Voting guide, Ward 7 budget priorities, need commission volunteer

I have a number of important updates for you.

First of all, in regards to our Monday Council meeting, I wanted to make you aware of O-27-20, which at first seems innocuous given its title about “other excluded employees”, but if passed it will require the City to either fire (let go) or hire (as a full time and fully benefited civil servant) all contract employees (unless grant funded) after 5 years. Fully benefited civil servants cost the City more money than contract employees, and while I can understand wanting to give everyone full benefits, we are setting ourselves up for failure with this. We are currently fighting a pandemic. On top of that, we already have staff costs that are rising faster than our revenues.  If this passes, we will be placed in the difficult situation of choosing either to raise taxes or lay off employees, neither of which I’d prefer to do. Until we fix our structural imbalance and address our rising staff costs, I won’t support this. If you feel strongly about keeping our expenses down at this time (and avoiding future taxes) I encourage you to contact your friends in other Wards.

Also on the agenda for Monday is a Resolution enabling our Compensation Commission, which is set up every 4 years prior to each election. We need to select a few people for this Commission, which reviews the compensation provided to the Alderpersons and Mayor. We need volunteers! If you are interested please contact me ASAP as I’ll need to amend this legislation on Monday night to get your name on there.

This Saturday we also have our first budget retreat where we will in part be identifying budget priorities for the Ward. Here’s what I’ll be bringing up (please let me know if there are others to add):

  • Sidewalk expansion down Edgewood Rd and Bay Ridge Ave
  • Transit down Edgewood Rd
  • Resiliency (i.e. sea level rise) assessment for Ward 7 and city-wide so we know what we need to spend, what we need to plan for, and what the most vulnerable areas of the City are.
  • Bike paths connecting to Ward 7 to the other Wards

 Rob

Next Special Council meeting – 10/12/20 (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 link allowing written testimony to be submitted into the recorded minutes of the meeting. Submit written testimony: http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony.

We now are allowing audio-only testimony by the public, via Zoom, at the beginning of our second (the Special Council Meeting) meeting each month. Those who wish to testify must submit the request through www.annapolis.gov/testimony at least four hours before the start of the meeting (3pm for Council meetings). All those offering public testimony must dial in at least 15 minutes before the start of the meeting. Per code, you will have 3 minutes to provide testimony.

Public hearings

Since this is a “regular” Council meeting, there is no general public comment period and all public hearings on legislation will be reserved for the “special” Council meeting (the second of the month).  

Legislation being introduced on First Reader

  • O-42-20 - Emergency Medical Services - For the purpose of modifying the provisions of the Annapolis Emergency Medical Services program.
  • R-56-20 - Emergency Medical Services - Fees - For the purpose of clarifying certain fees charged for Emergency Medical Services.
  • R-51-20 - City Sponsored Special Events in Fiscal Year 2021 - Amended - For the purpose of adding the Juneteenth Parade and Festival to the approved FY 2021 City Sponsored Special Events; and waiving certain related City Fees.
  • R-57-20 - United States Naval Academy - For the purpose of commemorating the United States Naval Academy's 175th Anniversary of its founding.

