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Brewers Hill Neighbors Meeting - Recap November 2021

The meeting was called to order at 7:02PM. There were 34 participants in attendance.


MEMBERSHIP STATS

  • 96 active members with 2 new members joining in October and 1 new member so far in November!

  • A total of 40 new members have joined in 2021

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • The next dumpster day will be Saturday, December 4 around the corner of Dillion and Grundy Streets. Expected time of arrival is 9AM but an announcement will be posted when it arrives. The dumpster will be onsite for 4 hours or until filled.

  • The annual Graceland Park Elementary. Adopt-A-Family program will begin in November. BHN adopts 3 families from Graceland Park and asks neighbors to purchase the gifts on each of the kid's Christmas list. There will be an Amazon wish list. You can also make a monetary donation to BHN who will use the funds to purchase gifts or grocery gift cards for the families. This year the plan is to have a wrapping event again where neighbors volunteer to help wrap all the Christmas gifts. It is always a great event showing the generosity of our great neighbors!

  • The Christmas Holiday House Decorating contest is scheduled for Saturday, December 18. Mario Maney is working to get a permit for the 600 block of Grundy Street for street access for the festivities. The 600 block of Grundy is the starting and ending point for the tour. An event will be created and posted on Facebook in the coming weeks with all the details.

  • The Southeastern Police Department will hold a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway on November 22 at 11 AM (rain date is November 23). Last year, Brewers Hill was a major supporter with neighborhood businesses and BHN suppling the majority of turkeys. This year, Brewers Hill Neighbors and neighborhood businesses will be donating all the turkeys for the giveaway. Neighbors who are available and interested are encouraged to join the SEPD to help with the distribution.

  • The next meeting will be next year on January 11, 2022.

Information was provided in the Zoom chat from various liaisons from City Officers including the Mayor's office, the Council President's office, DPW, and the Liquor Board. These contacts are listed on the BHN website on the Resources page under City Contacts.


VOTING FOR OPEN SEATS ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The voting was conducted on Zoom using the balloting/polling option. The new elected officers were:

  • Vice President - Phil a'Becket

  • Secretary - Annie Bonner

  • At Large Members - Mike Hardee, Kate McCarthy, and Donna Beitler

The results were as follows:

  • Vice President: Andy Flacks (45%) and Phil a'Becket (55%)

  • Secretary - Allison Magagnosc (41%) and Annie Bonner (59%)

  • At Large Members - Mike Hardee (73%), Patrick Coughlin (64%), Kate McCarthy (82%), and Donna Beitler (77%)

Each of the new board member will begin their term on January 1, 2022. The VP and Secretary will serve for 2 years. Each At-Large Member will serve for 1 year. As stated in the bylaws, no person can serve in the same role for two consecutive years. BHN congratulates the newly elected board members.


BHN also would like to thank each neighbor who nominated themselves or accepted a nomination to serve on the board. Your interest and excitement in being more involved and wanting to get to know each other is what makes Brewers Hill a strong neighborhood. If you did not get elected, there are plenty of opportunities to serve on committees or volunteering for other events and projects. The next election will be November 2022 and nominations will be open for President, Treasurer, and 3 At-Large Members. Start your exploratory committee now!


GUEST SPEAKERS


Jason Mitchell, Director, Baltimore City Department of Public Works

Jason congratulated those who were nominated and elected in the board elections and mentioned it was great to see involvement and public engagement in the community. Director Mitchell spoke about the following topics:

