"Highlandtown... The Heart of Baltimore"
General Assembly of Maryland 2019
The General Assembly of Maryland is officially in session between 1/21/2019 through 3/21/2019. If you have any concerns or want to learn more, please observe the agenda and contact our District 46 representatives.
The Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council has approved for accreditation the newly-instituted Cadet-Apprentice Program, effective immediately. Qualified individuals can enter the Cadet program at age 18 and continue until 20.5 years, when they are then eligible to enter the Police Academy. Cadets will be involved with structured on-the-job learning, paired with rigorous educational programming and coordinated mentoring. Cadets’ starting salary is $30,000 and they will receive full employment benefits. There are currently 11 cadets in the program and we hope to expand it to up to 20 Cadets by year-end.
Mobile WorkForce Center
Ensuring that every Baltimore City resident who wishes to work is able to find suitable employment, it was my pleasure to christen our new Mobile Workforce Center. Operated by the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, the Mobile Workforce Center will bring job resources to citizens and provide services such as job readiness assessments, résumé review and customization, job referral assistance, recruitment and resource information event information. This roving employment resource is equipped with 16 computer workstations, laptops to increase service capacity to up to 24 customers at a time, satellite internet access, exterior audio visual and broadcasting capabilities, as well as tables and chairs for outdoor presentations. For more information about where the Mobile Workforce Center will be in the community, check regularly at: https://moed.baltimorecity.gov/mobile-workforce-center
Violence Reduction Initiative
Each and every day of the work week, leaders from every City agency join me in meeting with Police District Commanders as part of our Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI) to identify and develop solutions to neighborhood issues that have the potential to lead to violence and crime. This Violence Once a week, we walk throughout a specific neighborhood to meet with community leaders and residents and see first-hand the problems that threaten the safety of citizens and their quality of life. This initiative – along with our bi-monthly “Call to Action” meetings is leading to clear and positive results. Crime continues to decline in every category: homicides are down 20%; non-fatal shootings are down 10%, overall violent crime is down 16%, burglaries are down 28%, and aggravated assaults are down 13%. Overall, total crime in the city is down 18% compared to the same period last year. We will continue to be relentless in our efforts to reduce crime and create a City worthy of all our citizens.
Affordable Housing Trust Fund
This week we announced a historic agreement to fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund which will increase affordable housing options for Baltimore's low-income residents. Joined by Council President Jack Young, Council Members and community advocates, I announced my Administration's commitment to allocate at least $20 million annually over a 4-year period to the Trust Fund.Without question, this is the surest path to uplifting our most vulnerable City residents and creating more promising pathways for them and their families.
Baltimore Healthy Start Fatherhood Symposium - For more than two decades, Baltimore Healthy Start Inc. has been investing in the health and well-being of Baltimore’s families. Head Start pushes to reduce perinatal health disparities, including infant mortality, by providing direct services to pregnant and postpartum women, their infants and fathers living in socially, economically, and medically disadvantaged communities.
Catholic Church-issued ID Cards for Immigrants
Mayor Catherine E. Pugh joins Archbishop William E. Lori and other Church and community leaders to introduce the new Parish ID card system for undocumented immigrants and other vulnerable citizens to support their identification with law enforcement. The initiative, adopted in leadership development. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-ci-parish-id-cards-20181010-story.html
Friends & Neighbors,
The 2019 legislative session is over and I am back home in Baltimore full time. It was a session for the history books, but not necessarily for all good reasons. As you probably know, our Speaker Michael Busch died this past Sunday, the day before Sine Die (the last day of session). Although I was heartbroken to hear the news on Sunday, walking into the House chamber on Monday morning and seeing his empty chair, I felt the enormity of the loss. We passed his final bill later that day (to help reform the University of Maryland Medical System), and held a short memorial with tributes from members that evening just before midnight. The Speaker had an enormous influence on me and has been a champion for Baltimore. I am so grateful to have known him and served under him, and will always strive to live up to the example he set as a true public servant leader.
Below you will find a short recap of some of the major pieces of legislation we passed this session and information about the FY20 budget. For my full End of Session Report, please click HERE.
The Maryland General Assembly completed our 439th Legislative Session on April 8th. As always, I am grateful for the trust you have put in me as one of your elected representatives in Annapolis. This was my first year serving as the Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, and I was appointed to serve on the Kirwan Commission at this critical moment as we develop an equitable public school funding formula over the next nine months.
