This Monday we will be our final vote on the proposed FY24 budget, as we amended it this past Monday. I’ll provide a summary on this below. The budget includes a number of things for Ward 7, which I mentioned previously, and I managed to get a few more added for this year. There is no proposed increase to our tax rate, though you may see your taxes increase naturally if our property values go up.
Update on Budget
Update on the budget amendments I proposed (final vote on budget upcoming):
- $7,000 in one-time-use money for an Urban Tree Canopy assessment. - PASSED
- $100,000 of one-time-use money to expand a climate change/resilience/sea level rise vulnerability study to include Wards 2, 3, & 6 (7 & 8 will already be included and most of the study should be funded by the new Resilience Authority). - PASSED
- Potential adjustments of the Recreation & Parks fees, delaying the implementation of some newly proposed fees until we have time to discuss our approach with them. In particular, we are finding that some of our recreational fees for using facilities, such as the pool or athletic fees, can be rather burdensome for the non-profits and may be counterproductive in that they may drive registration fees up (an accessibility issue). - PASSED
- ~$75,000 in COVID relief money to add a legislative aide for the Council. We need help. Especially those of us with full time jobs. - FAILED
- $50,000 of one-time-use money to put together a feasibility/conceptual study regarding a hiker/biker trail between Bay Ridge Ave and Tyler Ave, to see if it’s even feasible to do such a project and to determine what the benefits/risks may be to doing such a thing. - PASSED
Stay healthy and stay safe,
Next Council meeting – 6/12/23 (agenda)
This Council meeting is starting at 7pm and will be televised on local cable, YouTube, Facebook, and the City website. You can submit public testimony at http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony. This will be an in-person meeting.
- O-14-23 - Annual Budget and Appropriation and Property Tax Levy
- CA-2-23 - Management Information Technology office name change - For the purpose of changing the name of the City of Annapolis "Management Information Technology" (MIT) office to "Office of Integrated Technology Solutions" (OITS); and generally related to the City Manager's duties.
- O-18-23 - Management Information Technology office name change - For the purpose of changing the name of the City of Annapolis "Management Information Technology" (MIT) office to "Office of Integrated Technology Solutions" (OITS); and generally related to the Management Information Technology office.
- O-21-23 - Landlord-Tenant Relations - Relocation Expenses - For the purpose of requiring a landlord to pay a tenant a relocation payment if the tenant's housing is condemned as unfit for human habitation under certain circumstances; requiring a landlord to provide a tenant with a right of first refusal to re-occupy rental housing under certain circumstances; and generally related to landlord-tenant relations.
Legislation being introduced on first reader
- R-34-23 - Payments in Lieu of Taxes Agreement with Forest Drive LIHTC, LLC - For the purpose of approving a Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement between the City of Annapolis and Forest Drive LIHTC, LLC, for the construction of affordable housing units in Annapolis, Maryland.
Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)
- R-21-23 - FY 2024 Fees Schedule - For the purpose of specifying fees that will be charged for the use of City services for Fiscal Year 2024; and providing an effective date. We have amended this legislation/fee schedule to remove the originally proposed facility fees/increases for Recreation & Parks, as we need time to work out what’s reasonable. Some of the proposed fees worked out to tens of thousands of dollars that would be charged to non-profit youth leagues, which really seems counterproductive to me. The City shouldn’t be making money off of our non-profit partners that are offering services to benefit our residents. If these proposed fees are covering actual costs we need to figure that out. But I suspect that they are not. I intend to support as amended, pending any comments from you.
- R-22-23 - FY 2024 Fines Schedule - For the purpose of specifying fines that will be charged for Fiscal Year 2024; and providing an effective date. There are very few increases, with one in particular associated with our stormwater fee, which has been planned/scheduled to pay for the restoration of our waterways. I am inclined to support as amended, pending comments from you.