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

  • O-34-20 - Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, Inc. Lease Agreement - For the purpose of approving the lease for certain City-owned property located at the Port Williams Marina, 7040 Bembe Beach Road, Annapolis, MD 21403, between Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, Inc. and the City of Annapolis; and matters generally relating to said lease. I am co-sponsoring this legislation. This is coming out of the Council’s approval to use a portion of our State Program Open Space funds (along with a significant portion of the County’s) to acquire this old marina. The intention was always to lease this property to Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) for use in their services that they provide to the disabled, wounded vets, elderly, and at-risk youths. The lease would require certain improvements be made to the property, including: Removal/demolition of the existing docks and commercial building 2. Installation of new floating ADA docks and fully accessible building 3. Replacement of the existing house with a new accessible pavilion for patrons. This facility is a tremendous asset to the Ward and City, and fits in perfectly in our maritime Edgewood Rd community that also has a high number of seniors. I plan on voting in favor of this legislation, pending any comments from you. 
  • O-35-20 – Critical Area Legislation. In January 2020, the City Council approved a comprehensive re-write and update of the Critical Area ordinance for the City of Annapolis. This ordinance reconciles what the City approved with what the State approved. Pending any comments from you, I plan on voting in favor of this legislation.
  • O-37-20 - Annual Performance Statements - For the purpose of clarifying the requirement for each City agency and department to file an annual performance statement. This Ordinance modifies City Code Chapter 2.60, Performance Review, by exempting boards, commissions and committees from the requirement to file an annual statement of performance standards. In addition, clarification is added that the Annual Performance Statements requirement applies to the City Departments. I am co-sponsoring this legislation with the Mayor. Pending any comments from you, I plan on supporting this legislation.
  • R-46-20 - Maritime Task Force - For the purpose of establishing a Maritime Task Force charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the waterfront maritime zoning districts in the City of Annapolis; assessing the current and projected future landscape of the Annapolis maritime industry; evaluating current programs and initiatives of private and public stakeholders; assessing public safety and uses of Annapolis waterways; and making recommendations to the City Council. I would like to support this legislation, as I do think we need to re-visit our maritime zoning to strengthen and update them, but my final support depends on how/if it is amended. To be frank, I’m tired of the political jockeying of various parties that are trying to increase the number of task force members. In addition, even some of my non-waterfront colleagues on the Council are trying to get representatives for their Wards. Both my colleagues and the other groups (mostly maritime property owners/representatives) are operating under the false assumption that they need to be on the task force to have a voice. Rather than making this a large and unweildly task force, I think it’s wiser to keep it small but simply require that the Task Force accepts public comments/testimony and that they conduct outreach to the maritime interests. As for my colleagues, they need to realize that we will all get a voice once the recommendations from this task force go to both the Planning Comission and Maritime Advisory Board before coming back to the Council. I have two amendments that would make the improvements I mentioned.
  • R-53-20 – Appeal to Board of Appeals -Fee - For the purpose of specifying the fee in the Fiscal Year 2021 Fees Schedule for filing an appeal to the Board of Appeals. Pending any comments from you, I intend to support this legislation.
  • R-54-20 - Autonomous Urbanism - For the purpose of expressing the sense of the City Council in recognizing the importance of the "Blueprint for Autonomous Urbanism" developed by the National Association of City Transportation Officials. I am a co-sponsor of this legislation. Pending any comments from you, I intend to support this legislation.
  • R-55-20 - Indigenous Peoples Day - For the purpose of recognizing the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day in the City of Annapolis. I am the primary sponsor of this legislation. My intention is that the City recognize Indigenous Peoples Day rather than Columbus Day, given the astonishing and deplorable brutality that Columbus and his men engaged in against the indigenous peoples they encountered. Pending any comments from you, I intend to support this legislation .
  • O-38-19 - For the purpose of renaming the Housing and Community Development Committee. I am inclined to support this legislation if my amendment passes. I have an amendment that would remove the Council from being on this Commission. Typically, we don’t serve on Commissions, as they are intended to be bodies of residents that provide recommendations to the Council. My amendment would still allow the Council standing housing committee to appoint three members, but I feel it’s inappropriate for the Council to serve on Commissions.
  • O-10-20 - This legislation would increase the notification distance that developers have to follow when notifying the public, from 200’ to 750’. I am a co-sponsor on this legislation. Pending any comments from you, I intend to support this legislation as it will hopefully create greater public awareness of pending development projects.
  • O-27-20 - 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. Pending any comments from you, I intend to vote against this legislation. Here’s why: half of the legislation makes sense and is easily agreed to, which are the adjustments to the State pension language that is required by the State. The other half, which should not have been grouped in with this legislation, would require the City to either fire or fully hire (i.e. convert to a fully benefitted civil servant) contract employees after a period of 5 years, unless they are grant funded. This is incredibly fiscally irresponsible in my view, given that we are currently in a pandemic and don’t know what our economy will look like, and that for the past few budgets our staff costs have been growing faster than our revenue. We are on an unsustainable path with that structural imbalance, and this legislation would make that even worse. If we can manage to correct this structural imbalance, that would be the time to discuss something like this. As I said, I’ll be voting against this, pending any comments from you.
  • R-52-20 – Council Compensation Commission - For the purpose of establishing a Council Compensation Commission to review the compensation and allowances of the City Manager, Mayor, and Aldermen/Alderwomen during the next succeeding terms of office; setting a due date; and generally relating to said compensation and allowances. I will be supporting this piece of legislation; however, we need some volunteers to serve on this commission. If you are interested in serving, please let me know.
  • O-21-20 & O-22-20 - These two ordinances deal with conveying City property, currently two grassed areas behind two buildings on Cathedral Street, so that the owners can install 4 parking lots behind their building. The City would lose two parking places in our Larkin Lot, but the owners would pay for those spots on an annual basis. My original concern with this was that we were giving up green space to be converted to impervious paved surfaces, which would not be good for our water quality. The owner of one of the lots (the other is still being negotiated with) agreed to install stormwater management and vegetation as a part of this conveyance to make up for the proposed impervious surfaces (and he will look at pervious pavement). With this change I am inclined to support the legislation, pending any comments from you. Given that we are still negotiating with the other property owner and it still has to come back to the Environmental Matters Committee, this legislation will likely be postponed.
  • R-17-20 - Annual Statement of Performance Standards - For the purpose of approving the annual performance statements filed by City agencies and departments. Given that staff is still working on updating the performance standards, this will also be postponed.

Updates

Capital election coverage survey

Dear Reader,

We want to make sure our coverage in The Capital serves your needs, especially leading up to this historic November election.

Please fill out this form and let us know what process questions you have, and which issues are guiding your vote.

This is not a poll -- just a tool to help us guide our reporting over the next few months. We won’t print your name without contacting you first.

Please feel free to share this with any Anne Arundel or Annapolis residents!