I want to specifically thank my three phenomenal 46th District partners - Delegates Luke Clippinger, Brooke Lierman, and Robbyn Lewis - all three are top-tier lawmakers in their own right. Together, we passed significant legislation that will make real, positive changes for Maryland’s residents, particularly for those living and working in Baltimore City’s 46th Legislative District.
Here is an overview of some of my legislation and the most important issues contemplated by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2019 Legislative Session which garnered significant advocacy from constituents in District 46:
State Senator Bill Ferguson
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives took an important step to ensure that the internet remains free and open for all Americans.
On Wednesday, the House passed the Save the Internet Act (H.R. 1644), a bill that restores bipartisan Net Neutrality protections and guards consumers and small businesses against abusive practices by internet service providers.
In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission -- under the leadership of Trump Administration appointee Ajit Pai -- ended Net Neutrality rules. In doing so, they opened the door for internet service providers to act as online gatekeepers who could block or slow access to certain websites, or charge consumers more money for specific content or for faster internet access.
In light of the Trump FCC's decision, I held a community forum in Baltimore with Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and other subject-matter experts. We learned more about how the elimination of Net Neutrality rules would raise costs for Maryland consumers and small businesses. Hearing these important perspectives helped underscore the urgency of passing the Save the Internet Act.
This critical bill will prevent wealthy, powerful and well-connected internet service providers from assuming more control over the internet and making Americans pay more money to access high-speed online services or content by:
· Strengthening transparency protections, enacting specific rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization and empowering the FCC to investigate consumer and business complaints and fine internet service providers that violate the Communications Act; · Protecting consumers against unjust, unreasonable and discriminatory practices -- and promoting competition; · Ensuring consumers can make informed decisions when shopping for internet plans; and · Restoring the FCC's authority to fund broadband access for rural communities, working Americans, veterans, seniors, students and disabled Americans.
The Save the Internet Act will ensure that everyone has equal and affordable access to the internet.
John P. Sarbanes
Maryland's Third Congressional District
Hogan Administration Announces New Maryland Workforce Expressway Website
Multi-agency Collaboration Offers Education, Training, and Employment Resources to Connect Businesses with Skilled Workers
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan, in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Maryland Department of Commerce, Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland Higher Education Commission, Maryland Department of Human Services, and the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, unveiled the Maryland Workforce Expressway, a new website that connects businesses to the full array of state workforce development resources in Maryland.
“Our administration is committed to using every resource possible to provide excellent customer service to our citizens,” said Governor Hogan. “This innovative website will modernize the way our businesses connect with Maryland’s incredible array of workforce resources, helping our businesses identify and grow their talent.”
The new website, www.maryland.gov/workforce, hosts nearly 50 workforce resources in one, easy-to-navigate location. Previously spread across many state agencies, the Expressway is a single source for links to talent engagement services, workforce education, hiring incentives, workforce training grants, labor and industry standards, and reemployment services. By streamlining access to state workforce resources, Maryland employers can more easily access the tools and services they need to secure and develop their talent pipelines.
From Baltimore City Department of Planning
Dockless Scooters - Share your opinion!
Baltimore's Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a survey about mobility and the impact of dockless vehicles (scooters and bikes). The survey is NOW OPEN and will inform the evaluation of the dockless pilot program.
Neighborhood associations can request paper copies and send group recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org . Take the survey and have your voice heard!
Link to survey: https://goo.gl/forms/PvQg7AgXxgzVgPWn2
Less Waste, Better Baltimore
Get involved in the Less Waste, Better Baltimore Plan. DPW needs your help as it conducts a master planning effort to identify options for improving solid waste diversion, recycling, and disposal in the City.
The Planning Commission meets regularly each month. All meetings are held in the Phoebe B. Stanton Boardroom of the Department of Planning, located on the 8th floor of 417 East Fayette Street and are open to the public. Live streaming is available.
The agenda and staff reports are available on this website.
State Department of Assessments & Taxation
SDAT Offers Tax Relief, Mails More Than 75,000 Postcards for
Tax Credit Awareness Campaign
Encourages Low-income Homeowners and Renters to Apply for Property
The Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) is urging Marylanders to consider whether they may be eligible to receive a homeowners’ or renters’ property tax credit and to submit an application before the September 1 deadline. As part of this awareness campaign, this week SDAT mailed 77,544 postcards to low-income Maryland homeowners who may be eligible to receive a credit, but have not yet submitted an application. SDAT representatives have consistently participated in various community outreach events throughout the year hosted by senior centers, neighborhood alliances, and non-profit organizations to educate Marylanders about tax relief that may be available to them.
The Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit Program provides tax relief for eligible homeowners by setting a limit on the amount of property taxes owed based on their income. If a resident has already paid their property taxes and applies before September 1, any tax credit that the homeowner may be eligible for will be refunded by their county finance office. The Renters’ Property Tax Credit Program similarly provides tax relief for eligible renters who pay high monthly rent relative to their total income. This credit is issued in the form of a direct check payment of up to $1,000 a year.
To determine whether you are eligible to receive a tax credit, you may visit the links above or call 410-767-4433 or 1-800-944-7403 (toll free within Maryland). To receive an application, please email email@example.com or call 410-767-4238.
These credits must be applied for annually by September 1. In 2017, approximately 47,000 homeowners received an average of $1,339 in tax relief, while more than 8,800 renters received an average of $402 in tax relief. Combined, these two tax credit programs saved Maryland taxpayers more than $65 million last year. After the 2017 Tax Credit Awareness Campaign, an additional 10,000 Maryland homeowners and renters applied for a tax credit. Many counties and municipalities also provide supplemental credits, which provide additional tax relief. If a resident is approved to receive the state credit, they will automatically receive any local supplemental credit for which they are eligible.
In order to educate Maryland homeowners and renters about the availability of these tax credits, SDAT has been proactively sharing this information with the public through direct mail, email campaigns, social media, and other forms of community outreach.
Guest Speaker at HCA Meeting on 16 April 2018
We want to thank Baltimore City's 25th State Attorney Marilyn Mosby for attending our community meeting and answering our questions. Though we have a long road ahead in fixing issues surrounding criminal justice, we are thankful that you attended our meeting and shared your vision.
Going to College Next Year or know someone that is?
FASFA is the first and most important step to receiving Financial Aid. The FAFSA is a form you have to fill out in order to get financial aid, and colleges and universities use the FAFSA to award state and college aid. If you need financial aid, please go to Fasfa.com and proceed as prompted to do. The process is free.
CollegeBound Foundation 2019-2020 Last Dollar Grants & Competitive Scholarships
CollegeBound’s 2019-2020 scholarship and grant award season is now open. Apply Now!
Now accepting applications for its Last-Dollar Grant award (up to $3,000). To qualify, a student must be a 2019 graduate from a Baltimore City Public High School and demonstrate an economic need. Also available are over 60 scholarships based on academic merit or service learning, ranging from a one-time $400 award to a four-year full tuition award. Applications are due by March 1 and are available online at mycbf.awardspring.com
In addition to school related matters, the Kirwan Commission's excellent preliminary report has provided a guidepost and vision for major policy and funding reform to genuinely improve the long-term prospects of our State's economic future. Want to help change the world? Check out Strong Schools Maryland today to see how you can be a part of making this vision for a world class education a reality in our State. You can access the full report here and the PDF version here.
Last but not least, Strong Schools Maryland consists of hundreds of grassroots activists across Maryland speaking up and saying that the current education system is failing many of our students and crippling our economy. They know that the best way to ensure lasting change is to create the public will necessary to force our leaders to implement solutions we know work. Join the organization in building the public will to create a world-class education system for every student.
The objective for Strong Schools Maryland is to create a system in which the following three ideas are true:
(1) All Maryland students graduate with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in post-secondary education without the need for remediation.
(2) All Maryland students graduate with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a career in which they find satisfaction and earn a living wage.
(3) All Maryland students graduate with the knowledge and skills to be an effective citizen
South Baltimore Adult High School - The website for the adult high school coming to South Baltimore is live and can be found here! The adult high school is slated to open in the Fall 2019 as a degree-issuing institution for adults over 21 who want to earn their high diploma.
Maryland Emergency Management Agency Launches "Know Your Zone" Hurricane Preparedness Campaign
With the record-setting 2017 hurricane season still fresh in most American’s minds, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in conjunction with local emergency managers, is rolling out a new hurricane and severe weather evacuation system as a result of the Maryland hurricane evacuation study which concluded earlier this year. The study identified 3 large areas in Maryland subject to tidal flooding. Know Your Zone aims to bring awareness of the evacuation zones to the forefront of Marylanders’ summer plans and make evacuation notices easier to disseminate.
*********Featured Contracting Opportunities*********
O.E.M Parts and Service for General Motors/Chevrolet Vehicles
(Baltimore City Department of General Services) Solicitation Due Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.
For more information, click here
Sprinter Cargo Vans (Baltimore City Department of General Services) Solicitation Due Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.
For more information, click here
Asphalt Paver (Baltimore City Department of General Services) Solicitation Due Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.
