City budget passes, rent freeze legislation to be introduced

As The Capital reported, the Annapolis FY21 budget was passed. I ended up voting no for the reasons I stated in my last email: I felt it was/is inappropriate to be giving three different pay increases to City employees at a time when so many of you are out of work, and at a time when your taxes are going up. The good news is that we took some initial baby steps towards making cuts to the Police Department (pulling money to fill their vacancies), which will hopefully give us time to discuss greater organizational changes to the Department. Over the next few weeks we will be making a number of policy changes to respond to the police violence we’re seeing around the Country. All that said, I’m glad the budget is now behind us. A few of us will likely be working on improving the process for next year to try to avoid some of the headaches we’ve had this time around.

We also have much overdue legislation being introduced on Monday, which is a rent freeze preventing increases while the City is under a State of Emergency. I’ve sponsored this along with Alderman Gay and Alderwoman Tierney.

 Take care everyone, and enjoy the nice weather,

Rob

Next Council meeting - 6/22/20 (agenda)

This Council meeting is starting at 7pm and will be televised on local cable, Facebook, and the City website (www.annapolis.gov). Due to COVID-19, our meetings are now being held virtually. http://www.youtube.com/CityofAnnapolis http://www.facebook.com/CityofAnnapolis

Anyone needing reasonable accommodation to be able to participate in a public meeting held by the City of Annapolis should contact Regina Watkins-Eldridge at 410.263.7942, by MD Relay (711), or by email at cityclerk@annapolis.gov at least five days prior to the meeting date to request assistance.

If you would like to submit public testimony, we have included a new link allowing written testimony to be submitted into the recorded minutes of the meeting. Submit written testimony: http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony.

My comments on legislation below are in bold italics.

Public hearings

  • O-15-20 - Waterfront Mixed Maritime District - For the purpose of allowing professional offices in the WMM zoning district in accordance with certain standards; amending certain parking standards; and making stylistic changes

Legislation being introduced on First Reader

  • O-24-20 - Deadline for Absentee Ballots - For the purpose of changing the deadline for the timeliness of absentee ballots for City of Annapolis elections
  • O-25-20 - Conveyance of City-Owned Rights-of-Way at Newtowne 20 - For the purpose of approving the conveyance of City-owned rights-of-way within the Newtowne 20 neighborhood; expressly authorizing said conveyance to be made at private sale and not at public auction; expressly finding that the City-owned land to be conveyed is not needed for public use; and matters generally relating to said conveyance.
  • O-26-20 - Rent Increases During State of Emergency - Prohibited - For the purpose of prohibiting certain rent increases during a State of Emergency; and generally related to the rent increase prohibition. I am a co-sponsor of this legislation.
  • O-27-20 - Other Excluded Service Employees - For the purpose of providing policies and practices concerning other excluded service employees, including full-time, temporary, and grant-funded employees; providing definitions; and generally relating to contractual employees.
  • R-34-20 - Community Development Block Grant Program - 2020 Amended Citizen Participation Plan - For the purpose of adopting an Amended Citizen Participation Plan as it relates to the administration of the Community Planning and Development programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • R-35-20 - 2021 Election - For the purpose of authorizing the City of Annapolis to contract with the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections to administer the City of Annapolis Primary and General Elections that will take place on September 21, 2021 and November 2, 2021, respectively; and providing for the option of voting by mail as may be mutually agreed to by the City of Annapolis Board of Supervisors of Elections and the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections.
  • R-37-20 - Director of Public Works - Michael Johnson, P.E. - For the purpose of expressly confirming the appointment of Michael Johnson as the Director of Public Works; and consenting to compensate the Director.
  • R-38-20 - Position Classifications and Pay Plan - For the purpose of approving the FY 2021 position classifications and pay plan; and specifying an effective date.

Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)

  • O-19-20 - City Council Public Hearings - For the purpose of clarifying the rules ofprocedure concerning the scheduling of public hearings before the City Council. There was some conflicting code language on when public hearings are supposed to happen and when legislation is supposed to go to the Planning Commission for review. This clarifies the process. I have a question about this legislation but otherwise I support the intention, pending any comments from you.
  • O-5-20 - City Council Meetings - Order of Business - For the purpose of modifying the order of business for regular and special meetings of the City Council. I am the primary sponsor on this legislation. What I’m seeking to do is have one of our monthly meetings be dedicated to public hearings, citations, and reports, and then the second meeting be dedicated to deliberating on legislation on second reader. My intention is to allow us to deliberate on legislation earlier in the evening, as opposed to having it be last on our agenda, where we often don’t end up voting until 10 or 11 at night.
  • O-11-19 - R2-NC District - Demolitions - For the purpose of requiring a structural analysis prior to demolition of a residential structure or building in the R2-NC, Single-Family Residential Neighborhood Conservation District; requiring execution of a contract between the city and a structural engineer prior to demolition; and generally relating to the demolition of a residential structure or building in the R2-NC District. I’m inclined to support this legislation, pending any comments from you.
  • O-19-19 - Adequate Public Facilities - Auto transportation facilities - For the purpose of clarifying the circumstances that would require a traffic impact analysis for a proposed project; clarifying the standards to be used to determine adequacy; and generally relating to the adequacy of auto transportation facilities. I believe we may be withdrawing this and introducing a new piece of legislation aiming to address the same concern: strengthening our adequate public facilities standards for traffic.
  • R-31-20 - Hiring Freeze - For the purpose of imposing a hiring freeze on non-critical positions in the City of Annapolis, providing for an effective date; and providing for a termination date. As written, this hiring freeze wouldn’t do much, as it exempts all of our public safety positions and anything “deemed critical to public safety or delivery of essential services”. Exempting our two largest departments (and more) ceases to make this a freeze and I don’t see the point otherwise. I have an amendment to remove this language to have it apply to all of our vacant full-time positions. My rationale is this: by freezing such positions, especially in regards to the Police Department, it forces the Departments to come to the Council before filling vacant positions, giving the Council leverage to determine what kind of position we want filled. For example, rather than just hiring another standard armed police officer, maybe we want a mental health first responder. This gives us the time to figure out what kind of positions we want this Department to fill and gives us space to do any reorganization or defunding that we see fit to pursue as policy-makers. I’m inclined to vote in favor of this legislation if my amendment passes, otherwise I’ll likely vote against, pending any comments from you.

Updates

Citywide dining and shopping events/re-openings


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