June 10, 2017
The City Council will meet for an open session on Monday, June 12, at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers.
of the agenda is
The focus of Monday's meeting will be the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1.
For the reasons outlined below, these budgets are
as currently presented and are intended to be easy and painless. By borrowing increasing amounts of money year after year, the administration is prolonging measures taken during the recession years when property values and tax revenues plummeted. At the same time, the mayor's budgets, over the course of 4 years, have failed to grow the savings accounts and instead used savings built up over those same years. My amendments seek to reduce borrowing and to squeeze the operating expenses to pay for annual expenses with today's money.
The Paris Climate Agreement
Many mayors and cities from around the Country have responded to President Trump's withdrawal from the international accord by committing their cities to the principles of the agreement. Critics have chastised those commitments as hollow or meaningless. I disagree with those conclusions.
Collectively, the cities are incredibly powerful to reduce our fossil fuel emissions and to develop and promote healthier options. We can invest in and promote renewable energy programs, develop policies to reduce consumption of fossil fuels such as increased mass transit and bike lanes, and educate our citizenry on how each of us can help.
The Mayor has chosen not to act unilaterally to join other cities in supporting this accord, but to follow and support a Council-led action. However, the City has taken steps to reflect a commitment to the accord's principles.
Accordingly, I'm joined by fellow members of the Environmental Matters Committee, Aldermen Ian Pfeiffer and Ross Arnett, in announcing: (1) that
our committee will host a discussion on this topic at its next meeting on Thursday, June 15, at 1:30 in Council chambers,
and (2) the introduction of
a resolution of the City Council supporting the principles of the Paris Climate Agreement
It is our goal to state what the City has done to further those goals and how it can further improve in concrete, cost-effective, local methods.
We look forward to and appreciate your input.
I welcome Annapolis City residents, particularly those from Ward 5, and other concerned individuals to offer me their views on issues or to discuss other concerns in person. Please contact me via
with your views or to set up a time to chat in my office at K&B True Value (
912 Forest Drive
I welcome your feedback and questions, and appreciate your help in reaching other Annapolis residents by
to them. Thank you!
Alderman, Ward 5, Annapolis
Regular Meeting of the City Council
The Annapolis City Council will meet on Monday, June 12, at 7 p.m., in the Council Chambers. All Council meetings are available online
through live streaming
and broadcast on Comcast channels 99 or 100 and on Verizon channel 34. Below is a synopsis of the agenda. You can access the unabridged version here.
The meeting can also be viewed on computer and mobile devices by going to
during the meetings.
ID-228-17 Martha Wood Leadership Award June 2017 - Tamela Spencer
Valedictorian - Annapolis High School
Salutatorian - Annapolis High School
Valedictorian - St. Mary's High School
Annabelle Diana Hutchinson
Salutatorian - St. Mary's High School
Michael Patrick Ruland Jr.
PETITIONS, REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Reports by Committee
- Comments by the General Public
- Update from the Mayor
Early in each Council Meeting there is an opportunity for comments by the General Public. The public may comment on any subject that is not on the agenda for a Public Hearing. Comments during this time are limited to five minutes per person.
Comment: All items on the consent calendar are presumed to have the unanimous support of the Council.
Regular Meeting Minutes
Special Meeting Minutes
BUSINESS AND MISCELLANEOUS
Towing License Renewal - For Spa, Inc. t/a Masons Auto Repair
ID-222-17 Towing License Renewal - JP Towing Service, LLC t/a JP Towing & Recovery
O-30-17 Audit Committee - For the purpose of establishing an Audit Committee; authorizing the powers and duties of the Audit Committee; and matters generally relating to said Audit Committee.
I am seeking to establish a standing
for the Annapolis City Council.
During my experience serving on an audit committee for a corporate board, I have witnessed how effective and compatible such a committee can be with management to improve the service provided. Audit services provide assurance to taxpayers and elected officials that scarce tax dollars are protected by strong management controls and practices. In the budget, I am seeking $80,000 to fund these services. By identifying practices that can be improved and working to eliminate costly mistakes and waste, these audit services are likely to more than pay for themselves.
O-31-17 Moratorium on Planned Developments - For the purpose of placing a moratorium on Planned Developments until September 1, 2018.
Sponsors: Arnett and Budge
O-32-17 Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit Amendments - For the purpose ofensuring that the construction of Moderately Priced Dwelling Units is consistent with their community, limiting fees in lieu of constructing Moderately Priced Dwelling Units, and improving sales of Moderately Priced Dwelling Units.
