Call it a fluke. Call it a miracle.
The city of Annapolis is calling it a $732,000 surplus, one of the largest in the city's history.
"It is unusual to have one of this size," said Alderman John R. Hammond, R-Ward 1 and chairman of the Finance Committee. "I don't know if this [surplus] is the largest we've ever had. But this is unusual."
While other jurisdictions are fighting to balance their budgets with less and less help from the state and federal governments, Annapolis finds itself in the unlikely position of having ended fiscal year 1992 on June 30 with a substantial surplus.
"It was a combination of factors," Mr. Hammond said. "The Mayor [Alfred A. Hopkins] initiated a number of cost-saving measures, including a hiring freeze.
"There were windfall situations, such as we had a large property tax payment come to us unanticipated. And, there were many things we did not buy and many things we did not do," he added.
Mayor Hopkins was out of the country and unavailable for comment.
The city's budget for fiscal year 1993 is $37.2 million. Mr. Hammond said it should use its surplus wisely because he expects the state to make additional cuts in its aid to local jurisdictions.
"We try to have an ongoing surplus to draw upon for a rainy day," Mr. Hammond said. "Given the size of the budget in the next fiscal year, I don't think it would be unreasonable to hope to reduce the tax rate.
"I hope that [the surplus] will not be used for new services. Any new program would require additional funding over several years. For all likelihood, this is probably a one-time thing," he added.