County Executive Pittman Presents First State of the County Address
Annapolis, MD (December 11, 2019) County Executive Steuart Pittman delivered his first State of the County speech this evening in County Council chambers, which was filled with community leaders, county elected officials, county agency directors and members of the public. Mr. Pittman used the address to highlight key accomplishments of his first year in office and to outline future initiatives and goals for the coming years.
The address focused on two key themes: restoring trust in government and providing opportunity for all residents.
“I believe that our primary obligation as county government is to protect what we have been given, and to ensure that it is available for all,” said County Executive Pittman.
In the address, Mr. Pittman touted the increased public engagement he has seen with frequent town hall meetings across the county on a variety of topics. He also cited his administration’s support of several county bills and charter amendments to increase transparency and accountability for county government, along with the upcoming launch of an open data portal.
County Executive Pittman highlighted recent increases in staffing for public safety, classroom teachers and behavioral health positions, made possible by the investments in the current county budget, which was passed in June.
Building on the accountability theme, Mr. Pittman announced his intention to include funding for body-worn cameras for police officers in the upcoming fiscal year 2021 budget.
“I have thought long and hard about the stress these officers are under, and also about how to build the community trust that is so essential to effective policing,” said Mr. Pittman. “My conclusion is that transparency is the answer.”
County Executive Pittman announced the launch next year of a new digital tracking system for permits, called the Land Use Navigator, or LUN for short. He also unveiled plans to reduce the dependence on a modification process that allows the county’s Planning and Zoning Officer to unilaterally facilitate development projects that do not conform to county code.
“To reduce the temptation to rely on these kinds of modifications in the future, my administration and the county council must do what our neighboring jurisdictions have done, and update our land use and zoning code as we create our General Development Plan,” said Mr. Pittman.
County Executive Pittman described the new General Development Plan process, which brings community-driven planning back to the county with the creation of nine regional plan areas, each of which will have its own citizen advisory committee. The draft General Development Plan will go through a public review period in May and June of 2020, with legislation expected to be introduced to the County Council in September.
With increased attention on many public health issues, Mr. Pittman outlined his strategy to focus on social determinants of health. He committed his administration to providing assessments of the public health impacts of legislation introduced to the County Council, similar to fiscal notes.
County Executive Pittman also announced his plans to introduce legislation next year to require developers to build a percentage of new construction as affordable units. The legislation will be based on a bill introduced in 2004 by Senator Pam Beidle, who was a County Councilmember at that time.
The County Executive concluded his speech with a commitment to continue efforts to promote diversity and inclusion and address hate-bias incidents across the county. And he pledged to update the county slogan from “The Best Place” to “The Best Place For All.”
“Lack of civility and respect, particularly when it comes in the form of racism, bigotry, and hate, is a disease that we must eradicate,” said County Executive Pittman.
Text of the address as prepared is available on the county website at https://www.aacounty.org/departments/county-executive/forms-and-publications/state-of-county-final-2019.pdf and video will be available at https://m.youtube.com/user/AACTVWIR/videos.