Next council meeting, Ward 7 community news, budget update

I hope you are having an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. Here are a few updates regarding our next Council meeting on Tuesday, my latest thoughts on the budget, and some Ward 7 community updates.

Budget comments

As I mentioned in my last email, I remain concerned with this budget. It does not set us on a sustainable fiscal path in the future. For example, it adds 15 new positions ($1.3 million increase, not counting another half million to pay for firefighters that are being weaned off their grant funding, and the un-freezing of vacant positions from last year) and it would put us in such a bind that we would not be able to incur any new bond debt for the next 5 years. What this latter point means is that we won’t be able to pay for any new Capital Projects (such as the Hillman Garage replacement) utilizing bond debt, which means we would likely have to enter into some kind of public-private partnership, which may depend on certain redevelopment downtown (such as a hotel or other money-maker). I am not comfortable with the fact that this budget would force us into a P3 without knowing if that P3 is the best way or even a feasible way forward. Furthermore, this budget goes against one of our central debt and financial administration policies, which states that we should not be paying for recurring capital projects, like road and sidewalk repair, utilizing bond debt funding.

You are able to testify on the budget at this Monday’s meeting.

Previous Council meeting

We passed O-1-19 - Fair Housing - Protected Classes - For the purpose of adding protected classes to the Annapolis Fair Housing laws and including additional unlawful housing practices; and generally relating to Fair Housing. I was a co-sponsor of this legislation.

Next Council meeting - 5/28/19 (agenda)

Public hearings

  • CA-2-19 - City Manager - Powers and Duties - For the purpose of removing the Office of Environmental Policy from the supervision of the City Manager; and placing supervision of the Human Resources Office under the City Manager. This is part of the Mayor’s/City Manager’s effort to dissolve the Office of Environmental Policy.
  • CA-3-19 - Office of Law - For the purpose of establishing an Office of Law. This seeks to correct our Charter, which doesn’t actually allow for an Office of Law, despite the fact that we currently have one…
  • CA-4-19 - Economic Development Program - For the purpose of removing administration of the economic development program from the Planning and Zoning Department.
  • CA-5-19 - The Office of Emergency Management Department - For the purpose of establishing a department known as the Office of Emergency Management.
  • CA-6-19 - Department of the Environment - For the purpose of establishing a department known as the Department of the Environment; and generally relating to the Department of the Environment. I am the primary sponsor of this Charter Amendment. It would establish a Department of the Environment. This is in response to the Mayor/City Manager’s effort to gut our environmental programs.

