Cumberland Times-News

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April 23, 2013

City officials agree to repeal concealed weapons ordinance

Process regulated by state law

CUMBERLAND — The Cumberland mayor and City Council are moving to repeal an ordinance against carrying concealed weapons since the state of Maryland already has laws that govern the practice.

“The state code fully regulates the area of carrying concealed weapons,” said Michael Cohen, city attorney, at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the city council.

According to Marland law, any person who wishes to carry a weapon concealed must first apply for a permit with the secretary of state police.

Without applying and being subjected to the state’s restrictions, guidelines and background verifications, it is not permissable to carry a concealed weapon under Maryland law.

“I had received a correspondence from an entity that was concerned about gun rights relative to certain provisions in the city code,” said Cohen.

Cohen said the ordinance was duplicative and in conflict with state law.

“State law fully covers the area and there is no need for us to make things more confusing by having that provision in the code,” said Cohen.

The council voted to approve the repeal of the ordinance on a first reading and to approve its reading at two additional meetings to allow for public input before it is officially repealed.

In other news from the meeting, the council approved a first reading of an ordinance that will increase the scope of tax assessment freezes for eligible properties within the Canal Place Preservation District and other historic or heritage districts.

One method the city has to encourage investing in property is to allow the freezing or locking-in of tax assessment values for a period of time for those who are wanting to make improvements above and beyond the assessed value, according to officials.

“It freezes the assessment at the pre-development value so they don’t get penalized by investing (additional money) into the building,” said Jeff Rhodes, city administrator.

This tax incentive has been done for years in regard to city real property assessments. The ordinance will increase the scope of the practice by extending it to the tax values used for the special tax levied by the Downtown Development Commission.

The DDC tax is to help maintain the downtown district.

“All we are doing now is applying that same (assessment freeze) methodology to the DDC tax,” said Rhodes.

The city also disclosed in the meeting the requests they are receiving from various entities to secure block grant funding.

The Department of Housing and Community Development has submitted a request for $611,450.00

A request for $55,750.00 is being considered for the Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission.

The city also wants to secure $100,000 to do upgrades at the old City Hall/HRDC building at 19 Frederick Street to do improvements. The city owns the building and hopes to either rent or sell the structure.

The Cumberland Neighborhood Housing Service, who assists first-time home owners in obtaining a home, is requesting $16,800 in funding.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com

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