Water Bill Issues

The water billing system and meters are not broken. They do work. What is broken is the communication and processes. That has been the most challenging thing since he has arrived. One of things he has been tasked to do is to stabilize the water bills – meaning that everyone gets a correct water bill at least 99.8% of the time. Also, he wants the department to provide better customer service. There are 15 billing cycles, and he meets with the water billing team each morning for 45 minutes M-F. 98% of bills are accurate but a few are not and those are the ones they need to stabilize. He did admit that there are some meters that are broken that need to be fixed and are a priority. Fixing these meters will increase revenue and increasing revenue will help keep rates stable. He has seen a lot of emails from frustrated customers and there is a lack of good response to incoming calls and emails. He believes ¾ of matters can be resolved with great, swift customer service. He is working to get incoming calls answered in 45 seconds and a 1 day response to emails. He mentioned that some haven’t been responded to in months. The director also wants to be proactive to be engaging with customers. The City has invested in AMI billing system which is best in the country. DPW can monitor usage and see when there has been spike. He believes using this data and engaging with customers to be aware of spikes or another abnormalities are key to identifying potential problems at the home before it becomes a problem. Trash and Recycling Improvements DPW is rolling out recycling carts now. DPW sees residents utilizing it correctly but others are using it as trash. They are engaging in an education campaign that should have been done before, but they are addressing it now to close the gap. They will likely look at re-routing truck routes for recycling once everyone has a cart delivered. DPW will start implementing routing software for trash collection routes. It has been about a 15 months process to setup and implement. Once all recycling carts are delivered, they will implement the routing software for the recycling routes as well. The reason for the wait on the recycling routes is the likelihood of new routes once all recycling carts have been delivered. The vendor for the routing software is Rubico. Bulk Trash Bulk trash resumed about a month ago. Every Saturday bulk trash is picked up and about 200 pickups are completed. The schedule for current bulk trash pickup is 3 to 4 months out. Effective the 1st weekend of December, two more crews will be added to bulk trash pickup to include M-F allowing for an estimated 400 pickups in addition to the 200 pickups from Saturday. Street Sweeping Program This program was limited during the pandemic. Right now just certain major gateways are included in the program. The model for street sweeping is still on the old model of using paper. That too needs to upgrade to use routing software. In addition, there is a need for new hires as well. Illegal Dumping

The director spoke about his overall Strategic Plan. The plan will include details on how things are being accomplish not just goals. As part of the director's Strategic Plan, enforcement for illegal dumping will be addressed,. DPW has Environmental Police within the department, and he is looking to them to do more enforcement on dumping. Question: Is there still an alley street sweeping program? Or will it be reinstated? The program was dismantled many years ago and it is not going to be brought back. There are crews that do alley cleaning and that can be requested by calling 311. Question: How can brown water issues be resolved related to new hookups from water mains at new construction?

Any brown water should be reported to 311. In addition, flushing the line should occur to help clear it up. If it does not flush clear in short amount amount of time, that needs to be reported again so that DPW is aware is case there is a larger issue. New construction handles the install of meters, and impact to other residences is not expected. If there is disruption with brown water, it should clear up with flushing the line.

Question: Is there an inspection for new construction meter hookups?

Inspections do occur. The director stated that they are reviewing the process and looking to make changes to the procedure on the new installation and the inspection of the same.



Dr. Kendra McDow, Chief Medical Officer, Baltimore City Department of Health Unfortunately, Dr. McDow had a family matter to attend to and was not able to join the meeting. She provided a slide deck of the information she was going to speak about including but not limited to COVID-19 booster shots and COVID-19 vaccinations for children. You can view the entire PDF below:

Brewers Hill Neighbors Townhall_11.09.21
.pdf
Download PDF • 425KB

iMentor

Unfortunately, the representative from iMentor had to cancel her attendance to the meeting. She provided the following information for residents who may be interested in participating in their mentoring program for Baltimore City high school students. We will look to have them return next year to provide more information in person. About iMentor

iMentor Baltimore matches first-generation, Baltimore City high school students with college-educated mentors who help them navigate the journey to and through college and other post-secondary career pathways. This upcoming fall, we will serve students at two city schools (Academy for College and Career Exploration, Baltimore Design School) and are looking for volunteers from a variety of career backgrounds and diverse social identities to mentor high school juniors. In order to support the success of the relationship, each pair is assigned a dedicated program manager and access to mentor workshops and resources.  

We ask mentors to: 

·        Commit to one high school student for a two- to four-year period, until your mentee has graduated and successfully transitioned into college and/or a training program.

·        Send at least one weekly online communication and attend one monthly, pair event. (All iMentor events are virtual until further notice.)

· Help their mentee identify their career interests, personal strengths and serve as a sounding board for post-secondary planning and decision-making.

Next Steps to Get an Early Start for 2022

Learn more about mentoring with us. To become a mentor, start your mentoring application and RSVP for an Orientation.  Visit www.imentor.org or email baltimore@imentor.org for more information. See attached flyer for more information.

Baltimore Recruitment Flyer
.pdf
Download PDF • 588KB


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