Council meeting Monday, hearing on budget, more COVID updates

Our third virtual Council meeting is coming up this Monday. The big issue up for public hearing is our City budget. In a nutshell, there are virtually no enhancements (i.e. additions) to the budget, except for one for the Fire Department to replace breathing apparatuses, and perhaps a few others (I haven’t finished analyzing the budget myself yet). There is no change in the tax rate in the proposed budget. City employees would have to go half a year without a cost of living increases, though this is still being negotiated with the Union. In all likelihood, next year is when we will really feel the pressure of a tight budget due to COVID-19. We may at that time need to consider furloughs, layoffs, and of course that means service reductions. Hopefully I’ll be wrong and we will have a quick recovery or we will receive some rescue funds from the federal government.

We will be withdrawing two pieces of legislation due to the economic impacts from COVID-19: the plastic bag ban I had introduced and an ordinance that would have dealt with adding fire suppression sprinklers in buildings on Main Street. 

Lastly, if you hadn’t noticed already, you’ll see in tomorrow’s Capital Gazette that I’m not too happy with how the appointment of our D30A delegate replacement went down. You can read my opinion piece here

 

Next Council meeting - 4/13/20 (agenda)

Council meetings start at 7pm and are 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.

First readers (legislation being introduced)

  • O-4-20 - Plumbing Code - Capital Facilities Payment Plan - For the purpose of establishing a Capital Facilities Payment Plan; identifying eligibility requirements, setting a payment schedule, providing for interest and penalties; making stylistic changes; and generally related to said payment plan.
  • O-11-20 - City Council Meetings - Attendance - For the purpose of allowing a member of the City Council to attend a regularly scheduled Council meeting by electronic means; placing limitations on remote attendance; and generally related to attending Council meetings remotely.
  • O-12-20 - Municipal Infractions - Process - For the purpose of clarifying that municipal infraction enforcement actions are processed through the Office of Law; and making stylistic changes.
  • O-14-20 - Parking Spaces Reserved for Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicles - For the purpose of establishing reserved parking spaces for plug-in electric drive vehicles; creating certain definitions; establishing penalties; and making stylistic changes. This is legislation that I am introducing to allow the City to fine owners of non-electric vehicles that park in spots in front of electric vehicle charging stations. 
  • O-17-20 - Unsafe Structures - Placarding - For the purpose of authorizing the Fire Department to placard certain residential and nonresidential structures that have been designated as unfit for human habitation or unsafe; and making stylistic changes.
  • R-22-20 - Alcoholic Beverages - Consumption on City Property - For the purpose of establishing an annual cap on fees assessed in any one year for the consumption of alcoholic beverages on City property for certain applicants.
  • R-23-20 - Filing of FY 2021 Grant Application with the Maryland Transit Administration - For the purpose of authorizing the filing of an application with the Maryland Transit Administration of the Maryland Department of Transportation for Section 5303, 5304, 5307, 5309, 5310, 5311, 5316 and 5317 grants under the Federal Transit Act for a total amount of $2,778,950 consisting of $1,306,291 for fixed route transit operations; $189,299 for ADA complementary paratransit services; $427,500 capital grant for transit vehicle maintenance; $699,286 capital grant for the purchase of two heavy duty replacement buses, and $156,574 capital assistance for the purchase of skylift.
  • O-13-20 - Sidewalk Signs - For the purpose of extending the sidewalk sign permit fee waiver to a date certain.

