Baltimore board votes to lay off 19 in rat control health jobs in jeopardy Cuts are forced by loss of state grant funds

January 31, 1991|By Martin C. Evans

The Board of Estimates voted yesterday to lay off 19 rat-eradication workers, but it spared 26 others the city of Baltimore had planned to fire today.

The city was forced to make the cuts after the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene eliminated $1,046,875 in grant money the city had used for rat control.

Twenty-six workers were spared because the city received permission to divert money from other state-funded programs in its health department to make up for the shortfall in the rat-eradication program.

But by sparing the rat-eradication workers, who work for the Department of Housing and Community Development under a health department grant, the city must eliminate 22 jobs in the health department.

"We don't want Baltimore to become Hamlin," said Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

A proposal to eliminate dozens of rat-eradication workers earlier this month provoked a storm of opposition from community groups and City Council members, who argued that the program was already understaffed and that further cuts would cause a rodent population explosion.

The city also must cut health department contracts with several non-profit organizations that provide services to low-income clients.

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