Thanks,

Olivia Sanchez

Staff writer, The Capital

osanchez@capgaznews.com

443-255-6564

Brooks DuBose

Staff writer, The Capital

bdubose@capgaznews.com

443-310-6703

Brewer Hill Cemetery Cleanup – Oct 10

Brewer Hill Cemetery Cleanup on Oct 10, from 9-4 pm. The cleanup is organized by the Brewer Hill Cemetery Association, the offices of Senator Sarah Elfreth, Delegate Shaneka Henson, Delegate Dana Jones, and the City of Annapolis.

Please share this call for volunteers with your friends and networks, via email, facebook and social media, etc. Also, please ask everyone to sign up here to help the organizers manage volunteers. There are two time slots- 9-12 and 1-4 pm. Rain Date is Oct.17th. 

Public comment open on County General Development Plan

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman released the draft of Plan2040, the county’s General Development Plan (GDP), for public comment and review. Plan2040 is a comprehensive plan that covers a broad range of topics including the environment, land use, housing, transportation, schools, recreation and parks, public safety, and economic development. Plan2040 incorporates and aligns goals and priorities from many recent County functional plans including the Move Anne Arundel Transportation Plan and the Land Preservation Parks and Recreation Plan.

Public comment will be open for 45 days, through November 15, 2020. The document can be downloaded at www.aacounty.org/Plan2040. Plan2040 is the Countywide plan to guide future land use decisions, and lays out an ambitious vision for a greener, more inclusive Anne Arundel County over a 20-year timeframe. All master plans and development regulations adopted subsequently by the County must be consistent with the goals, policies and recommendations of the GDP.

Everything to Know about November's Election

(thank you Senator Elfreth for this information)

The most important thing, next to actually casting your ballot, is that you MAKE A PLAN TO VOTE. Your vote matters - so please make your plan to vote now. 

Register to vote or check your registration!

      ✔️ If you need to register to vote or change your voter information, you can do so here. Remember to register by Tuesday, October 13th!

      ✔️ Want to double check that your voting information is accurate? You can check by going here.


Vote by Mail

You must proactively REQUEST your mail-in ballot and can RETURN your mail-in ballot in a number of ways:

      ✔️ Online: You can request a mail-in ballot NOW by going here.

      ✔️ Mail: OR return your mail-in ballot request form that will be sent to all registered voters the last week of August. You can fill out the request and send it back before October 20th (the sooner the better).

      ✔️ Receive your ballot: The Board of Elections will mail requested ballots out 30-45 days before Election Day.

      ✔️ Return your ballot: Once you fill out your mail-in ballot you can send it back via the mail OR drop it off at one of the Drop Boxes in the County that will be co-located with Voting Centers. Ballots must be postmarked by November 3rd or dropped in a Drop Box by 8:00pm on November 3rd. Anne Arundel County will host 32 Drop Boxes around the County, you can see the full list and map here. Drop Box sites and dates available in District 30:
      Pip Moyer Recreation Center (Oct. 1 - Nov. 3)
      Annapolis High School (Oct. 1 - Nov. 3)
      Bates Middle School (Oct. 17 - Nov 3)
      Rolling Knolls Elementary School (Oct. 17 - Nov 3)
      South River High School (Oct. 1 - Nov. 3)
      Southern High School (Oct. 1 - Nov. 3)
      Southern Middle School (Oct. 17 - Nov 3)

      ✔️ Track your ballot: You can track your ballot, from the Board of Elections to your home and back again, by going here and scrolling down to "Status of My Mailed-in or Provisional Ballots."


Vote in Person 

       ✔️ Vote Early: Anne Arundel County will host 7 Early Voting Centers, all of which will be open for Early Voting from MONDAY OCTOBER 26th through MONDAY NOVEMBER 2nd, from 7:00am to 8:00pm. You can see the full list and map here.

       ✔️ Vote on November 3rd: Anne Arundel County will have 31 Voting Centers where any County voter can cast a ballot on Election Day, November 3, 2020, from 7:00am until 8:00pm. You can see the full list and map here.

 

Frequently asked Questions

·         What if I request a mail-in ballot then decide I would rather vote in person? Your in-person vote would be marked as "provisional" on Election Day and not counted until the Board of Elections is certain you did not also return your mail-in ballot.

·         Are we certain that people won't be able to vote twice? Yes, see above. What is more, the Board of Elections found no evidence of voter fraud in the June Primary.

·         How secure is the Drop Box? The Board of Elections ensures that all drop boxes are monitored via video camera and BOE staff check them twice a day in person.

·         Will election results be delayed due to so many people voting by mail? While it will take longer to count the ballots, Board of Elections staff will begin "canvassing" ballots that have returned in mid-October and sequester the results until after the Election. The Board of Elections is anticipating an increase in voter participation - likely 85% - and it is critical that they have the ability to ensure an accurate count. This is just a greater reason to return your mail-in ballot as soon as you receive it!

·         The form to apply for a mail-in ballot is confusing and convoluted. If you are having trouble requesting your mail-in ballot online, please call the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections and they will help you troubleshoot: (410) 222-6600

 


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  • Rob Savidge