First of all, I’d like to invite you to our Tuesday Ward 7 Town Hall meeting. This will be held at 7pm at the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Library. The first half of the meeting be a discussion with our Annapolis Police Chief, Edward Jackson, who will be joined by the City Council’s Chair of our Public Safety Committee, Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell-Charles. During the latter half of the meeting, I will give an update on Ward 7 issues, including details on our proposed budget, before being joined by our County Councilwoman Lisa Rodvien. We will then both take questions in an open forum. I hope to see you then! And a big thank you to everyone who has helped with distributing flyers in your neighborhood!
As for our Monday Council meeting, this will be your first opportunity to provide public comments on the budget. I’ve provided details and links below. Other than that, we don’t have much going on at this particular meeting.
Stay healthy and stay safe,
Next In-person Council meeting – 5/9/22 (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.
Business & Miscellaneous
- We are officially accepting, but not yet approving/disapproving the Annapolis Ward Boundary and Redistricting Task Force findings and recommendations. I have not taken a look at this yet but if you have any comments feel free to send them to me. I believe the task force will be presenting this report to us in September
- O-15-22 - This ordinance adopts the Fiscal Year 2023 operating and capital budgets and the FY2024-2028 Capital Improvement Program. The budget as proposed by the Mayor does not include any kind of tax increase, but we don’t know yet what amendments we will be introducing. We have only just concluded hearing presentations from the Departments as far as what their requests/needs are.
This is a very responsible budget. We are utilizing some of our leftover COVID relief money that we saved from last year, and I believe we have still more we are saving for next fiscal year, in case we need it. Most of the relief money is being used to prop up our public transit system, which has historically operated at a loss, which was only compounded during the pandemic. As a side note, we need to figure out a new transit system that serves our entire population, including our tourists, and that is smaller, more efficient, and electric/sustainable. We also need to speak to the County and the regional mass-employers (such as the Mall) to contribute to our system.
This budget does have a minor structural deficit, which we hope to overcome entirely in the future. This deficit is being driven by rising staff costs, primarily pension increases. These increases were due to the previous administration not fully funding them, so we have been playing catch-up, and we hope this levels out over the next few years.
I’m still working on my final list of requested amendments, but they will include the addition of a crosswalk on Edgewood Rd near Tallwood Rd (between Mariner’s Point and Mariner’s Landing), improving the sidewalk next to Ellen Moyer Back Creek Park (Maritime Museum campus), as well as installing a new sidewalk on Bay Ridge Ave adjacent to the Shell gas station and the Mt Moriah AME Church. I’m contemplating a number of other ideas that I will brief you on once finalized.
As far as Capital Improvement Plan highlights, this includes the replacement of the Hillman Parking Garage, bike trail/infrastructure improvements, traffic and roadway enhancements, street end park and waterway improvements, and of course our Program Open Space contribution to the purchase of Carrs Beach Park.
- R-23-22 - Fiscal Year 2023 Fees Schedule - For the purpose of specifying fees that will be charged for the use of City services for Fiscal Year 2023; and providing an effective date. This includes increases to various fees for Recreation and Park, APD video, refuse/trash (this is part of an annual increase/decrease based on expenses, as outlined by a third party analysis), watershed fund (also increased/decreased by 3rdparty analysis), as well as the water utility (also increased/decreased by 3rd party analysis).
I am looking at possibly increasing a few fees associated with development. There is a proposal by the Mayor/DPW to add an additional environmental compliance/stormwater inspector to ensure that developers are not polluting our waterways during/after construction. Think back to the pollution we had enter Quiet Waters Park. While I think this position is needed, I do not think that taxpayers should be paying for this. If this position is there to police the developers, the polluters, than the polluters/developers should be the ones to pay for it. So I’ll likely increase the environmental inspection fees and grading permit fees, and maybe create some new ones.
- R-24-22 - Fiscal Year 2023 Fines Schedule - For the purpose of specifying fines that will be charged for Fiscal Year 2023; and providing an effective date. There aren’t too many changes being proposed for the fines. A few of the maritime/Harbormaster fines are increasing and we are creating new fines for illicit discharges (an MDE requirement). I may raise/tweak some of the language for fines to allow for higher fines against polluters.
Legislation being introduced on first reader
- R-31-22 - Position Classifications and Pay Plan - For the purpose of approving the Fiscal Year 2023 position classifications and pay plan; and specifying an effective date.
Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)
- O-37-21 - Exempt Service - Position Classification Update - For the purpose of removing the Development/Events Specialist position from the Exempt Service position classifications. I am inclined to support this legislation, pending any input from you.
- R-17-22 - The Annapolis Waterfront & Sailing Center - For the purpose of recognizing the vital resources provided by the Annapolis Waterfront & Sailing Center; and designating the Annapolis Waterfront & Sailing Center as the Annapolis City Ambassador to the Tall Sailing Ships and historic boats community in furtherance of the maritime heritage of Annapolis. I’m inclined to support this legislation, pending any input from you.
Police Accountability Board positions open
The City of Annapolis is seeking applications to fill one seat on the Anne Arundel County Police Accountability Board (PAB). The PAB was created in compliance with the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021, a series of laws enacted by the Maryland General Assembly to ensure oversight, accountability, and transparency in policing after input from affected communities. In Maryland, each county is required to seat their PAB by July 1, 2022.
The Anne Arundel County Council passed the legislation to establish Anne Arundel County’s PAB at their April 18 meeting. The legislation sets the PAB seats at nine voting members, all of whom must be civilians. Annapolis is able to appoint one of these nine voting members.
The selection process to fill the Annapolis seat will take place simultaneously with the county selecting the other eight members. All nine members of the new PAB will be sworn in by the state deadline of July 1, 2022.
For more on the requirements and duties and to complete the online application, please visit https://www.annapolis.gov/1905/Police-Accountability-Board.
Anyone interested in the appointment should submit an application as soon as possible. Applicants under consideration will be contacted to schedule a virtual interview. Please email [email protected] for additional information.
Water Access Ambassadors & the Public Water Access Plan
The Annapolis Department of Planning and Zoning, working with financial assistance from the National Park Service (NPS) Chesapeake Office and technical support from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Volpe Center, is seeking public input about how to best expand equitable public water access in Annapolis. Community participation will be an integral component of the planning process, beginning with an online opinion survey launched this week. Over the course of next year, additional public engagement opportunities will include focus groups, community workshops, and stakeholder meetings.
The community survey can be accessed directly at https://arcg.is/0DWS8r with a Spanish translation available at https://arcg.is/0z004O. A dedicated website for the planning effort has been established on the City’s website at https://www.annapolis.gov/1904/Public-Water-Access-Plan where residents and other stakeholders can participate in a community opinion survey and stay informed as the planning process moves forward.
An important outcome of the Public Water Access Plan is to prioritize the concrete steps the City and its partners can take now and into the future to improve, enhance, and expand water access within and adjacent to the City limits.
The planning team is also looking for “Water Access Ambassadors” to assist the planning process with neighborhood insight, public outreach, and focus group participation. If residents or stakeholders in the business, environmental or educational community would like to get involved, email: [email protected].