May 19, 2024
Annapolis, US 70 F

Annapolis City Council: Bikes and Benefits

Last night, Mayor Gavin Buckley faced a two and a half hour barrage of opinions on the construction of a temporary bike path on Main Street.  Most of the people that came to speak at the council meeting were opposed to the bike path for three or four main reasons–safety, lack of notice, expense, and general need.

There were several supporters, mostly bicycle advocates that had served (or are serving) on various bicycle commissions and local attorney Joe Gormley who is one of the Mayor’s most ardent financial supporters.

Notably, Sveinn Storm of Storm Brothers, had the audience in stitches as he humorously described the failures of the path.



Several people also commented that the Mayor is backtracking on the inclusivity promises of his campaign. Robert Eades testified that he feels he is not including the African American community in the initiatives. Likewise, Karen Smith, a Ward 1 resident admonished the Mayor that it appears he is operating alone and without consensus and cited the bike path as well as the Annapolis Rising benefit.

And on the Annapolis Rising benefit concert, the Council was to vote on the waiving of the fees and costs incurred by the City to maximize the donation to the Capital Gazette Families Fund.  Aldermen Savidge, Henson, Paone, Tierney, and Arnett (to an extent) all had issues with waiving the fees. They all agreed that the cause was admirable, but that essentially giving away taxpayer money to a private foundation was improper considering the recent hike in the tax rate. Alderwoman Finlayson suggested that the Council agree to waive half of the fees; which was not too well received. In the end, they decided to postpone any action until there is more information available.

The Annapolis Arts District and the Annapolis Rising LLC provided a limited accounting to the Council at the last minute which had little detail and still showed nearly $35,000 in uncollected sponsorship pledges.  Should none of the sponsorships come to fruition and the City decides to not waive the fees, the LLC and the Arts District would have a $17,555 hole to patch on their own.  If the sponsorships come in and the City does not waive the fee, the Capital Gazette Families Fund will receive an additional $16,994 to donate. The Rams Head Group handled ticketing for the event and $63,615 was sent directly from Rams Head to the fund for the proceeds of the ticket sales.

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