Market House Tenant – First to Open

The  Amsterdam Falafelshop is the first of six tenants to open at the Market House, bringing a European flair with top-it-yourself falafels and Dutch style fries to the City.

The Falafelshop opened Thursday, June 20, during a soft “By Invitation Only” launch. However, a public opening is expected Monday, June 24.

“Amsterdam Falafelshop ignites enthusiasm from our employees and our patrons,” owner of the Annapolis Amsterdam Falafelshop Amrish Vyas said.  “I think everyone who comes in will feel the excitement, while they experience the freshness of our food and the uplifting energy of our shop.”

“The best part about the experience is that customers can see everything being made in front of them as its being cooked,” Amsterdam Falafelshop President and CEO Arianne Bennett said.  “There is no mystery when it comes to trying something new at Amsterdam Falafelshop. We encourage our customers to ask questions and enjoy the experience; the end result is they get a terrific meal and an education at the same time.”

At Amsterdam Falafelshop, the falafel is their passion. They are focused on sharing this tasty street-food with America so everyone can appreciate the warm, crunchy deliciousness of the falafel sandwich in a hip, European environment.

“The Market House is part of the authentic Annapolis experience,” Mayor Cohen said.  “More than just a collection of vendors, it is a gathering spot where the different threads of our community come together.  Annapolitans are ready to turn the page, and I am thrilled that today we begin a new chapter for the Market House.

“I commend our City staff and the team at Amsterdam Falafelshop for working tirelessly to meet my target of re-opening the Market House before summer.  As badly as we have all wanted to see the Market House opened, our team has been diligent to make sure that we do it right.  I am confident that our community will embrace the new mix of vendors, and that the Market House will once again take its rightful place as the pride of Annapolis.”

Before Mayor Cohen left to attend  a trade visit to Ireland, he stopped by and left Amrish a $10 bill.   Mayor Cohen asked if he could purchase a falafel, even though he was out of the country on June 20. Amrish told the mayor that he would ring him up on the register as the first falafel purchased in Annapolis and hang the receipt on our wall.

“ We are pleased the time has finally come to open this market and we hope that after an extended period of waiting, this will be the final rendition of a successful market,” Acting Mayor Sheila Finlayson said.

Most of the Amsterdam Falafelshop employees are Annapolitans and most live a bicycle ride away from the Market House.

The Amsterdam Falafelshop hours of operation are:

  • Monday through Thursday – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday – 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
  • Sunday – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, go to www.falafelshop.com

The following tenants are expected to open during the next several weeks:

  • Hard Bean Café, which includes Midship Fresh Bar and Carl’s Corned Beef & Delicatessen
  • Firenze’s Gelataria & Coffee
  • Annapolis Organic Market
  • Good Life Smoothie Bar
  • Yellowfin Seafood & Oyster Bar
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Annapolis City Council Adopts FY 2014 Operating and Capital Budget

On Monday, June 10, the Annapolis City Council adopted the $ 95.6 million operating budget and the $10 million capital budget for FY 2014. As adopted, the FY14 operating budget projects revenues of $99 million, yielding a surplus of $3.4 million across all funds. 

 “This evening the City Council voted to continue building on the progress we have made over the past three and a half years,” Mayor Cohen said.  “The difficult budget decisions we made in prior years have put us in a position where we can now strengthen our delivery of core services to our citizens.  The approved FY14 budget will allow for a sorely needed investment in road resurfacing and sidewalk repairs, along with investments in City Dock bulkhead repair and flood mitigation, Hillman Garage renovations, real-time signage directing visitors to available parking options, and engineering to replace the aged Truxtun Park pool.

 “The theme of this budget is responsible restraint.  Responsible, because we are maintaining our assets while continuing to strengthen the City’s financial position by building our fund balances and reducing our long-term liabilities.  Restraint, because the budget holds the line on water and sewer rates and solid waste fees, and maintains flat property tax revenues for the second straight year.

 “I thank the members of the City Council and our professional management team for their due diligence and thoughtful, collaborative approach throughout this process.”

Key Goals of the budget include:

  • Achieving service levels that citizens expect and deserve
  • Restoring and refocusing on core services, such as roads and sidewalks
  • Seeking to remain responsible and restrained

The budget also:

  • Maintains constant yield. The budget increases the property tax rate by 1.04 cents, from 64.0 cents to 65.04 cents
  • Continues to fund long-term liabilities, including police and fire pensions at $1.5 million and retiree health benefits at $800,000
  • Restores the fund balance by earmarking $3.4 million

 The capital projects include $7.5 million for City Dock infrastructure work, $765,000 for design and engineering for the Hillman Garage, $250,000 for construction of new sidewalks in areas where they are lacking, $220,000 for implementation of a Wayfinding Signage Master Plan, and $150,000 for engineering the long-overdue replacement of the Truxtun Park swimming pool..

 

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City Waits on Bond Rating Report

During the week of April 8, the finance director, city manager and I traveled to New York to meet with the three major credit agencies: Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch. This is the third time this administration has visited the credit rating agencies, focused on rebuilding the City’s finances.

All three of us felt the meetings were quite positive.   It is hard to predict the final ratings, but the feedback at the meetings was very encouraging.

For those who are not familiar with how the credit agencies functions, below is a brief overview as reported by Rebecca Marston, reporter for Business BBC News:

Credit-rating agencies are Private-sector firms that assign credit ratings for issuers of debt. A credit rating takes into account the debt issuer’s ability to pay back its loan. That in turn affects the interest rate applied to the security, for example a bond, being issued. A credit downgrade can make it more expensive for a government to borrow money, whereas an upgrade can make it less expensive.

I believe the rating agencies recognize and value the approach we have been taking. We have recovered from the City’s fiscal crisis by addressing our fiscal challenges head-on. By reducing expenses and increasing revenues we have achieved three consecutive balanced budgets. By restoring more than $22 million into our fund balances, we have fully repaid all of our short-term lines of credit and tax anticipation notes. And even while addressing our immediate budgetary needs, we have still managed to allocate millions of new dollars towards our long-term liabilities. City Manager Mike Mallinoff and Finance Director Bruce Miller have guided us well in our policy decisions, overhauled the City’s internal processes and controls, brought transparency to our finances, and played a critical role in getting our fiscal house in order.

Annapolis has a stable outlook from all three major rating agencies, with the current rating for its long-term debt and restructuring plan:
• Moody’s Investors Service Aa3
• Standard & Poor’s AA
• Fitch Ratings AA+

The City is expeting the rating report from all three agencies in May.

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Video Update March 2013

The mayor shares his State of the City address and the highlights of his FY 2014 Operating and Capital budgets. He also comments on the new Hillman Garage Study and explains how easy it is to enjoy the City by “Walking Annapolis.”

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