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Councilmania

On the agenda for May 23

11-0704 Operating Budget for Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2012

The Read: The $1.3 billion budget breaks down as follows: $249 million from the city, $871 million from the state, and $185 million from the feds. According to the summary budget document: The “Achievement and Accountability” officer’s budget is $3.7 million. Just below that, the chief academic officer has an administrative budget of $3.5 million. If not academics, what “Achievement and Accountability” is that office measuring? Turns out Achievement and Accountability “deals with data and research for the most part, while the chief academic officer deals with learning in the classroom,” says Edie House Foster of the school system’s Office of Communications (“Executive Director-Partnerships, etc. $2.9 million, headed by Michael Sarbanes”). Just below these items is “Teaching and Learning Administration,” budgeted at an additional $4 million (reports to the chief academic officer, Foster says. “That person pretty much deals with the curriculum piece”). “Academic Support Services Administration” is something else entirely, costing $14.2 million, and the “Chief of School Team” has yet a separate $7.6 million allotment.

11-0706 Zoning – Conditional Use Housing for the Elderly – 5500 Wabash Avenue

Would allow housing for the elderly on property approximately at the intersection of Wabash and North Rogers avenues.

The Read: Bill sponsor Councilmember Rochelle “Rikki” Spector (D-5th District) pronounced the project “a new, very state-of-the-art opportunity.” The address in question is not listed in state tax records, its owner could not be immediately determined.

11-0707 Noise Regulations – Entertainment and Commercial Noise.

Augments the existing city noise ordinance.

The Read: Councilmember William Cole (D-11th District) says the measure, which reduces the distance from within which unwanted noise can legally be heard from 100 feet to 50 feet from the noise source, is aimed at strengthening the existing noise ordinance “and problems we’ve been seeing downtown and in many neighborhoods.” He says when the city’s noise ordinances are reworked as planned later this year, his bill may be folded into them.

11-0292R Informational Hearing – Prescription Drug Monitoring Program – Baltimore City Participation and Utilization

Asks the health and police commissioners to fill the Council in on the state’s new drug-monitoring program.

The Read: Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing form of drug addiction, Councilmember Helen Holton (D-8th District) says in introducing her resolution, “particularly among young people.” She notes that Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law a bill requiring pharmacists to log with the state every prescription filled, so that police can check the records later (if they get a subpoena). Some 34 states already have similar monitoring programs in place. “This is so Baltimore can be on top of it and not behind it,” Holton says.

The Council passed bill 11-0685 requiring “actual rather than estimated water meter readings” and bills based on same.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for June 6.

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