By Jalen Wade
Special to The Sentinel
BOWIE –The Bowie City Council held its first meeting of the month on Aug. 5 and focused on concerns with living spaces, transportation and approval of bills.
The meeting began with citizen participation. Residents stepped up to the podium to speak with the council about different issues or changes they would like to be addressed. One of these issues was presented by Dr. Carmen House.
House was very upset with the conditions of her apartment complex, The Bowen Apartments. House had been living there for five years but recently found several issues with the complex, such as safety and security concerns as well as billing irregularities.
“We have residents with two people, their water bill fluctuates, their charge maybe $8 or $10 a month whereas I have a one-bedroom with two dogs and I’m paying $50 and it’s going up $10 and $15 every month,” said House.
Another issue came up concerning multiple homeless people who had been seen in the apartment area multiple times living in the stairwell of the building. One of them even defecated in the stairwell and left it in a bag.
Distribution of the Bowie Family Service Volunteer Awards also took place during the meeting. These awards were given to people who performed outstanding service in assisting children and families in Bowie.
City Manager Al Lott reported that the city was preparing for the next fiscal year.
A piece of old business on the docket was to amend Section 58 of the Charter of the City of Bowie to provide the council authority to issue bonds and notes privately negotiated or publically after solicitation of competitive bids.
“The purpose of the charter amendment resolution is really to provide the city with flexibility with how it approves, authorizes or documents general obligation borrowings,” said Lindsey Rader, the city’s bond counsel.
According to the memorandum, this issue was brought forth by Lott after the passing of the construction of a new ice arena in July. Only one organization was listed as the construction team and no opposing company was presented. In an unopposed vote, the motion was voted to amend the charter.
Lastly, the piece of new business for the evening dealt with the city’s transportation priority lists. The purpose of this, according to the memo released by the council, is to help decide the most important issues to deal with by the next year’s budget cycle.
It was broken into four steps: Project Planning, Design and Engineering, Right-of-Way Acquisition and Construction.
The presentation described what roads are the highest priorities to work on. The main road featured was Church Road. Resident Dennis Brady was glad to see the street on the list as he noted that there are many issues that need to be fixed. With a large amount of development coming into the area with the new ice rink and homes, the street needs to be repaired quickly he said.
“There’s no money but it needs to be improved and now the city is going to join the problem by building the ice arena on Church Road,” said Brady.
The council unanimously voted to adopt the current city’s transportation priority list.
With regards to road construction moving forward, the council discussed updating the city policy’s “All-way Stop warrants.” The two major questions for the issue were whether it is “age-relevant and still appropriate” and whether all-way stop signs should be used as a traffic calming measure.
The issue, which was presented by George Stephanos, director of public works, was not requested for any kind of action to be made but to inform the council of the topic.