Council Hearing Tonight On City Budget

1992 Spending Plan Retains Current Tax Rate But Cuts Some Services

June 03, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

The Annapolis City Council will have a public hearing tonight on Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins' proposed $36.8 million fiscal 1992 budget.

Hopkins' spending plan is up 3.4 percent from this year's $35.6 million budget.

The tax rate -- $1.80 per $100 of assessed value -- would remain the same under the proposal. Some permit and license fees and other charges would increase under the plan, however.

The plan includes $100,000 for a twice-monthly citywide curbside recycling program, $145,000 for five new police officers and $86,000 for five police communications officers. Narcotics, K-9 and traffic patrol would get more officers.

The Community Oriented Police Squad, a group of officers who patrol the city's troubled neighborhoods, would increase from six to eight officers. The squad will be based at a new substation in theHarbour House public housing development, along with three other officers funded by the Annapolis Housing Authority. The substation opens today.

With the exception of the Police Department, most of the other departments would stay at the same levels or face cutbacks. The transportation department's "Shopper Dropper" trolley would be halted,but the council's finance committee recommended continuing bus service to West Annapolis with the Naval Academy stadium-downtown shuttle.

The department may also cut its Saturday bus service in half, because of decreased state aid.

The budget contains no cost-of-livingincreases for city employees, but employees would receive merit and longevity increases. Employees would pay about $235 more for group medical insurance. City and union officials are working on ways to cut the increase in insurance costs, such as offering employees membership in a cheaper health maintenance organization.

Officials say Annapolis' financial troubles have been exacerbated by the city's DefenseHighway landfill, which will close next year. The landfill has provided $2 million a year in commercial tipping fees to the city. The county has rejected the city's plans to expand the landfill, and the twosides are negotiating a solution.

The council's finance committeemade few changes to Hopkins' plan during its review of the budget. Instead, the committee recommended overhauling the budget process in time for the following budget.

The committee asked the city administration to set long- and short-term goals for the council to review before the budget is developed. Members also recommended that the administration present the committee with quarterly reports, so members can monitor the city's progress in meeting the goals.

The hearing will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers in City Hall on Duke of Gloucester Street.

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