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Keeping tabs on the City Council's activities so you don't have to

Tom Chalkley
Nicholas D’Adamo Jr.

By Stephen Janis | Posted 11/16/2005

On the Council Agenda Nov. 7

Bill 05-0281R: Baltimore City Housing Initiative

Proposes setting aside 3 percent of the transfer and recordation taxes from city real-estate sales to purchase and rehabilitate existing rental units, as well as acquiring land to build affordable housing in the city.

Public Interest Grade A: Affordable, safe housing is the key to the city’s future

Bill 05-0104R: Request for State Legislation—Abolish Ground Rent in Baltimore City

Asks the city’s Annapolis delegation to propose legislation to abolish ground rent, the archaic practice that requires some city homeowners to pay rent for the land on which their property is built. The resolution is a response to constituent complaints of attempts to use overdue ground rent to seize city real estate on the cheap

Public Interest Grade A: Baltimore is one of only a handful of U.S. cities where citizens still pay ground rent, and it’s time to get rid of it. Ground rent makes it harder to get a mortgage on a property, makes it more difficult to take over and rehab vacant properties, and creates obstacles to urban development.

City Council Quote of the Week

“I wanted to call attention to the showers just installed out in front of City Hall. We might as well just throw in some bubble bath, because that’s what they’re going to be used for.” —Councilman Nicholas D’Adamo Jr. (D-2nd District), expressing his concern that the newly installed fountains on War Memorial Plaza will be used by homeless people for bathing.

City Council Fact of the Week

The City Council produces two types of legislation: ordinances and resolutions. Ordinances become laws if passed, while resolutions have no legal force or effect. Rather, they are council-approved conclusions, requests, or pronouncements—in some cases they may give the city authorization to create a task force. These distinctions are sometimes muddled in media reports of City Council proceedings.

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