For more information, click here
For a list of more contracting opportunities, click here
For additional City contracting opportunities, go to:
Baltimore CitiBuy: https://www.baltimorecitibuy.org/bso/external/publicBids.sdo
Design and Construction Projects: http://cityservices.baltimorecity.gov/DCP/ProjectList.aspx?agencyName=&projCat=&contact
Baltimore Housing: http://www.baltimorehousing.org/contractors.aspx
Baltimore City Public Schools: http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/Page/25290
Baltimore Development Corporation: http://baltimoredevelopment.com/rfps/
AN UNOFFICIAL STRATEGY TO DEAL WITH ILLEGAL DUMPING
Baltimore has a major problem with dumping in our streets and alleys. The city asks residents to make use of the 311 system, but does not seem to be willing to invest in enforcement. Many believe that the cost of enforcement would be offset by the reduced costs associated with clean up. The cost of cleanup is not the only expense. Filth and trash are unsightly and attract rats which carry disease. Property values, and the related tax revenue to the city, are reduced.
Here is a list of possible strategies:
Use 311 whenever there is dumping – please be vigilant, this will not be resolved quickly
There is a free 311 phone app that automatically records 311 report numbers which allow you to track every 311 report you have ever made
It can be found at Google Play and the Apple Store
You can easily attach pictures to your report
It uses your phones GPS to record the location, although it often is not accurate enough to pin point the exact address – you can adjust the location or record the address in the body of the comment area
City employees may call you with questions or to follow up, so we know that the reports are seen
Contact your city council representatives and provide them with the 311 report numbers
East of Conkling Street contact Brandon Scott’s office at 410-396-4808 or at Brandon.Scott@baltimorecity.gov
West of Conkling Street contact Zeke Cohen’s Director of Civic Engagement, Joshua Thomson at 410-396-4821 or at Joshua.Thomson@baltimorecity.gov
copy the Highlandtown Community Asso. at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your 311 report numbers
Any relevant pictures, including pictures that may show the dumping in progress and license plate numbers
Pictures of any incriminating evidence, such as mail with an address, found in the debris
Always ask your city councilman for stepped up enforcement, not just clean up
The Highlandtown Community Association has a portable motion activated camera with night vision (aka a wildlife/deer camera) that can be used to capture pictures at chronic dump sites. This camera requires a location where it is unlikely to be noticed or tampered with. If you have a chronic dump site you may request use of the camera at email@example.com . Please include your phone number and be prepared to help locate a good spot to place the camera.
From the office of Senator Bill Ferguson
Members of Team 46 (Senator Bill Ferguson and Delegates Luke Clippinger, Brooke Lierman, and Robbyn Lewis) offer a framework and concrete ideas for moving forward to combat the crime plaguing our streets and to create safe and healthy neighborhoods. This is not the beginning of the conversation, and it’s certainly not the end: these are our thoughts after talking with many individuals engaged every day in this work - and we look forward to hearing your thoughts as well. We propose these ideas for the purpose of starting a discussion that government, civic, and business leaders must have now so that we can address violence and crime head-on...
To comprehensively address this crisis, each of these recommendations requires leaders in the Baltimore region to consistently meet, plan, and implement an identified game plan. We need ongoing programming, innovation, and experimentation to create opportunity, reduce violence, and restore the level of trust in relationships between our communities and law enforcement. This collaborative and data-driven work should include participation of electeds, emergency responders, police (leadership and patrol officers), teachers, counselors, juvenile justice workers, judges, community leaders, and state/federal partners.
Finally, our approach must recognize that we only resolve this crisis sustainably when we create real opportunities for Baltimoreans: jobs, training, education, reliable transit, addiction counseling/ treatment, and affordable housing. We cannot ignore the deeper, structural problems that lead to crime — lack of economic opportunity, lack of education, addiction, structural racism, youth unemployment, segregated housing — each of which contributes to the broader landscape that causes crime spikes. Unfortunately, though, when crime reaches levels we are experiencing today, tackling these larger challenges becomes nearly impossible. We must triage the emergency, establish a path to a violence-free future, and work every day and every session toward reaching that vision of a safer, more equitable Baltimore.
Read our policy paper, Baltimore PROSPERS by clicking here.
Highlandtown's very own Agnes Arnold has been awarded the annual "Citizen of the Year" award by the Exchange Club of Highlandtown/Canton for outstanding dedication to the citizens and the community. Here she accepts her award along with Pastor Mark Parker (left), the incoming President of the Exchange Club. Residents of Highlandtown thank Agnes & Mark for their continued efforts to improve our neighborhood!