Town Meeting Minutes
Town Council Chambers
July 12, 2023| 7:00 p.m.
Call to Order
Mayor Jodie Kulpa-Eddy called the meeting to order at 6:59pm. Present was Councilmember Faustino Menjivar with Councilmember Shinita Hemby attending remotely. Councilmember Jason Papanikolas had an excused absence. Mayor Pro Tem Chris Brittan-Powell joined after the approval of the agenda.
Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Kulpa-Eddy shared about Berwyn Heights Police Officer, Sergeant Duck’s memorial services. There were no other announcements.
2. Approval of Agenda
CM Menjivar moved to approve the agenda. CM Hemby seconded. With no discussion the motion passed unanimously (3:0)
3. Public Hearing: Ordinance 189 ARPA Budget
Mayor Kulpa-Eddy reviewed how the ARPA funds needed to be allocated by ordinance, which was introduced at the June Town Meeting. She opened the public hearing at 7:03pm and with no comments, she closed the hearing at 7:05pm.
MPT Brittan-Powell moved to approve the consent agenda. CM Menjivar seconded. In discussion, MPT Brittan-Powell shared that residents have commented they would like to have the department reports presented by the department heads and requested that it be part of a future worksession agenda to discuss. With no further discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
5. Mayor & Councilmember Reports
Mayor Kulpa-Eddy shared that she attended part of a public forum on Thursday June 22, 2023 with the UMD School of Architecture, Urban Planning and Preservation on stormwater management and climate change. The focus was on rainfall runoff and stream restoration. She also shared about attending the Maryland Municipal League (MML) Summer Conference, where it was announced that Berwyn Heights was again a Banner City for 2023. She reviewed the classes she attended at the conference. She stated that the Town Council and the UMD School of Public Health are looking for residents to apply for the Community Advisory Team (CAT). She concluded with a reminder that M-NCPPC parks are smoke free, including all forms of tobacco and marijuana.
MPT Brittan-Powell shared that he spent some time out and about with CM Menjivar speaking with residents. He and ITM Jones also visited 59th Ave during a rainstorm and had conversations with those residents.
CM Hemby shared that she also attended MML, focusing on the Academy core classes, where the instructors were informative and great.
CM Menjivar provided highlights from the Public Works report, including their focus on curb painting and pruning bushes and trees at corners of intersections to increase visibility. There was discussion on who determined what areas needed trimming. Mayor Kulpa-Eddy asked residents to let the Town know if they notice areas of overgrowth that may need to be cut back.
6. Committee Reports
a. Education Advisory Committee: There was no report.
b. Green Team: CM Hemby shared that the Green Team has received permission from BHES to work on and rejuvenate the school garden, with funding from the Council.
c. Historical Committee: Mayor Kulpa-Eddy read a report from the BHHC sharing that they will be participating in National Night Out (NNO) and they’ve been working on updating the brochures to make these available at NNO. There will be no meeting in July, but there will be a meeting on August 23, 2023 at 7:30 in the G. Love Room. Visitors are always welcome.
d. Neighborhood Watch/ Emergency Preparedness: Mayor Kulpa-Eddy shared that the June CPR/AED/PulsePoint App training had to be postponed and they are looking to reschedule in the Fall. NNO will be on Tuesday, August 1, from 6-8pm at Town Center.
e. Recreation Council: Mayor Kulpa-Eddy shared they will also be at NNO. There is a concert on August 3 from 6-8pm at Sports Park. The next meeting has been moved to Aug 8, 2023 due to NNO.
7. Old Business
a. Ordinance 189 ARPA Budget Adoption
Mayor Kulpa-Eddy reviewed the ARPA budget process again and how those funds need to be allocated. Ordinance 189 currently funds a stormwater management consultant, grants for financial relief for businesses and residents, and a partnership with the UMD SPH, among other projects. There is still about $1.7 million to be allocated which will be handled in future budget amendments.
