September is proving to be quite a busy month as the Council gets back into the swing of things after our August break. I’ll provide a few legislative updates below. I also wanted to take a moment and let you know that I’m going to try to get a fall town hall event scheduled for either October or November, depending on the availability of the library. I’ll also probably setup at least three meetings next year, including another picnic in the summer.
Updates from the previous Council meeting
- Dock fee waiver issues - We ended up withdrawing resolution R-40-19, “ Classic Wooden Boat Rendezvous & Race - Docking Fee Waive”, because concerns were raised from DNR that waiving or reducing fees for one user of our City Dock may violate the terms of some federal grants we received to renovate the bulkhead. What I find concerning about all of this is that our acceptance of the grant money seems to have removed some local autonomy over OUR City Dock. This is a developing issue and I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.
- The Capital editorial on public comments - You may have noticed that last week The Capital wrote an editorial blasting the Council for “curbing public comments.” They wrote this without even mentioning what we proposed to do, and completely mischaracterized our intentions. They were referring to O-31-19. This legislation seeks to reduce the public speaking limit from a current 5 minutes per person to 3 minutes (County is 2 minutes). The intention was to make for more efficient meetings where we hear from more voices from the public. I see it happen every meeting where some members of the public leave because it gets too late into the evening. That’s happened to me personally before I was even elected on the Council. All that said, we’ve received some push back from the public who want to keep it at 5 minutes, and who would like us to look at other structural changes to our meetings before we change the speaking limits (such as limiting the ceremonial items at the beginning). Those are valid concerns so we will explore alternatives. I have not heard from too many Ward 7 residents, so if you have any preference one way or another, please let me know.
Next Council meeting - 9/23/19 (agenda)
Council meetings are held at 160 Duke of Gloucester St (2nd floor) at 7pm and are televised on local cable, Facebook, and the City website (www.annapolis.gov)
Closed Session from 6-7pm
We have a closed session before our regular Council meeting to discuss the lawsuit against the Housing Authority and City alleging racial discrimination because both entities have allowed some residents to live in sub-standard conditions. This situation is unacceptable to me and I think the City does indeed need to be doing licensing and inspections on these properties and bring them up to code, just like they do with everyone else in the City.
No legislation is up for a public hearing.
Legislation up for a final vote
- O-29-19 - Purchasing and Procurement - For the purpose of establishing and enacting purchasing and procurement laws for the City of Annapolis. We apparently don’t have any procurement processes outlined in our Code, so this would remedy that. I intend to support, pending any comments from you.
- O-25-19 - Watershed Restoration Fund language adjustment - This adjusts the language of our Watershed Restoration Fund so it is more in line with the actual intention of the Fund; to restore our waterways. This will help with securing funding for such projects. I have also introduced an amendment that will require an annual report/summary of how the money is spent as I’ve received a number of questions over the years to this end. I intend to support this, pending any comments from you.
- O-32-19 - This simply authorizes the bonds that were called for in the FY20 budget.
- O-33-19 - This is another ordinance dealing with bonds. It reallocates unused bonds to other projects utilizing bond funds as passed in the FY20 budget.
New Community updates
No new announcements for this week.
Continuing community announcements
County Forest Conservation bill
County Executive Steuart Pittman has introduced a bill (68-19) that would improve the County’s Forest Conservation laws. Anne Arundel County has the highest rate of forest loss in the State, clearly indicating that change is needed to protect our water and air quality, and that balance must be brought back into the system where developers have dominated. This bill would certainly start to correct this situation, and in my opinion deserves support. Here is the County Executive’s column on this Bill. However, it does NOT go far enough (as Gerald Winegrad stated in his column). The Bill as introduced is not a “no net loss” Bill, which means it won’t stop the forest loss. If you are happy with what we have done in Annapolis with our “no net loss” of forests ordinance, then I’d urge you to contact our County Councilwoman for District 6, Lisa Rodvien, at email@example.com, and ask her to support this Bill and to support/introduce amendments that would make this bill a true “no net loss” bill for the County, and to make a few other strengthening tweaks to the Bill.
September Sunset Concert Series
Thursdays 6-8pm | September 5-26
Ellen O. Moyer Nature Park | 7300 Edgewood Road
Music by the Bay! Beer and wine will be for sale, with proceeds benefiting our education programs. Food trucks will be on site. Admission is FREE; donations appreciated. Bring a chair or blanket for seating.
9/26 Dublin 5 | High Energy Irish Rock
“Mercado Hilltop” Farmer’s Market in Annapolis to Open Eight Saturdays in August and September
Fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, food, handcrafts, piñatas, art and more will be available starting August 10 at “Mercado Hilltop,” an open-air market in the parking lot of the Salvation Army on Hilltop Lane in Annapolis. The market will be open, weather permitting, every Saturday until September 28.
The market is in partnership with Center of Help, the Annapolis Art in Public Places Commission, the Salvation Army and the City of Annapolis.
The market is organized by the Mayor’s Community Engagement Hispanic Liaison Adriana Lee. The cost to participate in the market is $30 for one Saturday; $100 for four Saturdays; or all eight Saturdays for $180. If you would like to sell at the Mercado Hilltop, call for information or to register: 410-570-9052.
Market dates: August 10, 17, 24 and 31; September 7, 14, 21 and 28. Market hours: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Annapolis 2020 Comprehensive Plan survey
Take a few minutes of your time to complete this survey for the 2020 Annapolis Comprehensive Plan update and share where your priorities lie for the next 20 years in the City. The questions regarding planning priorities are informed by meetings with stakeholders over the last two months and the first public meeting that was held on May 7th.
Take the survey here: https://forms.gle/uYdq7sCX2ihF96dq8