Faced with a plethora of legislation, the County Council will begin its public hearing tomorrow night an hour earlier than usual. It has also set aside Tuesday night for additional comment, if necessary.
The council is starting early, council vice chairwoman Shane Pendergrass said, because of the large number of bills the council will be considering. "We always end up doubling up in July," she said. The council does not meet in August.
"We scrunch up the schedule a little bit" by holding legislative sessions at the beginning and end of July, and by considering as much legislation as possible before September, Ms. Pendergrass said.
Ms. Pendergrass, D-1st, will chair tomorrow night's 7 p.m. meeting. "We may have made the wrong decision and be finished by 10 p.m.," she said, "but I doubt it. We seldom finish early."
If it appears the council can hear everyone by midnight, the council will finish tomorrow, she said. If there is still a large number of people waiting to be heard, the hearing will be continued Tuesday night beginning at 8 p.m. The first 13 items on the agenda are resolutions confirming the appointment of administration nominees to various boards and commissions.
Although the administration sometimes has trouble winning approval for a nominee, this does not appear to be the case this time.
An earlier controversy about the confirmation of three Human Rights Commission nominees now appears resolved. The difficulty began when the council refused last month to consider Human Rights Commission nominees Verna Lawes and Veronica Mariani because County Executive Charles I. Ecker had not appointed gay rights activist Robert Healy to the commission.
Mr. Ecker said he had no objection to appointing a gay person to the commission, but he wanted the person to be his nominee and not the council's. Mr. Ecker then nominated gay rights advocate Jan Nyquist to the commission.
The council now appears ready to confirm Ms. Lawes, Ms. Mariani and Ms. Nyquist at its legislative session July 27.
After hearing testimony about nominees, the council will consider 15 bills and resolutions dealing with various financial matters.
Included among those are resolutions approving the foreclosure purchase of Chase Brae Apartments and the refinancing of Industrial Revenue Bonds for the Howard Hills Townhouse project and the Autumn Woods Apartment project.
Nineteen of the 30 other bills the council will consider tomorrow night deal with police salaries, benefits, and working conditions.
Among the remaining bills not devoted to police policy is one that would amend the county human rights law to prohibit housing discrimination based on the source of a person's income. The law is designed to help renters with federally assisted subsidies find local housing.
Three bills deal with the construction industry. One would update plumbing regulations; a second would allow the county to accept, under certain circumstances, roads from developers before sidewalks, storm water management, and landscaping are provided; and a third would delete certain charges paid by developers as a condition of extending 3-year agreements with the county.
The council will also consider a bill limiting the length of oral arguments before the Board of Appeals and amending the board's rules of procedure to allow an administrative agency more time to file a reply.
The council will vote on the legislation July 27, having canceled its August meetings so that members may take vacations.