MPT Brittan-Powell moved to adopt Ordinance 189. CM Hemby seconded. MPT Brittan-Powell asked if we can amend the budget before moving forward with the vote . Mayor Kulpa-Eddy stated that she believes it would best be done through a future budget amendment. MPT Brittan-Powell stated there are a few of these projects that he understood, but he would like to make $90-$120 thousand available for placemaking. There was considerable discussion regarding the inclusion, which highlighted that CM Menjivar and CM Papanikolas were not present for the placemaking presentation and may not be aware of what this entails. MPT Brittan-Powell reiterated his belief that it was a mutually agreed-upon decision to include this funding and that the delay in the fund approval would be a significant hinderance. MPT Brittan-Powell stated that he cannot support this as presented. CM Hemby stated that she could support the document. CM Menjivar asked about the procedure on why it would be two months before the amendment funding would be available. MPT Brittan-Powell made his argument to CM Menjivar. CM Menjivar stated his concern is that we need to keep moving on all the items that are in the ordinance and not delay them for placemaking. CM Hemby moved to adopt the ordinance as presented. CM Menjivar seconded. The motion passed 3:1, with MPT Brittan-Powell opposed.
8. New Business
a. Resolution 07-2023 Small Cell Facilities
Mayor Kulpa-Eddy stated federal law requires municipalities to allow installation of small cell facilities but gives them some authority to determine some of the criteria those facilities must meet. Given that Staff does not have the expertise to evaluate applications for small cell facilities, Resolution 07-2023 allows the Town to engage with an independent consultant, CTC Technology & Energy, to evaluate applications when the Town receives them. The Town is permitted to assign the cost of the evaluation by an independent consultant to the applicant. Town Clerk Friesen read the resolution into record. MPT Brittan-Powell moved to approve the resolution. CM Hemby seconded. With no discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
b. Resolution 08-2023 Notice of Intent to Apply for Hazard Mitigation Grants
Mayor Kulpa-Eddy asked Town Clerk to read the resolution into the record, which authorizes the Town Manager or designee to submit a notice of interest and apply for Hazard Mitigation Grants from the Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security. ITM Jones shared that he believes the Town is only ready to add capability and capacity building activities. He doesn’t believe we are ready to apply for mitigation projects, or the actual construction projects. MPT Brittan-Powell had concerns about not including mitigation projects. Mayor Kulpa-Eddy agreed, stating that we should include mitigation projects, in case the Town is ready during the grant cycle. MPT Brittan-Powell moved to approve Resolution 08-2023. CM Menjivar seconded. With no discussion the motion passed unanimously.
c. Four Cities Agenda Items
Mayor Kulpa-Eddy reviewed that Berwyn Heights will be hosting the Four Cities Coalition meeting on July 27th. Pepco has been invited to give a presentation on their streetlight tariff filing with the Public Service Commission. Residents are welcome to attend. Specific items of interest for Berwyn Heights include Housing and Food Security, and Aging-in-Place submitted by MPT Brittan-Powell, and a discussion on transportation for elderly residents submitted by CM Menjivar.
9. Resident & Community Comments
Mayor Kulpa-Eddy shared that a resident had asked if the Town can do anything about people who don’t pick up after their animals.
Resident Justin Mcmullan (Ruatan Street) shared that Public Works is doing a great job of picking up refuse, but car drivers are not considerate around the stopped trucks, and he has concerns about the safety of the workers. He also expressed concern about household bio-hazardous waste not being disposed of properly. He mentioned concern about littering and trash that is caught in fences near the commercial areas of Town. He also expressed concern about work vehicles parked on the streets of Town overnight. He shared about a large spot of oil that had leaked onto 58th Avenue that needs to be cleaned up. MPT Brittan-Powell asked for suggested fixes for his concerns. Mr. Mcmullan suggested the Town consider issuing a limited number of parking permits for each house.
CM Menjivar moved to adjourn the meeting. CM Hemby seconded. With no discussion, the motion passed unanimously, and the meeting adjourned at 8:10pm.