Action Annapolis Questionnaire
Eleanor Tierney (D) | Ward 1
Vision and Priorities
1. Please share your campaign vision and priorities. What strengths will you bring to the job, and what past experience has prepared you for the role of Alderman?
My 30 year career with a national Construction Management Company reinforced my ability to work with a multi-disciplined team towards a common goal, a successful project. As Ward One President for three years I’ve engaged the community in issues that affect them, keeping residents informed by attending City Council meetings and working with City Officials. I would continue that effort in being Alderperson.
2. Do you support strengthening the role of the City Manager? Why or why not?Yes, I believe that the day to day operations of running the City and managing the City Departments and City Contracts is an enormous task for a Mayor that needs to steer the ship. We need the City Manager, with the Mayor’s role as the City’s leader and visionary and face of our City.
3. Annapolis has vibrant economic opportunities. We also have a history of challenges in sustaining businesses in the City. What are your ideas in attracting and keeping businesses in Annapolis?
We need to designate reasonably priced employee parking space, to work with HPC in economically viable renovations, meet with landlords to review their costs so that we can have affordable rents. Introduce tax credits for making their stores safe and meeting fire protection guidelines.
4. How would you focus specifically on businesses owned by African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities?
The City has hired community Hispanic and African American liaisons to assist in the permitting process and other potential obstacles in starting a business. I support this effort and look forward to its successful implementation.
5. The Market House has a history of instability. What are your plans for a long-term solution to stabilize the Market House for the next generation and make it a hub for city activities?
Unfortunately, there is an RFP process underway that precludes me from implementing a plan. I would have preferred a national data base of market house developers to invite, give them time to do a market analysis, and prepare their bids. I believe there is a need for a ‘real market’ house, to include prepared foods, artisan bread, cheeses, meats, deli, coffee, etc. to service residents and visitors. The existing operation is not what Annapolis deserves.
6. Residents of HACA (Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis) locations continue to experience a disproportionate amount of crime and inadequate living conditions. What four actions would you recommend to address HACA residents’ immediate safety, security, and quality of life needs?
I believe the Alderman need to take more ownership of this issue as they are communities in our Wards, even though funded by HUD. In Ward One, we now have a resident of Bloomsbury Square as Vice President on the Ward One Residents Association Board. I support community policing, yearly inspections, installation of cameras, and finally installation of better site lighting. I also would focus on the kids, and insure they have the transportation they need to get to Pip Moyer Rec Center, Stanton Center and other after school activities. They are our future.
7. With federal funding eliminated for renovation and new construction of public housing, where will money come from for redevelopment of our existing public housing?
I think we need to investigate all sources of funding before we opt for private-public relationship. We need to focus on the existing inventory before we build new.
8. Some of the housing has been redeveloped through public-private partnerships. Is this a good model, and why or why not?
I’m not sure at this point. I need to look at comparable housing in other areas that have instituted a public-private partnership. I am optimistic that there is a good model we can follow after we’ve done our due diligence. We can’t totally give up on federal grants and/or funding.
9. What is your position on privatizing of any of the city’s assets, e.g., recreational facilities, Market House, services?
I think we need to implement better scoring matrices for our managing of these assets. We wait four years and then decide we aren’t making any money. Let’s shape up our game, and introduce quarterly reviews. We have strong City Departments that should be able to manage these, and after a year if the numbers are sliding we have to re-evaluate. We gave up the golf course without a good financial analysis of its cost and future benefits. We put ourselves in a position that made the sale almost inevitable. Very unfortunate.
10. What will be your approach to reduce and prevent crime?
I have faith in the new Police Chief and his enormous effort in implementing Community Policing. He needs to be given the tools he needs.
11. The budget currently before the City Council anticipates hiring additional police and fire employees. The city would have to provide funding in subsequent budgets to support the additional employees. What is your proposal regarding the source of those funds?
This year’s operating budget included money from the State to secure these positions. However, I believe we couldn’t afford a Sargent position. With a new Chief, we will need to work with the County on shared efforts, specifically on heroin epidemic. The Governor is strong on his commitment to fight crime and overdoses and we need to insure continued funding from the State level. This one we can’t do alone.
Budget and Taxes
12. How will you propose financing general budget needs?
PAGO and not borrow. My last 10-12 years with Turner I was preconstruction manager of projects up to 900 million dollars. We developed program estimates, fixed costs, so if one discipline had to add, it had to come from somewhere else. We need this approach with our operating budget. We can’t borrow and use bond money for sidewalk repair when we have major infrastructure projects set aside as we can’t finance them. We need to restructure our debt so that we can pay it down and still have a reputable bond position to borrow in the short term.
13. What is your position on the current mayor’s proposed tax cut of $330,000?
It was a spin to win votes. With assessments rising it gave us a net yield. But under the circumstances that money should be applied to either the debt or a needed service force ranked among the Alderman’s lists.
