The motion was seconded by Councilman DeWalt and carried on a roll call vote of all Councilmen present. Mayor Moe concurred.
Next, Agenda Item No. 5 was the General Public Hearing. There was no one signed up to speak. President Smith opened and closed the General Public Hearing at 6:22 pm.
Agenda Item No. 6 was the Second Public Hearing with possible action on Charter Resolution No. 178. President Smith noted earlier in the meeting, he needed a motion from the Council to table indefinitely, Charter Resolution No. 178 before the Council would be able to move forward with Charter Resolution No. 179. Councilman Sydnor made a motion to table indefinitely Charter Resolution No. 178. Councilman Kole seconded the motion that was carried on a roll call vote by all Councilmen present. Mayor Moe concurred with the action.
Agenda Item No. 7 was the Introduction and First Public Hearing on Charter Resolution No.179- a Charter Resolution of the Mayor and City Council of Laurel, Maryland amending Article 300 Government of the Charter of the City of Laurel to amend Section 357 to allow for Collective Bargaining for Certain Employees of the Department of Public Works. President Smith read the title into the record for the first reading and opened the public hearing at 6:24 pm. The first person signed up to speak was Mr. Alejandro Miranda, Mr. Miranda said he did not have any questions at the time. Next, Mr. John Barry, MCGEO union representative noted that he had been working with Department of Public Works employees on collective bargaining for six (6) months and that he was glad to see the Charter Resolution moving forward. Mr. Barry said that he looked forward to working on the Labor Code moving forward and understood that it was a process. President Smith closed the public hearing at 6:27 pm and noted that the item would be on the May 22, 2023, meeting agenda for the second public hearing with possible action.
Next, Agenda No. 8 was the public hearing on the Constant Yield Tax Rate (CYTR). Ms. S. Michele Saylor, Director, Department of Budget and Personnel Services noted that because the assessable base had increased, it would result in the City’s tax revenue to increase even though the City was not going to increase the property tax rate. When the tax revenue increased due to the increase in assessments, State law required the City to hold a public hearing and to advertise notice of the increase and of the public hearing. Ms. Saylor noted that the City’s tax rate was going to remain $0.71 cents per $100.00 of assessed value. There were no questions from the Council, and no one signed up to speak on the item. President Smith opened and closed the public hearing at 6:29 pm.
Agenda Item No. 9 was the Introduction and First Public Hearing on Ordinance No. 2011-an Ordinance Adopting the General Operating Budget and Capital Improvement Program of the Mayor and City Council of Laurel, Maryland for the Fiscal Year of July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024, to Levy Property Taxes and Authorize the Collection of Such Taxes. President Smith read the title into the record for the First Public Hearing. Director Saylor noted that the General Operating Budget for FY2024 was $4l,341,675.00; the reauthorization of funds for the Capital Improvement Program was $28,180,422.00; The new requests for existing project funds was $6,596,395.00; And the brand-new projects had been previously discussed would be $3,219,000.00. President Smith opened the public hearing at 6:31 P.M. Ms. Maria Gonzales-Jackson was signed up to speak. Ms. Gonzales-Jackson noted that she was the Vice Chair of the Laurel Education Advisory Committee and spoke in support of the Education Advisory Committee’s proposal to the Mayor and City Council for funding grants for twenty-four (24) schools in the Laurel area including Public and Private Schools. Ms. Gonzales-Jackson noted that the proposed budget included funding for $500 grants that would be awarded to each school. Ms. Gonzales-Jackson noted that the County had a 35% proficiency rate in Reading and only 20% in Math. Ms. Gonzales-Jackson believed that the grants would help each school in providing extra resources. In conclusion there was no one else signed up to speak. President Smith closed the public hearing at 6:34 pm. President Smith noted that the second public hearing, with possible action on the item, would be held on May 22, 2023.
There being no further business to go before the Mayor and City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 6:34 pm.
Sara A. Green, CMC, City Clerk September 11, 2023