Joe Budge (D) | Ward 1
Incumbent, first elected in 2013; challenged by Larry Claussen (R) and Eleanor Tierney (D)
Joe Budge, who has lived in Annapolis’ Historic District for 10 years, is running to maintain his seat as alderman of Ward 1 because he wants to “give back to the community.” Budge believes that the city should continue to manage the Pip Moyer Recreation Center, because privatized models typically do not address the needs of low-income residents. He also believes that he can bring opportunities to fruition for the residents of Annapolis based on the experience and knowledge he has gained over the last four years in how city government operates.
Budge's priorities for Ward 1 include:
Facilitate economic growth for all business districts (Main Street, Maryland Avenue, and West Street) by improving the regulatory environment (e.g., planning and zoning, permitting), so that potential new businesses are not deterred from locating in downtown Annapolis by seemingly endless red tape. Longer term, Budge would like to see the city explore the Business Improvement District concept, as adopted in Frederick and areas of Baltimore, as a means of spurring business development.
Ensure that state funding for the Arts District program is renewed in 2018. This program provides incentives for landlords, businesses, artists, and others to encourage and promote the arts within the designated district.
Maintain the integrity of the Historic District, which defines the character of Annapolis. Budge wants to ensure that property owners work within the regulatory environment when maintaining and improving structures in the Historic District.
Address the parking issues of residents and businesses. Budge noted that the city parking contractor is in the process of finalizing a parking utilization study. The final draft will be available in August, and Budge will formalize his thoughts and recommendations regarding Ward 1 parking issues after studying the final report.
Fully fund the Watershed Protection and Restoration Program.
Amend the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance to include provisions for pedestrians and bikes.
Budge prioritized three issues of concern for the City of Annapolis overall: (1) Annapolis needs understandable zoning so that potential business owners will want to locate here; the current situation is a deterrent; (2) Annapolis needs a sustainable transit system; and (3) Annapolis must come up with a way to fund the Unfunded Pension and Health Obligations without increasing debt.
Budge views communicating with his constituency as an important part of his job, and he does so through email, Facebook, his blog, and community meetings with the residential associations of Presidents Hill, Bloomsbury Square, Truxton Heights, Murray Hill, Park Place, Ward 1, and the Historic District.
This profile is based on interviews Action Annapolis conducted with the candidates in June. Budge also attended the Action Annapolis-sponsored Candidate Meet and Greet on June 7, 2017.