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Councilmania

On the agenda for May 16

The Council’s slim agenda included a resolution congratulating fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher Margaret May of Mount Washington Elementary School for being named Baltimore City Schools 2011 Teacher of the Year. May is now a candidate for Maryland Teacher of the Year, a contest decided in the fall. The resolution was immediately adopted, as was another, introduced by Councilmember James Kraft (D-1st District), which supports a U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution calling on Congress to redirect military spending to domestic priorities.

Resolution 11-0289R Informational Hearing - Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

Would invite the director of Public Works and the chief of the Bureau of Solid Waste to brief the Council on the city’s Hazardous Waste Disposal Program.

The Read: Councilmember Rochelle “Rikki” Spector (D-5th District) introduced this resolution, which questions the city’s actions regarding household hazardous waste, ranging from oil-based paints to pesticides to batteries. The city held a spring drop-off for such materials late last month, but according to the resolution, it was the first such event in two years. The response was reportedly overwhelming, with some residents having to wait in line for over an hour. By comparison, Howard County residents can drop off hazardous waste any Saturday most months of the year; residents of Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties have ample opportunities as well. The resolution also points out that restricting disposal opportunities to Saturday—the day the city’s recent event was held—excludes those communities who consider it a day of religious observance.

Resolution 11-0290R Request for State Legislation - Closing a Homestead Tax Credit Loophole

Asks the Baltimore City delegation to the General Assembly to work to secure passage of legislation preventing banks from benefitting from Homestead Tax Credits.

The Read: Maryland Homestead Tax Credits limit the increase in taxable assessments each year to a fixed percentage. The credits are ostensibly restricted to property owners who live on the premises, but according to the resolution, sponsored by Councilmember Belinda Conaway (D-7th District), less deserving entities are apparently reaping the rewards after evicting homeowners through foreclosure. The resolution cites unspecified reports “that some . . . banks refuse to finalize the transfer of a property into their names after foreclosure so that the banks can take advantage of the Homestead Property Tax Credit to reduce the amount of taxes that they rightfully should be paying to local and State governments.” The resolution asks the Baltimore City delegation’s help close the loophole in state law that has allowed for this turn of events.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for June 6 at 5 p.m.

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