Ward 5 includes the following communities: Hunt Meadow, The Landings, Annapolis Overlook, Saltaire, and North Green of Annapolis.

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I believe in having a transparent government so that City residents, particularly those in Ward 5, are aware of the issues with which City leaders are grappling and have a chance to present their concerns or ask their questions. This website will be a source of information for Ward 5 residents. For additional info and to leave your comments, see my Facebook page.

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My Thoughts on the Issues

The Budget

The City Council is deliberating the mayor’s proposed budget and specifically amendments offered by Council members and committees. I have a number of recommendations with regard to the budget. I ask you to consider my amendments, and those of my colleagues, and let us know what you support. The next City Council meeting is on June 13. You can speak publicly during the public hearing to share your thoughts, or do so in advance by email, phone, or in person. The Council will likely begin deliberations on the operating and capital budgets that night.

I invite you to review my proposed amendments to the FY2017 Operating Budget, which you can find here. You'll note that I recommend two enhancements (additions), totaling $210,000:

  1. Two additional foot patrol police officers. There have been 99 violent crimes in 2016 so far, which is a 60% increase from last year, and the highest total since 2008 (year to date). Having additional police officers to deploy in high-crime areas will provide real and perceived benefits to City residents.
     
  2. One Spanish Services Coordinator. Currently, despite a federal and state requirement to ensure that government services are available to large groups of non-English speaking residents, the City does not do a very good job of meeting this need. This Coordinator would work with all City departments to ensure that services are available to Spanish speakers.
You'll also note that I recommend cuts totaling $873,700, primarily by reducing head count by seven (including two vacancies) and the employee privilege of take-home vehicles.

Those recommendations are not easy to make; those jobs are important to the individuals in those positions and their staff, and each individual is a good person that does his or her best on behalf of the City. In addition, the take-home vehicles are a benefit that are highly valued by the employees who have them, so taking them away may make their jobs less attractive and risk employee flight. However, and this is the key issue, in an era when most residents are not willing to pay more taxes and they want essential city services improved, I believe these costs are responsible and prudent and can be made without sacrificing the provision of core City services.

Combining the enhancements and savings, these amendments would provide a net savings of $663,700, of which I propose a reduction in your real property taxes totaling $400,000 and the remainder should be saved. In summary, I am proposing amendments to the operating budget that would:
  • Improve core services,
  • Reduce real property taxes, and
  • Add more money to savings
  • At the expense of cutting overhead costs.

In addition, you'll see a list of initiatives that would be prudent to consider before the next budget cycle begins.

What do you think?

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We can each do our part to keep Annapolis a wonderful place to live, work, play, and visit. As your alderman, I will continue to do my part and make sure that Annapolis is the place my little children will call home and grow to love as much as I do.

My philosophy is to work toward transparency by letting you know what the City government is doing and why. I believe that good government needs its citizens to be engaged as well as informed.

Adequate Public Facilities -- On Oct. 26, 2015, a Public Hearing was held to hear comments on O-36-15: Adequate Public Facilities - For the purpose of adding review criteria and certification for adequate school facilities to Title 22 of the Code of the City of Annapolis; and matters generally relating to the adequacy of school facilities. Sponsors: Arnett and Littmann 

My comments: The public hearing on this legislation began at the last council session (Oct. 12) when a number of developers spoke against this bill. Thereafter, I received a number of letters of support, including this very well written one.

This ordinance would add school capacity (the available space at a school for additional students) to the existing list of public facilities, like water supply, police and fire availability, etc., that must be deemed to be in adequate supply before a residential development is approved. Currently, the City does not evaluate school capacity before considering whether to approve a new residential development. The County, on the other hand, does make this evaluation, and its system has been working to balance development and school capacity.

The pending legislation is based on the Anne Arundel County model, including the mitigation available to proposed developers. Non-residential, residential with no new dwelling units, institutions for the care of the aged, and age-restricted residential projects would be exempt from the requirements of this ordinance.

You can access the full ordinance text and supporting documents from the Oct. 26 agenda by clicking here. If this issue is important to you, please let me know what you think.

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Budget -- Since the day I took office, I’ve been working toward efficiency in government because as Alderman I’m a steward of your money and I believe in spending wisely and saving whenever possible. As manager of my store’s budget, I understand that no business, or government, can survive if it runs out of cash or if it gets too deeply into debt.

Public Safety and Infrastructure -- City government must focus on its core governmental functions such as public safety and infrastructure – a safe water supply, sewer capacity, and a safe and reliable means of transportation. Public safety is of concern to everyone, and crime rates are going down. But, for victims of drug dealing, violence, and thefts, lower crime rates don’t mean much and more work is needed.

Economic Growth and the Environment -- I am passionate about improving Annapolis’ business climate while protecting and improving the environment. We have complicated and sometimes competing issues such as historic preservation, flood control, and more. However, businesses must have an opportunity to grow and thrive to provide jobs, goods, and services. At the same time, we are stewards of our environment and protecting should not be at odds with economic growth.

On June 25, 2015, I made a presentation at a public meeting co-sponsored by the Severn River Association and the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation to shed light on the Forest Conservation Act and legislation my colleagues and I on the Council are crafting to create clarity in its implementation in the city. Click on the image for the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied my talk. More details are on my Facebook page.

These issues do not lend themselves to quick fixes. A continued reasonable approach to government spending and commitment to what’s important is needed in the long term. I continue to believe that Annapolis is a terrific City and, because the issues change from year to year, citizens should select representatives who govern not on a particular issue but from a position of experience and passion for public service.

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Alderman Jared Littmann • Ward 5 • 912 Forest Drive • Annapolis, Maryland 21403 • 410 268-3939
jared@annapolisward5.com facebook

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By Authority of Friends of Jared Littmann, Mitch Krebs, Treasurer