Annapolis has armed itself with $340,000 to continue a last-ditch fight to expand the city landfill.
The City Council adopted a $3.5 million capital budget for the upcoming fiscal year that includes money for new engineering plans to enlarge the 70-acre dump off Defense Highway. Annapolis also is seeking an extension of its landfill permit, which expires at the end of June.
Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins added a second big-ticket item to the budget approved Monday night -- a $600,000 radio system that will allow city police officers to communicate directly with county officers. City police now have to call a dispatcher to relay messages to their county counterparts.
In earlier budget reviews, the council's Finance Committee slashed several expensive projects, including $2 million for centralizing administrative offices. The Hopkins administration had suggested selling City Hall to the YWCA and moving government offices into a five-story building owned by Annapolis Federal Savings Bank on Main Street.
This year's capital budget does not require floating any bonds, said Central Services Director Emory Harrison.
Joseph Baker, chief engineer for the city, said he would immediately begin preparing a new set of site designs to expand the landfill. The city attempted to enlarge the dump in 1989, but county officials rejected that request.
In spring 1990, the county Board of Appeals denied the expansion, and Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, refused to introduce legislation to change the zoning code. Lamb, who spearheaded the opposition based on environmental concerns, has not been available for comment for two weeks.
County officials want the city to haul its trash to the main landfill in Millersville. But the countydump has come under fire recently for violations of its license and has been been threatened with closing by the state Department of the Environment.
The mayor emphasized again Monday night that he's tried repeatedly to persuade county officials to change their minds about reopening the Defense Highway facility. Hopkins has been meeting privately with County Executive Robert R. Neall to press for the expansion. Neall spokeswoman Louise Hayman said yesterday that the county was open to "revisiting the issue."
In other business Monday night,the council discussed concerns raised by an auditing company that submitted the lowest bid for the city's annual audit but lost to the 11-year incumbent. C.W. Amos & Co. offered to do the audit for $24,750,while current auditor Peat Marwick bid $28,500.
Cost counted for only a third of the bid-selection process, said Finance Director William S. Tyler. The department gave greater weight to technical aspects, including experience and the amount of time allocated for the work,he said.