Request for Legal Opinion on Confederate Monuments

In light of yesterday’s tragic events, I have sent a letter to the City Solicitor requesting his opinion on the legal requirements that must be addressed in order to remove, relocate, or reinterpret existing confederate monuments as well as the Roger B. Taney Monument. You may view the entire letter here: 2017.08.13 – Legal Clarification on Confederate Monuments

City Council Ordinance 17-0111 – Prohibiting Handguns Near Places of Public Assembly

INFORMATION ON CITY COUNCIL ORDINANCE 17-0111 – Weapons – Prohibiting Handguns Near Places of Public Assembly. I have given this issue a great deal of thought after extensive research and discussions and have put together the information below that includes: 1) legal background on this issue; 2) details on the proposed ordinance; 3) why I believe the ordinance is necessary; 4) common misconceptions about mandatory minimum sentencing; 5) my position on the ordinance; and 6) next steps in the legislative process. A copy of the amended bill is available here. Read more

Costello Leads Effort to Reach Budget Agreement

After 49 1/2 hours of Committee hearings and dozens of hours of negotiations, Council President Jack Young and Councilman Eric Costello, Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, publicly announced an agreement with Mayor Pugh’s Administration on the FY2018 budget. This budget articulates both of the City Council’s and the Mayor’s shared priorities for additional funding for education and programming for our youth. More information on the agreement is outlined in the letter below from Council President Young and Councilman Costello to the Mayor on June 8, 2017:

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FY2018 Budget Process

The following Fiscal Year 2018 budget publications are now available online:

The City Council’s Budget & Appropriations Committee schedule for hearing the FY2018 budget is appended below and available for download here: Final Budget Schedule

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UPCOMING SNOW STORM

CRITICAL UPDATES FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15th
  1. Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) – Schools open 2 hours late on Wednesday, March 15. District office opens on time. Staff: Check your email for reporting details. Please follow BCPS on Twitter or Facebook for updates.

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BALTIMORE SUN: COSTELLO AND HAYES: DON’T GIVE UP ON STATE CENTER

Costello and Hayes: Don’t give up on State Center

The Sun hit the nail on the head in its editorial last month bemoaning the effect on the city of Gov. Larry Hogan‘s decision to cancel Maryland’s contracts for the renovation of the State Center office complex on Baltimore’s West Side. We share The Sun’s view, and add our voices to the chorus by expanding on 1) the history of State Center’s community impact and engagement; 2) our grave concerns for job loss; and 3) the arena red herring. We close with requests of the governor, in the belief that concerns must be paired with solutions. Read more

BIENNIAL AUDITS OVERSIGHT COMMISSION (BAOC)

The first meeting of the Biennial Audits Oversight Commission (BAOC) will be Wednesday, Feb 15, 5pm, at City Hall, in Council Chambers on the 4th Floor.

More information on the 1st meeting is available below:

The BAOC is compromised of the following seven individuals: Councilman Eric T. Costello (Chair); Councilman Bill Henry; Acting Inspector General Stephen J. Lesniewski, Jr.; Councilman Leon Pinkett; Comptroller Joan Pratt; Finance Director Henry Raymond; and Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young. Among other things, the BAOC is tasked with providing guidance and advice to the City Auditor in determining the scope of agency performance audits.

COSTELLO INTRODUCES BILL TO KEEP CYCLISTS SAFE

Councilman Eric T. Costello introduced legislation aimed at keeping cyclists safe. The bill does two key things: 1) it increases the penalty for blocking a bike lane with a motor vehicle; and 2) makes this a towable offense.

Bikemore, the premier cyclist advocacy group in Baltimore City has expressed their support for the legislation. You can learn more about Bikemore’s advocacy efforts on their Website, Twitter, or Facebook.

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Cross St Market Revitalization Not Moving Forward

I am very disappointed with the conclusion that Cross St Market will not be revitalized. For a variety of reasons, Caves Valley Partners (CVP) has made the difficult decision to not move forward with the project. Dating back to my time as a community president, this was one of the top issues our neighborhood fought for. After being sworn in to office, it became a top priority of mine and I have worked tirelessly ever since to help get this project across the finish line.

Public-private partnerships on municipal markets are extremely complex and challenging. Funding must be cobbled together from multiple public and private sources and margins are extremely thin. The fact that CVP was the only team to respond to the RFP demonstrates truly how challenging this effort was.

I would like to thank the members of the Cross St Market Advisory Committee for selflessly volunteering your time and effort along the way, all with the best interest of our collective neighborhoods at heart. The Baltimore Public Markets Corporation should be commended for shifting their paradigm and embracing the public-private partnership model. Lastly, thank you to CVP and Arsh Mirmiran for giving your best effort. Despite how risky and financially unattractive this deal was, your willingness to try this far exceeded what should have been expected.

FBaltimore Sun Coverage: “Firm planning overhaul of Cross Street Market in Federal Hill walks away”

Statement from Baltimore Public Markets Corporation

UPCOMING WATER BILLING CHANGES FOR 1 INCH METERS

I am writing today with what is hopefully welcome news regarding the new water billing infrastructure fees. In short, if you have a $60.88 monthly infrastructure fee (due to having a 1″ water meter), it is being reduced to $28.22, resulting in monthly savings of $32.66, or annual savings of $391.92. While I recognize that the solution is not ideal, I believe it is far fairer and provides much needed relief. This will inevitably increase our ability to retain residents and help continue to grow our City. Please see below the following: 1) background on water billing changes; 2) impact on single family dwelling units; 3) steps I took to work with the Mayor’s Office and DPW; 4) details on the solution; and 5) next steps. Read more