14. Please rank the following for budget priorities, from highest to lowest priority: Arts, Community Parks and Recreation, Education, Infrastructure, Transparency, Transportation
3. Community Parks & Recreation
Equal Protection under the Law
15. In February 2017, the City Council passed Ordinance 0-1-17, Non-discrimination Foreign-Born Residents Equal Protection, acknowledging that all persons are due equal protection under the law. If you had been mayor/alderman at that time, how would you have voted on this ordinance, and why? If you are an incumbent, how did you vote and why?
The Mayor should have supported this as well as the full Council at a minimum to make a statement. I understand there were concerns about duplicating existing laws, but it was a necessary tool to ensure that our working immigrants do not become victims of unnecessary searches and also being too fearful to report crimes. Under the current political climate, local jurisdictions need to step up and support their immigrants that are entitled to our freedoms without the threat of being deported.
16. What are your environmental initiatives? What will you do to address long term environmental sustainability needs and what is your plan to pay for these initiatives?
I will support the ongoing stormwater projects and give Maria Broadbent what she needs to get the funding she has been successful in obtaining. We can implement a stormwater tax prorated by footprint and insure the money is spent on the projects. I would also like to demo some concrete down at the dock and implement green space with trees to read a book under. (Susan Campbell Park). I’m sure we could find donors!
17. In March 2017, the City Council adopted the Forest Conservation Reforestation ordinance, known as “No Net Loss,” which requires developers to replace each acre of trees they cut down. If you had been mayor/alderman at that time, how would you have voted on this ordinance, and why?
Absolutely for no net loss of canopy. In Ward One, there are ample opportunities to replace trees, if not specifically on the site, anywhere along Spa Creek. We are so easily succumbed to developer’s requests that are short term profit and not to address the long term environmental effect by not enforcing developer’s fees, forest reforestation and storm water projects.
18. Do you believe that additional storm water treatment initiatives /efforts are required? If so, what would you recommend and how would they be funded?
See above answer.
19. Would you consider joining with the 246 Mayors in the US in supporting the commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and work with them to support 21st Century a clean energy economy?
Yes, absolutely. With a big flag hanging at City Hall. And the State House dome lit up in green. (well I’m an optimist)
20. The Eastport development project involves conflicts in the interpretation of the zoning code. How would you resolve this and future conflicts so that the developer and the community can rely on consistency in the approval process?We need a complete review of the Planned Unit Development submittal process as it currently stands. The Director of Planning and Zoning should support this and prioritize stream lining of all review processes to minimize complexity and resulting misinterpretations. Density is a common calculation, known by Architects, so this was something City specific that was misjudged. I need to know more to correct it, but from Ross Arnett’s explanation it needs to be simplified to minimize error.
21. What is your position on requests being made by the Department of Recs and Parks for funding for the before and after-school program?
I’m so much in favor of this. This has to be elevated in priority. This is about our children at a critical age when they not only need something to do, but know that their City cares about them. I need to look at the budget to see how we finance it, but it’s not a question of if we should, as that’s a definite yes.
22. How do you think art in public places should be regulated and financed?1. . We could increase the percentage allocated from the hotel tax. I have read a study addressing the amount Maryland cities have received and the resulting benefits. We are listed low, behind cities like Frederick, Rockville and Hagerstown who have elevated their AIPPC in budgeting and have benefited from tourism. I don’t think art should be ‘regulated’ but explore a vehicle for public comment.
23. Members of city boards and commissions are required to provide a signed Statement of Compliance with the Provisions of Ethics Ordinance, affirming that they understand the provisions of the city code regarding public ethics and financial disclosure. Several members of the advisory boards and city commissions resigned because they took issue with the wording of the statement. Do you support any changes to make the statement non-controversial, and if so, what changes?
I need to study this, obviously, as it has caused resignations. The City has to acknowledge that these are volunteer positions and should not be interpreted as serving at the pleasure of the Mayor with no latitude given, but again I need to study the specific objectionable wording.
24. Do you support the current Mayor-Council form of government or a Council - Manager form, and why?
See No. 2 above. I support the existing structure possibly elevating the City Manager to more of a lateral position to the Mayor with no vote.
25. Should boards and commissions have final say on the level of detail needed for their minutes, as long as that level met all legal and code requirements?
26. Would it be useful if the Mayor were to attend at least one board or commission hearing per month?
27. Should annual reports for each board and commission be posted on the city website?
28. How would you address the lack of women and minorities on City Boards and Commissions and as department heads? If so, how would you address it?
It saddens me that this is still an issue. I believe there are qualified minority candidates, but the City has to present a welcoming environment and ensure that the commissions represent the multi ethnic fabric of our entire community. The example has to be set at the City level, by the Mayor.