Happy New Year! The start of a new year has a feeling of fresh beginnings and ample opportunity. The same is true for the Anne Arundel County Council, as last month the new council was sworn in, and we held our first legislative session.
It is both an honor and a privilege to return to this elected role, representing the fifth district for four more years. There are a lot of important initiatives on the horizon that will have a great impact on our county, and I look forward to working with you on each of them.
The county executive has kicked off the budget process for fiscal year 2024, announcing dates for district town halls. These town halls are an opportunity for taxpayers to share their priorities and financial concerns with the county executive and councilmembers. Is there an area of the county where you would like to see an increased investment? What are your thoughts on the county property and income tax rate? Is there a project in the budget that is important to you?
I anticipate this budget cycle may look a little different than those of the last four. Inflation and the cost of living is at the forefront of many minds and it’s a national news story on a daily basis. The millions of dollars in federal stimulus money from COVID-19 will be coming to an end, and experts continue to warn of a potential recession. All of these factors will converge in budget discussions, and your voice is critically important to the process. The District 5 budget town hall will take place at Severna Park High School on February 8 at 6:00pm. I hope you will consider attending.
As the county continues to move through the General Development Plan, which will guide development, growth, conservation, environmental protections and infrastructure investments, the Office of Planning and Zoning continues to work with stakeholder advisory committee members. These volunteers dedicate hours of time to shaping the future of our communities and the county as a whole. Their critical work will create important recommendations that will be brought before the council as we move into comprehensive rezoning. Comprehensive rezoning is required to take place every eight years and is one of the few ways that a property could receive a zoning change. Zoning is the type, or category, of development that a property can have (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.) and directs the intensity of development. This will be one of the largest pieces of legislation that this council tackles in the next four years. Land use and zoning changes make up a large portion of legislation that comes before the council and have historically been of high importance for our district.
Keeping you informed on these important matters will remain a priority in my second term. I strive to get this information to you in a variety of ways. Social media, this column, my county blog on the council website (www.aacounty.org/departments/county-council/councilmembers/district-5) and a twice monthly electronic newsletter (please email me if you would like to receive). I want you to have the opportunity to weigh in on any matter before the council and also learn about the wonderful stories of opportunity turning into success stories for our residents and small businesses.
As always, if you have a constituent matter or a county issue you would like to discuss, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you and your family a very happy and healthy 2023.
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