Monday night's Anne Arundel County Council meeting is setting up to be a doozy, with new legislation on the table to increase stormwater fees for all homeowners, and a proposal by a councilman to vacate the seat of another member.
Councilman James Benoit (D-4th District) of Crownsville said he will introduce legislation that would vacate the seat of Councilman Daryl Jones (D-1st District), of Severn. Jones was sentenced to serve five months in federal prison after being convicted of failing to file his taxes over a six-year period.
The move would settle a debate going on internally since Jones' conviction over whether his district would have representation while he was imprisoned. The county’s charter does not have any provision for replacing him unless he moves out of his district.
Benoit’s proposal will require the vote of five of the seven councilmen in order to be successful. If it passes, the council will have 30 days to appoint a replacement for District 1.
Stormwater Fee Returns
The fate of a new stormwater fee will also be discussed at Monday’s meeting.
At the last council meeting, Councilman Chris Trumbauer (D-6th District) of Annapolis proposed new legislation that would add a $35 annual fee on to the property tax bills for single-family homes and $25 for townhomes and condos. The money would go into a fund specifically set aside to improve stormwater management in the county.
Ultimately, the money would be used to mitigate damage done to the Chesapeake Bay, in light of new guidelines for pollutants set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trumbauer admitted that it wasn’t a convenient time to ask taxpayers for more money, but said the need for these improvements wasn’t going away. A similar push for this kind of fee at the government level failed four years ago.
But this time around, representatives of the county executive said the timing was all wrong for such a bill.
Trumbauer’s fellow councilmen called for a delay in the bill, to wait and see if the state would finalize their own guidelines for Chesapeake Bay cleanup. Trumbauer agreed to delay the bill for two weeks and, on Monday, that time is up.
A New Stance on Minority Hiring
In what could be Jones’ legislative swan song, the council will vote on a resolution that would increase scrutiny of minority hires in the county.
Little discussion has yet been given to Resolution 59-11, but Monday night’s vote could bring more voices to the table.
Jones’ resolution seeks to encourage increased minority hiring, contracting and diversity in county government “to ensure equality and fairness in Anne Arundel County government practices.” It also seeks expansion of investigative and enforcement powers of the Human Relations Commission, though no specifics are given in the resolution.
Anne Arundel Community Television broadcasts the council meetings live. Check Channel 98 beginning at 7 p.m. to tune in to Monday's meeting.
Editor's note: Patch's article covering Monday's council's meeting will be online Wednesday.