Happy New Year!
As you may have noticed, at our last Council meeting we voted against accepting the grant money from the state to develop predictive policing algorithms in partnership with the University Maryland. There are just too many questions and risks about such programs, especially with the program they were using the algorithms with.
As for Monday night’s Council meeting, we have quite a number of ordinances up for final votes.
I’ve also included links for another survey on the Comprehensive Plan and a special request from The Capital to hear about any losses your family may have experienced due to COVID.
Next Regular Council meeting – 1/11/20 (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
There are no public hearings at this meeting as they will be held during our second “special” meeting of the month.
Legislation being introduced on First Reader
Surprisingly, there is no legislation on the agenda that is up for First Reader.
Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)
- R-61-20 - Short Term Rental Licenses - For the purpose of placing a moratorium on the issuance of new non-owner occupied short term rental licenses in certain conservation residence districts; placing a moratorium on the transfer of existing non-owner occupied short term rental licenses in certain conservation residence districts; providing for the application of the moratorium; and setting a date for termination of the moratorium. There will be an amendment to make this a 12-month moratorium. This would only impact Ward 1, which according to the data is where 80% of the new permits (around 100 in total) for short term rentals are applied for. Of those, the majority were not owner occupied. This legislation would only apply to non-owner occupied STRs as those lead to entirely vacant homes during the week and risk altering communities. Given that this wouldn’t impact Ward 7 I’m inclined to support this out of Aldermanic courtesy to the Ward 1 Alderwoman. If she feels this would be best for her constituents, I don’t have any compelling reason to disagree with that. If you have thoughts on this moratorium, please send them to me, but I’m currently inclined to support this legislation.
- O-21-20 & O-22-20 – This legislation would convey some very small slivers of City property to a property on Cathedral street, which would allow them to install 4 parking spaces. These spaces would be accessed through a City parking lot. The property to be conveyed is currently covered with grass. Given that we would be losing permeable greenspace for paved lots, we deliberated in committee and spoke to both of the owners about how to address this. We came up with language that would require them to install some type of green infrastructure, be it vegetation or stormwater management, through consultation with our Deputy City manager for Resilience & Sustainability. Should these amendments pass, I will have no problem supporting this legislation, pending any comments from you.
- O-31-20 - Non-motorized wheeled vehicles - For the purpose of setting standards for the use of non-motorized wheeled vehicles on sidewalks; and establishing a definition. This legislation would allow certain human-powered vehicles to be used on sidewalks as long as they were used responsibly. It would also allow the City to post certain sidewalks as off-limits to such vehicles. Pending any comments from you, I am inclined to support this legislation.
- O-43-20 - Aldermanic Annual Allowance - For the purpose of specifying types of appropriate expenditures for use of the aldermanic annual allowance. This is legislation I introduced that would simply allow us to use our existing training budget on materials related to constituent outreach/services, such as town hall preparation and notification. This would NOT increase our pay. Pending comments from you, I’m inclined to support this legislation.
- O-44-20 - Employee Organizations - For the purpose of removing the deadline for employee organizations to petition the City for recognition as an exclusive bargaining agent for eligible government personnel. This legislation simply broadens the window that employees have to submit petitions to form a collective bargaining unit. Pending input from you, I’m inclined to support this legislation.
- O-45-20 – This legislation makes improvements to the Audit Committee. While I support the improvements, I will be introducing amendments to make this consistent with our other Boards, Commissions, and Committees. Given that this is not a Council standing committee, I don’t believe it should have Alderpersons serving on it. I feel it would better serve the Council and public by being made up entirely of public members (it currently has 3 Alderpersons), which would also help create more independence. Pending any input from you, I am inclined to support this legislation with or without amendments.
- R-17-20 - Annual Statement of Performance Standards - For the purpose of approving the annual performance statements filed by City agencies and departments. This legislation essentially adopts performance standards for the current fiscal year. The Council hasn’t done this for many years and this renewed practice got underway late. While I support the idea, I am not inclined to support these standards as they haven’t been updated to reflect our current environmental organizational structure, nor do they have performance standards for important environmental programs like our forest conservation, stormwater management, or sediment control programs. I’ll be attempting to amend this but I’m not sure it’s possible given how this legislation is structured. If not I’ll work to get these changes implemented in the standards for the next fiscal year.
- R-66-20 - Charter Revision Commission - For the purpose of appointing a Commission to make a comprehensive study of the government of the City; and all matters relating to said Commission. Given how this is a requirement of the code, I intend to fully support this legislation.
- R-67-20 - Maryland Emancipation Day - For the purpose of supporting the establishment of November 1st as Maryland Emancipation Day; and generally relating to Maryland Emancipation Day. This legislation expresses support to the State to create a State Holiday known as Maryland Emancipation Day. The related ordinance, O-51-20, would establish that holiday for the City. I support celebrating “Emancipation Day” but I’m not so sure about creating a new holiday. If the City adds another holiday it does have a fiscal impact, and given the pandemic’s impacts on our budget I’m not sure the timing is wise on this effort. I remain undecided on this and will listen to your comments and that of my colleagues.
Have you lost loved ones to COVID? If so, The Capital wants to help their story
In Anne Arundel County, COVID-19 stole at least 339 lives. It’s an overwhelming number. But we also know every person meant more than the disease that took them.
We want to know who we lost. Did they coach little league? Were their cookies the star of Christmas every year? Did they always know what to say or how to comfort?
It’s impossible to know how far grief ripples when this disease plucks someone from their life.
But at The Capital, it’s our goal to honor those lives and put words to that grief as best I can.
New Short Comprehensive Plan Survey, and Surveys in Spanish
We are releasing a new shorter survey to capture your general priorities for the Comprehensive Plan update. Right now there is only an English version, but we will release a Spanish version of it as well in the near future.
The previously released Redevelopment and Mobility surveys are now also in Spanish for those of you more comfortable in Spanish.
The deadline to fill out the English versions of the Redevelopment and Mobility surveys is being extended another month to the end of January to allow everyone an opportunity to participate, so if you have not already done so, we encourage you to spend a few minutes of your time in filling them out and offering your welcome input.
You can access all of the surveys through the Comprehensive Plan website or through the links listed below: