BALTIMORE — Schmoke withdraws bid to tap into pension fund
Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke has withdrawn his request to tap into the city's $1.5 billion pension fund to pay some of the operating costs of a city agency.
Last month, the mayor told Ernest J. Glinka, the system's executive director, that he received many calls from city workers concerned about using pension money to cover the Civil Service Commission's cost of providing information about health-care benefits to retirees. That cost was estimated at $102,318.
Jesse E. Hoskins, the city's personnel director, said yesterday that the Schmoke administration has found another way to fund the program. He said the city's 15,000 retirees will pay a $1 monthly administrative service fee to help cover costs being born by the city.
Mr. Glinka said the pension board most likely will withdraw its request to have the city solicitor review the legality of the original request.
State sweetens the pot for Winners Take All
Maryland Lottery officials will sweeten the pot for four weeks in the weekly Winners Take All drawing in an effort to spur sales, officials said yesterday.
The agency will guarantee a $500,000 jackpot for the drawings held next Tuesday through Feb. 12, said Carroll H. Hynson Jr., lottery spokesman. The extra payout will come from the lottery's fund of prize money unclaimed by past winners.
The Tuesday game, aimed at players who want "instant cash," normally has jackpots of $110,000 to $200,000 before taxes, he said.
The four weeks of bigger Tuesday jackpots come in the wake of a new Wednesday drawing in the Lotto game.
The Tuesday and Wednesday games are projected to add a combined $31.1 million to lottery sales during the fiscal year that ends June 30. Winners Take All, launched last May, has racked up sales of $14.1 million so far in fiscal 1991, and it is on track to reach the projected annual total of $24.3 million, officials said.
Parks budget seeks funds toward western acreage
Howard County's recreation and parks director said yesterday that he will ask for money in next year's budget to start buying land in the western part of the county for a 400-acre regional park.
"It might be the last large, contiguous parcel of parkland the county will acquire," said Jeffrey A. Bourne, who has included $3 million for the project in the parks budget proposal he is submitting to Executive Charles I. Ecker. Mr. Bourne said the land purchases would cost about $6 million altogether.
The regional park would be located "in the lovely valley area of the Cattail and Cabin branch creeks," between the rural communities of Lisbon and Florence in the vicinity of Route 94, he said.
Mr. Bourne said his budget also contains a request for $1.1 million to buy the Kiwanis Park, 24 acres of ball fields and a community building off Route 144 near U.S. 40.
Report due on use of old Pikes Theater
The Baltimore County Planning Board is expected to hear a report today recommending that the old Pikes Theater on Reisterstown Road be converted into a cultural arts center for live music and theatrical productions.
The theater was slated to be converted into a post office, but county officials put that proposal on hold after community leaders argued that it would mean increased traffic for surrounding businesses and would conflict with the county Master Plan.
The planning board, which must rule on the issue, will review a county economic development report today that says the property would best benefit the community as an arts center with musical performances and live stage productions, said Councilman Melvin G. Mintz, D-2nd, whose district includes Pikesville.
FOR THE RECORD
Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden has scheduled his next open-door session for 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday in Room 106 of the County Office Building in Towson.