He also said the council should keep evaluating charges based on the current consumer price index and "the potential impact on the city's planning authority and zoning control should be carefully considered."

He recommended all capital projects that have been deferred or postponed be reviewed again for "necessity and feasibility," which can be done as a joint project with the public works department and other agencies.

The commission is also strongly recommending establishing a capital reserve fund.

"After six years of working on the water and sewer issues in this city, I am cautiously optimistic that we are heading in the right direction," Lyttle said. "The hard work of the mayor, his administration, this council and the last council have shown we are moving in the right direction."

Craig thanked him for submitting a "very cogent report."

He also pointed out the problem lies in two areas, debt service and capital projects in an older system.

"On the operational side, things are going very well," he said.

Lyttle agreed, adding: "Most of the problems we have as far as debt service, these are things that are mandated. They are not things we came up with."

Dougherty said he is also "positively optimistic" and believes "things are looking favorable" in housing trends as well.

Steven Lay, of the marina commission, said his group believes rate stability is the main component in keeping the marina the most affordable option for people and believes it must be a self-supporting enterprise, but warned about the increasing need for dredging.

The city's waterway experienced "unusual silting" from storms last year, he said, which required dredging the main channel to the marina, as well as other areas.

The commission is concerned that the rapid silting is an indication that dredging will become an "even more common problem along the waterfront," he said, adding it poses a threat to the long-term stability of the marina.

"Historically, there hasn't been a lot of dredging," Lay said. "What was once a self-sustaining channel now requires ever-increasing dredging to maintain its depths."

Conowingo Dam will also be undergoing a process to remove silt, he noted, and recommended the marina establish connections with federal, state and other organizations working on the problem.

"Without any corrective action, the marina commission believes dredging costs will become an increasing operational cost," he said.

Lay also noted parking needs at the marina regularly exceed the capacity of the existing lot, especially on weekends and holidays.

In addition, the marina commission recommends a bi-annual rate increase program to generate revenue for city operations, with reserves to be set initially at $25,000.

"The contract slip rates should be increased from $55 to $57 per linear foot," he added, explaining the commission would re-evaluate the rates every other year.

Dougherty said he agreed with the recommendations and recently had a meeting regarding the recent dredging.

Also at the meeting

-Dougherty presented Martin with a British cannonball recovered at the Havre de Grace lighthouse, reported to be one of the cannonballs fired at John O'Neill, who defended the city during the War of 1812. Dougherty said it was for the Visitor Center and the upcoming commemoration of the War of 1812.

-June Gangel was re-appointed to the RAD loan committee.

-Matt Pramschufer was appointed to the economic development advisory board.

-The city council recognized the news team at Havre de Grace Elementary School, which include Jordan Breeden, Nikolas Mucha, Gabriella Vega, Connor Davis, Micah Jacobs, Hannah Goad, Savannah Adams and TaShawn Watters.

The council also recognized Rishi Patel at Meadowvale Elementary School, Christina Wilson at Havre de Grace Middle School and Allison Grabowski at Havre de Grace High School as Students of the Month.