O-33-17 Stormwater Utility Fund - For the purpose of renaming the Stormwater Utility Fund, which shall be known henceforth as the Watershed Restoration Fund, to more accurately reflect the functionality of the Fund.
Sponsors: Littmann, Pfeiffer, Finlayson and Pindell Charles
The existing fund, following code requirements, has been and continues to be used to support projects to restore and protect the watershed of the City of Annapolis. Such projects restore or enhance habitats or structures to naturally filter water before it enters larger creeks and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. The name change is intended to better reflect the purposes and use of those funds to help ratepayers understand what the funds are used for.
O-25-17 Issuance of General Obligation Bonds and Bond Anticipation Notes - For the purpose of authorizing and empowering the City of Annapolis (the "City") to issue and sell, upon its full faith and credit, (i) one or more series of its general obligation bonds in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed $7,300,000, pursuant to Sections 19-301 through 19-309, inclusive, of the Local Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended, and Article VII, Section 11 of the Charter of the City of Annapolis, as amended (the "Bonds") and (ii) one or more series of its general obligation bond anticipation notes in anticipation of the issuance of the Bonds in the maximum aggregate principal amount equal to the maximum aggregate principal amount of the Bonds, pursuant to Sections 19-211 through 19-222, inclusive, of the Local Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended (the "Notes"); providing that the Bonds and Notes shall be issued and sold for the public purpose of financing and refinancing certain capital projects of the City as provided in this Ordinance; prescribing the form and tenor of the Bonds and the Notes; providing for the method of sale of the Bonds and Notes and other matters relating to the issuance and sale thereof; providing for the disbursement of the proceeds of the Bonds and Notes covenanting to levy and collect all taxes necessary to provide for the payment of the principal of and interest on the Bonds and Notes; and generally providing for and determining various matters relating to theissuance, sale and delivery of the Bonds and the Notes.
Although currently on the Consent Calendar, I intend to vote against this measure. The City's reliance on bonds to fund projects is out of control. (Note: if the concept of bonds is confusing, just substitute "credit cards" for bonds; the concept of borrowing is the same. In both instances, you are borrowing money to increase your ability to buy today at the cost of paying back the principle and interest tomorrow and in years to come). In the 11 years from FY 2007 to FY 2018 (as estimated in the current budget),
bond debt has exploded from $44 million to $180 million, an increase of over 300%, while the total budget has increased by "only" 48%
. In this administration alone, including this year's planned borrowing, this administration will have borrowed $57 million in new debt while revenue has increased "just" $8.5 million. Further, as compared to the prior administration's borrowing, the City is not in a recession.
As a result, the annual amount that the City uses to pay debt service has grown significantly. Prior to this administration, the target debt service amount was 8% of total revenues and its ceiling was 10%. In other words, the City's policy was to keep the portion of its budget used for paying debt to 8% of its income if possible, and definitely no greater than 10%. In 2015, this administration requested, and the Council approved (without my support) changing the target to 10% and the ceiling to 12%. However, even that ceiling won't be enough as the City is projected to exceed that limit in just two years, in FY 2020. As this percentage climbs, less and less money is available to pay for current year operating expenses.
To express these changes with dollars, consider that in FY 2014, the last year of Mayor Cohen's term, the City used $5.9 million or 5.95% of its annual budget to pay down principal and interest, but in FY 2018, the final year of the current term, the City will need $10.8 million or 10.26% of its annual budget for the same purpose. That is about $5 million more to pay down existing debt every year.
In response, rather than showing restraint or vision in addressing this issue, this administration continues to borrow more and more money.
Until the City adopts a sustainable policy for reducing its debt burden, I will not support more borrowing.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (Continued)
O-18-17 Personal Care Establishments in the PM District - For the purpose ofremoving restrictions on the operation of a personal care establishment in the PM, Professional Mixed Office zoning district.
Sponsors: Paone and Pindell Charles
ID-231-17 City of Annapolis Notice of Proposed Real Property Tax Increase
Parking Enforcement and Rulemaking Responsibilities - For the purpose of
updating parking enforcement and rulemaking responsibilities in Chapters 2.36, 12.08 and 12.32 in the Code of the City of Annapolis; and matters
generally relating to updating parking enforcement and rulemaking
Special Parking Permits for Transport and Contractors - For the purpose of
establishing parking shuttle eligibility for special parking permits; limiting special parking permits within the Historic District; and clarifying conditions for issuing special parking permits.
Removing City Employee Parking from Hillman Garage - For the purpose
of improving parking availability in the downtown commercial area by relocating most City employee parking from Hillman Garage to satellite parking facilities; and providing transportation to and from said satellite parking facilities.
