Cambridge City Council holds property tax rate

Cambridge Seal
CAMBRIDGE — Depending on your interests, priorities, and maybe age, the Council dealt with three big issues on Tuesday night. I am taking a guess on the order of importance to you. The first, NO RAISE IN TAXES! The tax rate for your home remains at 0.7989/$100 of real property and 0.169/$100 for personal property. (Personal property refers to the equipment owned and used in a business.) The city’s proposed $14 million dollar budget can be viewed at City Hall during business hours. On June 8, the commissioners will have another look at the budget.
The Taste of Cambridge returns on July 11. Brandon Hesson, director of Main Street Cambridge, was at council securing the noise variances and permits that allow us a glorious celebration of the bounty of the waters and the hard work of the watermen. Last year 14 restaurants participated in the street fest and feast.
Some progress on the city manager process: Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley announced that the appointed search committee is a group of learned and passionate people who are making progress. The group presented some questions. 1. The original legislation allowed $25,000 for a consultant; can they use that money for Web and newspaper ads? Answer: No, not without an official changing of rules. 2. Since the pressure is on for an interim manager, can the person selected in the permanent search become the interim manager? Answer: Yes.
In the meantime, the council has empowered themselves to sign checks and handle personnel matters so the city can function. The search committee meanwhile is working on several initiatives to accomplish the goal — a qualified city manager in place.
Other business: The city will move forward on the repair and repaving of High Street in the bricked part of the street. The state’s $800,000 grant will pay for it, the high cost taking into consideration the infrastructure under the street. (The state will not pay for replacing the quaint bricks, but Cambridge has funds to do that part of the project.)
Four commissioners voted “Aye” to proceed. Commissioner Sydnor voted “No.” He would prefer to use the funds to build sidewalks on the streets that children use going to school that are ditch-lined. Seemingly negative, Commissioner Sydnor is consistently seeking improvements that impact on children.
Comcast is closing its facility in Cambridge. People using that office to get services will be inconvenienced and have to go further afield or use the mails. A Comcast representative at the meeting agreed to a fresh look at the franchise agreement it holds with the city. (Frankly, I don’t understand all of that.)
In the Public Comment portion of the meeting, Portia Johnson, a Cambridge homeowner, was saddened by the tragedy in Princess Anne County, where an entire family was wiped out by leaking carbon monoxide. She is encouraging the city to look into its regulations both in private residences and rentals, to insure such a tragedy could not occur in Cambridge. Mayor Jackson-Stanley has asked the Fire and Rescue Company to follow up with statistics and regulations.
Richard Lalka also spoke up. He is appalled by the apparent inaction of the city on burned out properties on Race Street and the empty stores on Poplar. He asks, “What’s the point of making Maryland Avenue inviting to tourism if people will drive in and want to turn around and drive out again?” He wants to see some action on those unattractive sites. Who doesn’t?

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