Changes to lease agree­ment irk Perryville of­fi­cials

MDTA changes con­tract

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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-

PERRYVILLE

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.

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