Perryville officials respond to traffic safety concerns along Cedar Corner Road

Perryville town leaders debated Tuesday whether to send a request to Cecil County officials to make a portion of Cedar Corner Road a one-way street in order to address complaints about traffic issues from neighborhood residents.

They decided to discuss the matter more during an upcoming work session and did not take a vote Tuesday.

Mayor Jim Eberhardt recommended to the town commissioners that the two-lane Cedar Corner from the railroad underpass to Route 40 (Pulaski Highway) should be made one-way going toward Route 40.

The Perryville town boundary extends slightly east of the intersection of Cedar Corner and Ingleside Avenue, and the remainder of Cedar Corner, going toward Route 40, is maintained by Cecil County.

Eberhardt told the commissioners that the county would need to approve making that section of road one-way.

The county-maintained portion of Cedar Corner is about a quarter of a mile long, and the section between the underpass and the highway is about 200 feet, according to Town Administrator Denise Breder.

The mayor said residents who live in the neighborhood along Cedar Corner have expressed concerns to town officials about three months ago about traffic safety in their community, especially as the road is used as a shortcut from Route 40 to Route 222 (Perryville Road).

Residents had also mentioned there is no deceleration lane for drivers traveling west on Route 40, which would allow them to safely slow down and make a right turn on Cedar Corner – Eberhardt said even he checks his rearview mirror carefully when turning right on Cedar Corner.

"In looking at that situation, it certainly seemed to be a better alternative to make it one way out to Route 40," he explained.

The mayor said he had "been bugging the heck out of" county officials on the matter in response to a question from Commissioner Raymond A. Ryan about why it had taken at least three months from the time when residents expressed their concerns during a town meeting to the point where the commissioners were voting on sending a request to the county.

"I could tell you I have way too many questions to be able to address this now," Ryan said.

Commissioner Barbara Brown made a motion to send the request to the county, saying she wants the town to work to reduce traffic, especially in residential areas, as it becomes a greater issue for Perryville.

"If you can reduce it in a residential community, I think that's a good thing," she said.

Brown did not get a second on her motion, however, and it died.

Commissioner Michelle Linkey, who also said she wants to gather more information about making the change to one-way, made a motion to bring the matter up at the town's next work session, to give commissioners time to compile "questions and concerns" and send them to town staffers to gather more information to present at the work session.

The commissioners voted 3-1 in favor of Linkey's motion; Brown voted against it.

Insurance policy changed

The town commissioners voted unanimously to accept a bid from the Local Government Insurance Trust, or LGIT, to serve as Perryville's insurance carrier.

Breder said the policy, which has an annual cost of $105,825, would cover all municipal insurance needs other than employee health coverage.

The town administrator said the LGIT policy would take effect Nov. 15.

Eberhardt noted a majority of municipalities in Maryland are covered through LGIT, which is a nonprofit entity founded by the Maryland Association of Counties and the Maryland Municipal League.

The organization lists 139 municipalities as members on its website, including Cecil County communities of Port Deposit, Elkton and Rising Sun.

There are 178 LGIT members, including 17 counties, overall.

New retirement plan

The commissioners introduced an ordinance Tuesday to amend the town's personnel manual to show the change in retirement plans approved by the commissioners during their October meeting, when they voted to change the town employee retirement plan from a SIMPLE IRA to a 457(b) plan.

Eberhardt said the 457(b) plan, which is often used by state and local governments, would give employees more "flexibility" in their investment options.

The town will match employee contributions up to 3 percent, as officials did under the previous plan.

Breder wrote in an e-mail Wednesday that employees can contribute more than 3 percent to their retirement, or up to $17,500 each year.

Employees who are three years from the retirement age can make an even greater contribution, Breder stated.

Richmond Hills agreement

The commissioners also unanimously approved a pilot agreement between the town and the Richmond Hill Manor Senior Apartments Limited Partnership.

Officials with the partnership had a building at 100 Carter Court renovated with 40 rental units for senior citizens; that apartment complex has since opened.

The partnership obtained financial support from the state in the form of a loan, and from the town in the form of real property tax reductions.

The agreement approved Tuesday called for a 10-year property tax reduction of $26,400, or $2,640 per year.

Signage approved

The commissioners unanimously approved placing a stop sign near Marion Tapp Parkway to signal truck drivers leaving the Perry Point VA Medical Center, as well as signs in the area to alert the public to trucks traveling to and from the medical center.

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