- R-23-23 - FY 2024 Position Classifications and Pay Plan - For the purpose of approving the Fiscal Year 2024 annual position classifications and pay plan; and specifying an effective date. There are no changes proposed, considering that we will be conducting a full Class & Compensation study in the near future. So I am inclined to support this, pending any comments from you.
- O-14-23 - Annual Budget and Appropriation and Property Tax Levy – This is the main budget as proposed and amended for FY24. We already voted on all of the amendments this past Monday, so this is a formal vote on what we amended. I am strongly inclined to vote in favor, pending any input from you. Also as note, there is no tax rate increase, though your taxes may naturally go up if property values go up.
- O-17-23 - Administration - Requiring the City Manager to Provide Staffing Impact Statements on Pending Legislation – I’m inclined to support, pending input from you.
- O-55-22 - Sediment Control Inspections Process, Fees, and Milestone Inspections - For the purpose of adding conditions for reinspection; creating milestone inspections; adjusting buildings and construction fees to pay for inspector positions; updating the format of these sections; and generally related to grading, erosion and sediment control inspections. This is my legislation. It has been in the system for a while now, but I think we have finally worked it out. This is responding to some of the issues we had last year regarding sediment pollution leaving Parkside Preserve and other sites. It would create a new fee for certain “milestone” inspections (about 3-4 per project) that would be required before projects progress beyond a certain point. It would also allow staff to inspect receiving waters for larger projects and suggest they do so during/after 1” storm events, require plans be posted on-line in an accessible manner, require larger projects (that are active) be inspected at least once a week, requires that inspection reports include unresolved items, require that inspection reports get posted within 3 days, requires corrective actions within 36 hours, requires the Department keeps a log of complaints for projects, and requires photo documentation by inspectors. Pending any input from you, I’m strongly inclined to support.
- O-49-22 - Planning and Zoning - Parking and Loading Regulations - Parking fee-in-lieu of meeting off-street parking requirements. - For the purpose of authorizing a parking fee-in-lieu for certain businesses required to provide parking spaces; and generally relating to off-street parking requirements. This legislation would allow restaurants to pay a fee-in-lieu of providing off-street parking. This is coming back to us since it has been in committee for more than 90 days. There are a number of us who still want to work on further amendments to this so I will likely be supporting a postponement of probably 60 days or so, unless I can come up with another good amendment this weekend. The issue comes down to whether or not to allow a complete waiver on all parking in all areas of the City. It makes sense to me to allow such in areas where there is plenty of nearby parking that can be shared, if there is a nearby parking garage (i.e. downtown), or if there is a mobility hub nearby.
- R-15-23 – Fee schedule for O-55-22 – This is the sister fee legislation to O-55-22. I’m inclined to support, pending any input from you.
- R-29-23 - Recognition of City of Annapolis Public Service Employees - For the purpose of expressing the sense of the City Council that the City's public service employees should be commended for their dedication and continued service to the City of Annapolis. I am inclined to support this, pending input from you.
Community & Political updates
Prevent auto thefts & thefts from your vehicle
With these common sense habits and preventative measures, you can greatly reduce the chances your vehicle will become a target.
Lock your doors
The majority of thefts from vehicles reported in Annapolis occur to vehicles with unlocked doors. Even if you're running into the store, that's too long to leave your vehicle's contents open for the taking. Simply locking the doors will deter those who might just be looking for an easy target. REMOVE ANY SPARE VEHICLE KEYS FROM INSIDE YOUR VEHICLES.
Out of sight
Don't leave any bait out for thieves; stow your electronics and accessories well out of sight-or better yet, bring it with you. Even sunglasses and coins can attract thieves.
Park for visibility
Park in a busy, well-lit area, and avoid concealment from larger vehicles, fences, or foliage. Except for the most brazen thieves, the greater the chances are that someone might see a crime in progress, the lower the chances are that the potential thief will attempt it.
Most importantly report suspicious activity to the Annapolis Police Department immediately, CALL 410-268-4141 or 9-1-1
Are you struggling to keep up with your mortgage payments or other housing costs due to COVID-19 related financial hardships? The Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund may be able to help.