UP Meeting Notes: Officials Sworn In, Pepco Trimmers May Need Permits
Mayor John Tabori said the utility's plans to trim trees in the area could be detrimental to the town or even dangerous.
Two council members and Mayor John Tabori were sworn in for a new term at Monday night's meeting of the University Park Town Council. The council also discussed at length Pepco’s plans to trim trees in town and approved several ordinances.
Below is a summary of key events:
Official swearing-in of the mayor
Mayor John Tabori, who was recently reelected, was officially sworn in by Circuit Court Clerk Marilynn Bland at the start of Monday night’s meeting.
Swearing-in of council members
Tabori swore in reelected Councilmember David Brosch for Ward 1 and newly elected Councilmember Roy Alvarez for Ward 7.
Arlene Christiansen, newly elected councilmember for Ward 3, was also scheduled to be sworn in but was not present at the meeting. Tabori said she will be sworn in in the next few days.
The council unanimously approved the University Park Civic Association’s request to close Queens Chapel Road between Town Hall/Baltimore Avenue and University Park Elementary School on Wednesday, July 4 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Tabori reported that Pepco wants to trim trees that surround their wires in order to ease some of the difficulties they face and increase reliability. He said he has begun discussions with Pepco Region Vice President for Maryland Jerry Pasternak about requiring the utility to obtain a permit from the town in order to trim trees.
If the trees are trimmed poorly they could fall, Tabori said, referencing a recent Gazette article that indicated Pepco had become much more aggressive in its tree trimming program. The loss of the trees would be detrimental to the town and could a pose safety concern for surrounding homes and cars, Tabori said.
Tabori asked that University Park residents who receive notification from Pepco regarding tree trimming or who see Pepco employees trimming trees should notify their councilmember or the mayor.
Additionally, Tabori reported that construction on the town’s roads is continuing quickly and should be finished by the end of July.
STEP-UP director’s report
STEP-UP Director Chuck Wilson said that numbers have continued to increase steadily and that he expects a big push this summer.
Wilson said the program wil expand to include College Heights, Riverdale Park, and Hyattsville. Base line focus group work will be conducted in those communities to ask about what drives energy efficiency.
A project to install solar panels on the roof of University Park Elementary School is also in the works for STEP. Wilson says they are preparing requests for proposals for an engineering study, and that once they have board approval and a study people are comfortable with, they will begin work.
Wilson added that construction will likely not occur until 2013. The project will make UPES the first public school in Prince George's County with roof-mounted panels.
Public Works director’s report
Pepco replaced mercury vapor and incandescent street light bulbs earlier this year, Public Works Director Mickey Beall said. However, he noted that he has had difficulty getting information from Pepco on which lights were replaced and has yet to see a change in the electricity bill, despite the fact that the new lights should be more efficient.
Beall said he and Tabori are discussing when and in what amount to request a credit for those charges.
University Park Police chief’s report
Chief Michael Wynnyk reported that officers began using green practice ammunition recently. He said it’s more expensive but worth it to reduce the amount of lead that ends up in the land on the practice area.
The council members unanimously approved the adoption of Emergency Amended Ordinance 12-O-05, which provides town employees with monetary and other recognition bonuses for specified years of service. The ordinance will go into effect Tuesday afternoon.
Tabori reminded everyone that representatives from Bolan Smart will present the results of the U.S. Route 1 market study on Monday, July 2 at 8 p.m. at Riverdale Park Town Hall.
Ward 1 Councilmember David Brosch reported that the town has the opportunity to install charging stations for electric cars, but that the council will need to determine if its budget will cover the cost of the installation. Tabori said he may call a special meeting before the end of the month to make a decision.