From a presentation by Frito-Lay to approving the much-discussed Transit Oriented Development code to giving the OK for the police to sell one of its old cars, there was more than just pay raises and potholes addressed at Monday night's Aberdeen City Council meeting.
"This has been one of my big goals to this through," Councilwoman Sandy Landbeck said after the mayor and the four-member city council voted unanimously to approve a revision of the city's development code to include Transit Oriented Development.
City officials expect the change in the zoning code to helped spur redevelopment of Aberdeen's downtown basically from Rogers Street east and south to the Amtrak station and continuing into much of east Aberdeen.
In other business at Monday night's Aberdeen City Council meeting:
• The council and mayor unanimously approved changes to the necessary requirements for a person to be a candidate for either position. The biggest change is "The Ethics Commission concurrently shall review the candidate's financial disclosure form required by Chapter 43 of this code and report its findings to the Board of Elections in that same time period." Failing to properly complete the financial disclosure form will be grounds for the Election Board to "reject the certificate of candidacy," according to the approved changes.
• A revised campaign finance law, after a motion to approve it and then a motion to amend it were seconded, was tabled until Monday, March 24, the next city council meeting. Action was delayed for a month, in part, to consider an amendment suggested during the public comment portion of the meeting by Mike Hiob, a former councilman, who asked the council to consider adding a place to account for travel expenses.
• The mayor and council approved several budget related amendments, including a specific budget amendment that increases the General Fund budget expenditures by $214,500 and the Capital Projects Fund expenditures by $906,404.
The new operating expenses are: $1,400 for firing range maintenance; $500 for National Night Out; $9,600 for electronic traffic citation equipment; $5,000 to paint the Senior Center; $68,000 as a donation to the construction of a baseball field at the Boys and Girls Club; $5,000 for unexpected vehicle maintenance; $19,000 for an audio/visual system for the city council chamber; and the transfer of $50,000 from the operating budget to the capital budget.
The $50,000 is part of a transaction that will replace a relatively new mini excavator that doesn't function as well as public works officials expected with a more powerful mini excavator.
In addition to the $50,000 for a mini excavator, the other capital expenditures approved in the budget amendment are $333,728 for BRAC Zone improvement projects; $147,520 as a carry over of prior years Community Development Block Grant projects; $100,000 for a water feature at Festival Park across Parke Street from Aberdeen City Hall; $61,700 for sidewalk improvements; $213,456 for a carry over of street resurfacing projects from prior years.
The mayor and city council unanimously approved the creation of a fund balance policy that requires the city to "maintain a minimum unassigned fund balance of 15 percent and a maximum of 50 percent of general fund revenues…"
In a somewhat related action, the mayor and city council unanimously approved an amended debt management policy that will limit the city's general long-term debt to 10 percent of total operating revenue.
• Frito-Lay officials made a second presentation on the company's plans for a $60 million investment that will upgrade the facility and add 164,000 square feet of new warehouse space.
"This is a distribution only," explained Richard Smucker, of the Frito-Lay operation in Aberdeen, who made the presentation. "There is no manufacturing with this project."
He added that projections call for Frito-Lay to use an additional 2,000 gallons of water daily for the expanded operation. Frito-Lay's preliminary site plan was approved, 5-0.
• The mayor and city council also approved, by a 5-0 vote, the preliminary site plan for another Habitat For Humanity house. This one is to be built on First Street.
• Steve Smith, Aberdeen's deputy police chief, substituting for Chief Henry Trabert, reported the agency is selling a 1990 Ford Crown Victoria police car as surplus property.
• Councilwoman Ruth Elliott made a plea for new volunteers to help with the daily operation of the Aberdeen Room Museum.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun