Ladd: Council Will Address Bylaws This Month
Councilman Dick Ladd writes a monthly column, which he has submitted to Patch.
The following is from the latest monthly column written and submitted to Patch by County Councilman Dick Ladd (R-5th District), a resident of the Broadneck peninsula.
The recognition of Severna Park High School by US News and World Report as one of the top 10 high schools in Maryland and 211th in the country is again recognition of our students, their families and the high school staff’s hard work.
Similarly, Broadneck High School was ranked 16th in Maryland and 300th nationally. We are in their debt and offer our heartfelt gratitude for making Severna Park and the Broadneck Peninsula two of the greatest places to live in the Baltimore-Washington area.
The council tempo is picking up as we move into our final two weeks of work on the budget. As usual, we face a number of big decisions.
First, we must realign $10-15 million from the capital budget to the operating budget, mainly the Board of Education, and make final adjustments for recently completed contract negotiations. Of immediate concern is protecting the dredging of the Severn River headwaters. Projects such as this one are necessary to assure access to and from individual and community piers. (Such projects do not assure direct access to piers.)
Second, the council will vote to sustain or change the Capital Improvement Program and the proposed $52 million to initiate Severna Park High School construction in FY14 (July 2013). The alternative approach is to use some of those funds to renovate Crofton Elementary School starting in FY13. Importantly, this approach would set aside enough FY14 funds to combine with FY15 funding to invite SPHS construction in May 2014 with completion in December 2016.
Clearly, I would prefer the former but the latter will work. However, the latter will be subject to further up or down votes when the FY14 and FY15 County budgets are approved—so the fight is not over, but the avenues of attack are clearly visible and will be very political.
Thanks to everyone who voiced their support for SPHS this year. What a great job displaying the levelheaded advocacy that represents Severna Park very well. The need for “defense” will continue.
The budget will be passed by May 31 after which Sabra and I will go off to my 50th college reunion—one of many once-in-a-life-time milestones or reality checks—a chance to exaggerate about the last 50 years or so—and to tell people about District 5.
Changing subjects—after the announcement about the reduction in trash collection was made, we received a number of concerns from senior citizens about the weight of the new 70-gallon containers with a week’s worth of trash. While the new, larger containers have wheels and a lid, it is possible to add wheels to the smaller container, which many may find easier to handle.
For those who are interested, instructions can be found at www.aacounty.org/DPW/WasteManagement/Resouces/Wheelkit.pdf or you may call my office at 410-222-1401 to get a copy.
In June, the council will consider a number of changes to the County Charter developed by the Charter Review Commission during its once-a-decade review plus any others the council may offer.
The council will solicit public comments and then vote on the changes to be placed on the November ballot for approval. The following issues will include:
- Conditions for removing a council member.
- Process for filling a council vacancy.
- Adoption of the Open Meeting Act to allow closed council meetings for specific reasons.
- Authorization for August recess for the County Council.
- Clarification of effective date for “unsigned bills.”
- Removal of county executive “line item veto” authority.
- Add felony conviction as basis of county executive removal.
- Establishment of an “advice and consent” model for department head appointments.
- Limiting Board of Appeals and Ethics Commission term membership.
- Changes to budget and auditing procedures.
- Increase Charter Review Commission to one per council district.
Have a safe, happy summer.
Councilman Dick Ladd can be contacted via email at email@example.com.