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
  • O-16-20 - Annual Budget and Appropriation and Property Tax Levy - For the purpose of adopting the City Budget, comprising the Annual Operating Budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, the Capital Budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, the Capital Improvement Program for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2022, June 30, 2023, June 30, 2024, June 30, 2025, and June 30, 2026; appropriating funds for all expenditures for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2021; levying and imposing a property tax for the use of the City of Annapolis for the taxable year beginning July 1, 2020, and ending June 30,2021; and fixing the rate of the City property tax for the taxable year. This is the main budget ordinance. This is your first opportunity to submit public comments on this year’s budget. 
  • (continued from last meeting) O-39-19 - Accessory Dwelling Units - For the purpose of allowing accessory dwelling units in all zoning districts that allow single-family detached dwellings; establishing use requirements for accessory dwelling units; adding certain definitions; making stylistic changes; and generally related to accessory dwelling units.
  • (continued from last meeting) 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.
  • (continued from last meeting) O-8-20 - Harbors and Waterfront Areas - Code Updates - For the purpose of updating certain definitions; removing obsolete language; requiring regular pump out of a vessel's holding tank; making stylistic changes; and generally related to updating Title 15.
  • (continued from last meeting) O-10-20 - Zoning Code Applications - Written Notification Requirement - For the purpose of increasing the distance for sending written notification to abutting property owners for Planned Developments, Major Subdivisions, and Major Site Design applications. This increases the notification radius requirement for larger projects from the current 200 feet to neighbors who live within 750 feet. I have signed onto this as a co-sponsor.

Legislation up for a final vote

  • O-3-20 - Downtown sprinkler legislation - If I’m not mistaken, I believe this is being withdrawn by the sponsor due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact. 
  • O-9-20 & R-12-20 - Plastic bag ban & fee - I am withdrawing this legislation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact. 
  • O-6-20 - Planned Developments - Public Housing Bulk Standards - For the purpose of allowing a height adjustment for certain eligible public housing development. This is intended to allow public housing to take advantage of the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit density/height bonus as other development projects currently do. I will likely support this, pending any comments from you. 
  • R-15-20 - City Sponsored Special Events in Fiscal Year 2021 - For the purpose of identifying City Sponsored Special Events; and waiving certain related City Fees during Fiscal Year 2021. The events included are: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Diaspora Concert and Festival, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Memorial Day Parade, Independence Day Parade, Elk’s Pre-Labor Day Parade, The Kunta Kinte Festival, The Tug of War, The Grand Illumination, The Lights Parade, The New Year’s Eve Celebration. I will likely vote in favor of this legislation, pending any comments from you. It’s fiscal impact is about $22,000 of lost revenue from the fee waivers. 
  • R-20-10 - Swimming Pool Fees - For the purpose of specifying the fees that will be charged for use of the new City of Annapolis swimming pool; and setting an effective date. This legislation will set the fees for the new pool. They will be increased from the past given the new facility, though they will be lower than competing pools. I have amendments that would increase the fees/membership for NON-residents. My thinking is that I want to make sure that actual residents don’t get crowded out by the non-residents, which I fear would be a possibility given the competitive pricing. Pending any comments from you, I’ll likely support this resolution. 

Information the Maryland Primary Election

Maryland Mail-In Elections

#DemocracyIsEssential

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the statewide Primary Election has moved to June 2nd.

Registration deadline 5/27

Ballots not yet sent to voters

Number and location of limited in-person voting centers/drop off boxes are to be announced – counties will have between 1 minimum to 4 maximum

Deadline to request a ballot is May 26th by mail/fax OR May 29th to download online

Ø  Elections will be held primarily by mail

o   Only limited in-person voting opportunities will be available to ensure safety – details and locations for in-person voting and ballot drop of boxes are provided at the bottom

Ø  All active voters will automatically receive a ballot in the mail

o   If you received a specimen ballot from the State Board of Elections you are an active voter

o   If you have recently moved or need your ballot delivered to another address, you may not automatically qualify to receive a ballot and should contact your local board of elections

o   You can request a ballot online or print and mail a request to your local board of elections:

Ø  Mark your ballot, SIGN the oath, postmark by Election Day

o   You must sign the voter oath that comes with your ballot for your vote to count

o   Postage is pre-paid on mail-in ballots

o   Vote from home. Only travel to one of the limited polling locations if absolutely necessary

o   To check the status of your ballot, whether it was received and processed, click here

Specific information for upcoming elections:

