WESTMINSTER — A City Council committee isn't buying into Mayor W. Benjamin Brown's"Buy American" proposal.
And the committee isn't voting for Brown's proposal for a second polling place in the city.
In Monday's meeting, the Finance Committee, chaired by CouncilmanStephen R. Chapin, decided to delete Brown's "Buy American" amendment to the proposed rules and regulations for the city's procurement and contracts ordinance, adopted by the council a few months ago.
Brown's proposal would require the city to select goods and services from regional vendors and those "whose place of business and place of manufacture are physically located in the State of Maryland, the United States of America."
The mayor introduced the proposal at the council's Feb. 10 meeting. It was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration.
During discussion Monday, staff members said the proposal could "tie your hands a bit" in ways unknown at this time and make it more difficult to justify purchasing goods outside the city.
Finance Director Stephen V. Dutterer said the staff tries to buy goods and services locally when possible. Area vendors are preferred because service is usually quicker and more accessible.
"I don't see where this helps the process -- except for propaganda," said Council President William F. Haifley. "I can't see the value in it."
In the matter of the polling place, the committee is expected to issue amemo to the council that neither recommends nor rejects the mayor's proposal for a second polling place in the city's west end, west of Route 31.
Instead, the memo, to be drafted by Chapin, will present the council with data the committee has collected in researching the issue. The council can make its decision, if any, from that data, he said.
City Clerk John Dudderar told the committee that the cost ofsetting up a second polling place would be $2,500. That cost includes paper and postage to notify voters of the change, the hiring of additional election judges and supervisors, and the leasing of additional polling machines from a Baltimore firm.
The plan met resistance from Haifley, who said that if the council wanted to add another polling place for one-third of the city's voters, it should have two places for the other two-thirds.
Providing an additional polling placefor the city's growing roster of voters has been on the mayor's agenda for some time. The previous council rejected the plan, but the current board sent the proposal to the Finance Committee for further consideration.
"We have not determined whether there are advantages .. . to adding more polling places," Chapin said.