12-0055 Residential Substance-Abuse Treatment Facilities. Would allow residential drug treatment facilities to be a “permitted use” in most residential zones, in most cases.
The Read: This is an administration bill trying, once again, to get the city square with the Americans With Disabilities Act and a lawsuit by the Disability Law Center (and, in 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice) charging the city with discrimination. The law as drafted would allow supportive group homes with as many as 16 recovering drug addicts to locate in most residential areas.
12-0064 Burglar Alarms—No Fees for User Registrations. Would abolish the $20 burglar-alarm registration fee and the $250 fine for not registering.
The Read: Councilmember Mary Pat Clarke (D-14th District) gave props to Councilmember Rikki Spector (D-5th District), saying Spector “led the charge” against annual registration fees for burglar alarms. “We were always told that there’s a contractor, and when the contract is up, blah blah blah,” Clarke told the council. “Next thing we know the contractor has left town, apparently with his books in disorder.” She says a constituent got a $250 fine for not registering but was never sent notification that he had to register. She says she wants to eliminate the registration fee but keep the other parts of the program that call for a false-alarm fine after two false alarms in a year. “It’s time to make it right,” Spector says.
12-0065 Tax Lien Certificates—Verifications Required Before Issuance for Water Bills “This would be ongoing law,” sponsor Clarke says, “not just this year when we’re having a water bill crisis, but from now on.” Each bill would have to be validated as not estimated, not caused by a defective meter, and not the result of a fat-finger or transposition error. The certification would have to come from “The Director of Public Works.” You mean, that wasn’t being checked before?
12-0042R Fire Truck Sponsorships—Organizing and Implementing Committee
12-0043R Private Sponsorship of Fire Trucks The two resolutions, introduced by Councilmember William “Pete” Welch (D-9th District), would start the process of creating a mechanism by which businesses could buy advertising space on the city’s fire apparatus, as apparently has been done in Stockton, Calif. The idea is to raise money for the fire department, which is facing budget cuts.
12-0040, Targeted Homeowner’s Tax Credit—Tax Credit Disclosures In a rare display of dissent, Clarke and Councilmember Warren Branch (D-13th District) both voted against this measure. Clarke said she was concerned about the timing of the bill, which would provide a tax credit to some homeowners at a time of budget shortfalls. Branch was characteristically silent. Councilmember Bill Henry (D-4th District) abstained.
Quote of the Week:
“Time to really put our foot to the grindstone.”—Councilmember Helen Holton (D-8th District), speaking up for the “Hire One Baltimore” resolution (11-0001R), which appears to be a PR effort from the mayor’s office targeted to local businesses to encourage them to hire a new employee this year, preferably an out-of-work Baltimore resident.
The next city council meeting will be held Monday April 30 at 5 p.m.