Changes to lease agreement irk Perryville officials
MDTA changes contract
— Town officials have expressed their frustration with the Maryland Transportation Authority over recent changes made to a lease that was set between the two entities many years ago.
Perryville had a longterm lease on a surplus piece of MDTA property, which the town used as overflow parking for the boat ramp off Roundhouse Drive.
“Originally we had a 99-
year lease for no (cost),” said Commissioner Ray Ryan.
The lease was suspended in 2008, according to MDTA spokesman John Sales, so the state could use the property for staging during construction on and around the Hatem Bridge. Sales said the town knew then about the change in terms.
“When the current construction project is complete in about 1.5 years, we will revisit the lease with the town,” Sales said Wednesday. “Five-year leases are typical duration for state leases, hence the MDTA’s proposal to move to a five-year lease with a five-year renewal.”
However, when notified of the change, Denise Breder, town administrator, said town officials were led to believe the standing agreement would go back into force. She shared with the Cecil Whig the language from the notice given by MDTA:
“Currently, you lease property located underneath the Hatem Bridge from the Authority under a Lease dated April 6, 2001. However, as a result of our construction project, the Authority must temporarily terminate the Lease and the use of the property, based on Section 6 of the Lease titled “Termination for Convenience,” until its construction project has been completed. Further, the Authority will not pay any costs to you for the temporary termination of the Lease and use of the property. Upon completion of the construction project, the Authority will provide you with written notice that it will reinstate the Lease and your use of the property.” The mayor was peeved. “Now they turn around and modify the lease to us,” said Mayor Jim Eberhardt. “In principle I am unhappy with this.”
Town officials had to decide Tuesday night whether to accept the new agreement. Breder said deadlines set at the state level required some response from Perryville.
Eberhardt said this MDTA move, like the move to allow bicycles on the Hatem Bridge, was done without public input.
“I was disappointed that we were not allowed to appear before the board of public works to comment on this, just like we were given no public hearing for the bike thing,” the mayor said, participating via telephone. Eberhardt said he may force the issue.
“I am seriously considering an appearance before the Maryland Board of Public Works,” he said of the governing body that makes such decisions.
The Maryland Board of Public Works consists of the governor, the comptroller, and the treasurer voting on contracts, expenditures, and lease agreements. It also approves school construction funding, land preservation, procurement and governs which vendors may work with the state.
Commissioner Michelle Linkey suggested the town’s position be restated.
“We should send a letter saying we want the property and these are the terms,” Linkey said.
Breder said Thursday that the letter was still being drafted.