Legislation up for a final vote

  • O-2-19 - Freestanding Signs - For the purpose of permitting free-standing signs and business community identification signs in certain zoning districts; removing the minimum lot width requirement for freestanding signs in certain zoning districts; amending the regulations for wall-mounted signs; and matters generally relating to updating and amending the sign code. This ordinance amends Section 21.70.080 of the City Code pertaining to freestanding signs, wall-mounted signs, and business community identification signs. Additionally, this ordinance would allow a "business community identification sign" in the B2, B3, B3-CD, BCE, and I1 zoning districts, and in the B1, P, and PM zoning districts where such signs are already permitted. Pending input from you to the contrary, I plan to vote yes.
  • R-22-19 - Special Election Ward 6 -     2019 Special Election - Ward 6 - 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 Special Primary and General Elections that will take place on June 4, 2019 and July 2, 2019, respectively. While I know the need for this special election arose very quickly with little notice, I do have questions about if we can simply handle this in-house rather than paying the County upwards of $50k. At this point I am not sure how I will vote on this.
  • R-23-19 Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week - For the purpose of recognizing the third annual Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week from June 2-10, 2019; and urging Annapolis residents and guests to participate in the plethora of educational and environmental events, activities, and programs that are designed to increase awareness of the importance of the Chesapeake Bay to the State, the region, and the United States. I am a co-sponsor, so, pending input from you to the contrary, I plan to vote yes.
  • R-24-19 - Community Celebration on June 28, 2019 - For the purpose of declaring that the Community Celebration at Maryland Hall on June 28, 2019, is a City sponsored event. This is an event commemorating victims of The Capital Gazette shooting last year. While I support The Capital and mourn for the victims, at this point I’m not sure if I’ll be supporting this Resolution. When this was introduced at our last meeting I thought the Mayor was going to provide details on the event, it’s budget, etc., but I don’t see any of that information provided. If this Resolution passes this becomes a City event. Furthermore, it has been advertised as being a free event, which again makes me worried about any hidden costs to the City. If you have any thoughts on this Resolution/event, please let me know as it will help me make a decision when it comes time for a vote.
  • R-25-19 City Ownership of Bembe Beach Marina, support for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating's Adaptive Boating Center - For the purpose of supporting the City's ownership of a marina on Back Creek off Bembe Beach Road, to be purchased as a City-County-State partnership utilizing Program Open Space monies, for use by the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating's (CRAB) Adaptive Boating Center. Here are my comments from earlier in the month, updated: CRAB is a non-profit that provides water access to wounded veterans, citizens with mental and physical disabilities, the elderly, and children from at risk neighborhoods. They are in need of a new facility. The State has contributed $1 million and the County $1.5 million in Program Open Space (POS) funds to be used to purchase a marina off of Bembe beach Rd, in Ward 7, which would then be leased to CRAB. Program Open Space funds come from the State to be used to improve or acquire properties that serve a public function and preserve open space for recreation and other enjoyment. The State and County have asked the City to pitch in money as well and to partner with them on this deal. The City has over $1 million of our own POS funds. Currently, the Mayor is proposing to spend only 250k for this project. I will be asking for more, probably around 500k or 750k. Moreover, I’m in favor of the City owning this property since it is in the City and needs to be connected to our communities and parks. This project would be of enormous benefit to the residents of our Ward, which has the highest concentration of seniors than any other Ward. Plus, it would prevent this marina from being developed with housing or other office buildings. Future costs to the City would be minimal to nonexistent since, if leased to CRAB, they would be responsible for the operating costs, similar to what we do with the Annapolis Maritime Museum at Back Creek Park. Since CRAB offers its services to a select group of the public, I do not expect it to have much of a traffic impact to the Ward, especially since the former County executive’s proposal to have a full, public boat ramp has been removed from the proposal. Since the City Manager is going around politicking and stating that she doesn’t want to own a marina (as if it’s her choice), which threatens this deal, I have introduced this Resolution to simply state the Council’s will that we contribute POS  funds to purchase this property and that we own the property (not the County or State). If you have any thoughts or questions about this proposal or Resolution, please let me know, but pending any input from you to the contrary, I intend to vote in favor.

Community updates

New Crosswalk on Edgewood Rd

You may have noticed that the crosswalk on Edgewood Road between Gardens of Annapolis and the Giant shopping Center has been relocated and upgraded. I want to thank City staff for hearing the concerns of the residents and making sure this project happened.

City Opens Truxtun Pool for the Season on May 25

The City of Annapolis Recreation and Parks Department announced the outdoor Kenneth R. Dunn Municipal Pool at Truxtun Park will open weekends starting Saturday, May 25 through Sunday, June 9. After that, the pool will be open daily through Labor Day.

Daily pool rates and season pass information can be found at www.annapolis.gov/truxtunparkpool.

Swim lessons are offered to youth starting at six months of age. Lessons are provided to beginner, intermediate and advanced swimmers. For a complete list of swim lessons, dates and times, please go to pages 8 and 9 of the Summer Program Guide listed at www.annapolis.gov/programguide.

This is the final season of the pool in its current state. At the close of this season, the pool will be rebuilt in its current location.

The pool is located at 251 Pump House Road in Annapolis. For more information, please contact Jennifer Jennings at 410.263.7958 or jmjennings@annapolis.gov.

Annapolis Police Department Scholarships

The deadline for applying for 1 of 7 Scholarships from the Annapolis Police Department, has been extended to May 30.  

All high school seniors that live in the city of Annapolis, regardless of where they attend high school, are eligible. They should have a minimum GPA of 2.7.   The scholarships may be used for college or trade school tuition.

Please like and share the facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/Annapolis-Police-Scholarship-Fund-Inc-2170364993274781/

Direct link to the online application:  https://www.annapolis.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5498/APD-Scholarship-Application-PDF?fbclid=IwAR24dTRHDhcbw_wR-i2trQpNdwL8JNVtKeFBP2nfiq18LrHbHl8W2HPheaQ

If you have any questions or need more info, please let me know; I’ll have an answer for you today...443-994-2511.


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