Poll: Oct. 24 City Council Meeting—What Topic is the Most Important to You?
Tonight's meeting includes legislation on aggressive panhandling and the Maritime Republic of Eastport will again offer a declaration of (Tug of) War.
The Annapolis City Council will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at city hall.
At the meeting, the council will consider, on second reader, legislation on aggressive panhandling.
Last month, Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop gave a presentation to the council on legislation that, if approved, would define what agressive panhandling is and determine it unlawful. The bill would also set fines for such acts.
Pristoop noted in the presentation that the legislation could not prohibit panhandling, which in most cases is free speech. Instead it would look at certain behavior associated with the act of panhandling.
That behavior, according to the drafted legislation, includes "the conduct of begging which harasses, menaces, intimidates, impedes traffic or otherwise causes harm."
Another item up for public hearing is an ordinance that, if approved, would establish a dedicated office space in city hall for aldermen and alderwomen. Currently, there is no set space in the building for them.
At last week's city council work session, Public Works Director David Jarrell and City Manager Mike Mallinoff spoke before the council on the issue and presented three potential options for allocating space to the council members.
One option would include a conference room and a small office on the first floor. The second proposal would include the same space but the office would be slightly larger with room for about three desks. A third option would allow still more space. The third option is the most costly.
According to Jarrell's presentation the office of law will be moving temporarily to 93 Main Street to make room for several upcoming changes in the building. Under this option that office would remain there to allow for more space and desks for the city aldermen.
"The price of doing that would be the ongoing lease of 95 Main Street which would be about $5,000 a month," Jarrell said last week.
"I feel very strongly that the council needs to be in this building," said Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson (D-4th Ward), one of the sponsors of the legislation. She also said she felt that the office of law should be in the building, but questioned the need for the six staff positions that fall under the mayor's office to have space in the building.
Mayor Josh Cohen said there is no question that there is a need for the aldermen to have designated space to meet with constituents and do work. He added, however, that the disagreement is over how much space that should include.
Alderman Ross Arnett, (D-8th Ward), another sponsor of the ordinance, offered a different perspective.
"I think we should take baby steps. We haven't been in this building for 300 years. Just getting a toe in here is pretty important to me," he said.
The Maritime Republic of Eastport will also declare "war" on the city of Annapolis in preparation for the annual tug-of-war on Nov. 5.
Check out our video of the declaration from last year.