Sponsors: Budge and Pantelides
Double Parking - For the purpose of authorizing double parking for the expeditious loading and unloading of commercial vehicles.
BUSINESS AND MISCELLANEOUS
ID-229-17 Ratification of Union Contracts: AFSCME Local 3162; AFSCME Local 3406; AFL-CIO Local 1926; and UFCW Local 400
The City's unions and management agreed to a one-year extension to the existing agreements with a number of minor changes plus a 1% COLA effective January 1, 2018, which is only half of the upcoming fiscal year, but establishes higher wages for subsequent years. So far, no fiscal statement has been provided to illustrate the total financial impact of these agreements. Without that information, it is premature to vote on these agreements.
ID-216-17 FY 2018 Community Development Block Grant funding for Capital and Public Service Projects
GT-10-17 Transfer from 2011 and 2012 Bond Proceeds, Transfer to General Roadways
Position Classifications and Pay Plan - For the purpose of approving the
FY 2018 position classification and pay plan effective July 1, 2017.
Capital Improvement Program Fiscal Years 2018 - 2023 - For the
purpose of adopting a capital improvement program for Fiscal Years 2018-2023 (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2023).
The Mayor's CIP calls for $18 million of spending in FY 2018, including $13 million in new bond debt. The $13 million in new debt includes $2 million for general roadways (subsequently reduced to $1 million for FY18 only), $350,000 in general City Facility Improvements, and $600,000 in sidewalk repairs. This debt of $3 million is particularly concerning because it represents regular, predictable, and on-going expenses. Accordingly, I propose multiple amendments to move this spending from borrowed money to operating funds.
FY 2018 Fees Schedule Effective July 1, 2017 - For the purpose of
specifying fees that will be charged for the use of City services for FY2018.
Each of the City's utilities are operated with their own budgets and accounts called Enterprise Funds. The fees supporting these funds must be used solely for their own expenses. If a surplus is generated, then the City can lower the fees. As in recent years, the trash collection fee can be reduced by about $55 annually. If you recall, the prior administration privatized trash collection and anticipated these reductions. Those promises have materialized to your benefit. In comparison, the water fund has stayed constant reflecting the projected expenses of the long delayed, but coming soon, water treatment plant. Lastly, the proposed decrease in the trash collection fees would more than offset, for residential properties, the proposed increase in watershed restoration fees.
Separately, the Finance Committee proposes eliminating the $1.00 fee for use of the Circulator.
FY 2018 Fines Schedule Effective July 1, 2017 - For the purpose of
specifying fines that will be charged for FY 2018.
Annual Operating Budget: Fiscal Year 2018 - For the purposes of
adopting an operating budget for the City of Annapolis for Fiscal Year 2018; appropriating funds for expenditures for Fiscal Year 2018; defraying all expenses and liabilities of the City of Annapolis and levying same for the purposes specified; specifying certain duties of the Director of Finance; and specifying a rate of interest to be charged upon overdue property taxes.
Capital Budget Fiscal Year 2018 - For the purpose of adopting a capital
budget for Fiscal Year 2018; and appropriating funds for expenditures for the Fiscal Year 2018 capital budget.
Comments to O-21-17 and O-22-17: For the reasons outlined above, these budgets are
as currently presented and are intended to do what is easy and painless. By borrowing increasing amounts of money year after year, the administration is prolonging measures taken during the recession years when property values and tax revenues plummeted. At the same time, the mayor's budgets have failed to grow the savings accounts and instead used savings built up over those same years. My amendments seek to reduce borrowing and to squeeze the operating expenses to pay for annual expenses with today's money.
The GreenGive is a 24-hour fundraising and awareness raising event to benefit 11 small, local environmental non-profits. These organizations are collaborating in this fundraising campaign and all year round to benefit the environment and to make our community a great place to live in.
Annapolis Green Back Creek Conservancy
Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails Our Creeks and Conservancy
St. Luke's Restoration of Nature Spa Creek Conservancy
Scenic Rivers Land Trust Severn River Association
South River Federation Watershed Stewards Academy
West & Rhode Riverkeeper
I support the work of several of these organizations, particularly
and hope you will too. Annapolis Green works very hard to connect, inform, and inspire Annapolis residents, organizations, and businesses to care for the environment, live more responsibly and create a more beautiful and thriving community.
With the GreenGive your donation of $100 or more will double, thanks to a dollar-for-dollar match.
Join me and make a donation. For information and to make a donation, click here.
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