City Council Passes Bill To Make Contractors Create Local Hiring Plans, Considers Solar Panel Tax Credit

Baltimore City Council members tabled a bill creating a property tax credit for solar energy devices and passed a bill requiring city contractors to prepare local hiring plans for projects over $ 5 million during a session Monday evening.

Councilor John Bullock introduced the solar energy bill, which he said will “kill a few birds with one stone”.

“We look at it from an ecological point of view, to encourage people to install things like solar panels, but also to get relief on their property taxes,” said the democrat. “Honestly, it also puts us in better competition with our surrounding Baltimore County, which has a similar law.”

The credit would be either 50% of the cost of installing eligible solar or geothermal equipment, or $ 5,000 for solar or geothermal equipment that operates heating systems, or $ 1,500 for equipment that operates hot water supply systems, whichever is cheaper. The loan amount may not exceed the property tax on an apartment.

Council President Nick Mosby referred the bill to the Ways and Means Committee.

Legislators unanimously passed a bill requiring city contractors bidding for projects costing $ 5 million or more to include local hiring plans in their applications. The law, spearheaded by Councilor Robert Stokes, requires Treasury officials to weight the employment plan with 10% of the score of an offer.

“Millions of dollars come through the appraisal committee and become contracts every year,” said Council President Mosby. “Our people should come first to have access to some of these jobs.”

Successful bidders will be required to re-submit a final employment plan to the Treasury Department that anticipates the total number of hours a project will require and how many of those hours will be performed by city dwellers and a strategy for city dwellers.

The All-Democratic Council passed a number of resolutions, including one calling on Governor Larry Hogan to extend the eviction moratorium. The Republican let Maryland’s evictions expire on Sunday, along with the state of emergency associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Another resolution by City Councilor Zeke Cohen called on Congress to pass the Anti-Digital Redlining Act, which would allow the federal communications committee to investigate Internet service providers on allegations of discrimination against low-income communities.

The council approved Mayor Brandon Scott’s nominees to the Local Control Advisory Board. City voters will decide whether Baltimore police should move from state control to the city as early as 2022; The board will make recommendations to Scott and other lawmakers on the possible change.

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