Local Board of Elections Information: https://www.elections.maryland.gov/about/county_boards.html

Voter Info Lookup System: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch

Check status of your ballot: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch

Online ballot request: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/OnlineVoterRegistration/InstructionsStep1

Print ballot request PDF: https://elections.maryland.gov/voting/documents/Special_Election_Absentee_Application.pdf

Annapolis virtual Earth Day celebration

Annapolis Celebrates a Virtual

Earth Day 50th Anniversary 

Annapolis, MD (April 17, 2020) – Throughout the month of April, the City of Annapolis has been celebrating Earth Month with daily pledges that residents can take to help improve the planet. These virtual pledges and ideas for simple, stay-at-home earth-friendly practices are things that Annapolitans can incorporate into daily life. These daily pledges include a pledge on April 22, 2020, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Residents can take the pledge HERE

COVID-19 resources & updates

Emergency food giveaway

Walk-up testing

Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities FREE Senior Feeding Program

Drive Through COVID-19 Testing

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health’s free drive-through COVID-19 testing clinics are being held Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Department of Health Annex Building in Annapolis.

All individuals require approval from the Department of Health to receive a COVID-19 test. There are a limited number of test kits, and appointments are scheduled according to kit availability. Results from the drive-through tests are available within seven days.

Individuals must be symptomatic to be eligible for the drive-through testing. Symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath may appear 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19. Symptomatic individuals can call the COVID-19 Health Line at 410-222-7256 for screening, assessment, and test scheduling. Individuals with severe difficulty breathing should immediately call their primary care provider or 9-1-1.

Annapolis Non-Emergency: 410-260-2211

Monday - Sunday 24 hours a day

COVID-19 Health Line: 410-222-7256

Monday - Thursday: 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Sat/Sun: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Information on City closures

https://www.annapolis.gov/1645/Coronavirus-Information#CityClosures

School system expands meals program; children can now get breakfast, lunch, and dinner at 52 sites

http://aacpsschools.org/pressr/?p=5666 

Ward 7 restaurants open

Based on the City’s list of restaurants that are still open, Annapolis Smokehouse and Tavern, Grumps, Caliente Grill, Sam’s on the waterfront, Jack’s Fortune, and Subway are still offering curbside pickup. Main & Market is closed. 

Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities launched online updates and virtual activities

https://www.aacounty.org/departments/aging-and-disabilities/

Library resources

The Anne Arundel County library system has a number of digital services that they have expanded during the crisis. 

Activities for Kids

Common Sense Media has compiled a list of Free Online Events and Activities for Kids at Home

Business resources

https://www.annapolis.gov/1631/COVID-19-Business-Resources

Workforce assistance

https://www.annapolis.gov/1634/COVID-19-Workforce-Assistance

Unemployment Benefits

If your employment has been impacted by COVID-19 you may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you meet the monetary criteria and the weekly eligibility criteria

  • It is strongly encouraged you utilize the NetClaims application to file your claim online
  • The Division of Unemployment Insurance’s call center is open Monday – Friday from 7:30 am to 6 pm (updated hours).  To speak to an Unemployment Specialist please call 301-723-2000.  Please note the call center is experiencing unusually long wait times.
  • If you are having difficulty accessing the website or placing a call, please email ui.inquiry@maryland.gov
  • For more information about unemployment benefits & COVID-19 please check the frequently asked questions page.

AAWDC Career Development Services

AAWDC services are still available remotely and can be accessed by emailing careercenter@aawdc.org or contacting your Career Navigation Specialist.  Services include:

  • Remote career coaching
  • Connection to benefits and support needed during this difficult time
  • Career planning & exploration
  • Job search resources and connection to businesses hiring

Annapolis COVID-19 frequently asked questions

https://www.annapolis.gov/faq.aspx?TID=48

Annapolis Maritime Museum virtual exhibits

https://amaritime.org/museum/exhibits/


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  • Rob Savidge