Special tax district barely alive Mayor opposes citywide bill BALTIMORE CITY

April 09, 1993|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Staff Writer

Attention, residents of Bolton Hill and South Charles Village: The special taxing district you wanted, to pay for better private security and sanitation, is in deep trouble in the legislature.

But there is hope, albeit slim. Another measure, a citywide bill that would allow such special districts to supplement municipal services, is still alive -- for the time being.

Although the House approved the South Charles Village legislation two weeks ago, the Senate has not considered it. And the Bolton Hill measure has yet to receive even a committee hearing in either chamber.

However, the citywide version, which passed the Senate last month, is headed for a House Ways and Means Committee vote today.

"The only one that's viable is that," said Sen. Julian L. Lapides, D-Baltimore, who sponsored all three measures.

Mr. Lapides said that residents from throughout the city expressed so much interest in the two neighborhood measures that he introduced the citywide bill.

Downtown property owners already have a special taxing district, which started last month with the hiring of 63 public safety and sanitation workers.

The citywide legislation would allow the mayor and City Council to establish the special districts and add an extra tax on residential and commercial properties to pay for the additional services.

Though Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke supported the South Charles Village bill -- largely because it was a three-year pilot program -- he opposes the citywide measure.

Mr. Schmoke is afraid it would "Balkanize" the city, by widening the gap between affluent and low-income sections, said Henry Bogdan, the city's lobbyist in Annapolis.

That opinion likely will influence the 27-member city delegation, which will vote on the measure before the House Ways and Means Committee acts.

Should city lawmakers reject the measure, it probably would not go before the committee.

"I think if the mayor doesn't want it, he could persuade a lot of people," said Del. Frank D. Boston, Jr., D-Baltimore, chairman of the city delegation, who said he is inclined to oppose the bill.

"It would be the haves versus the have-nots."

But Mr. Lapides is not ready to take no for an answer.

The Baltimore senator said he is prepared to attach his taxing-district legislation to a bill the city administration wants. That measure, which would authorize the city to create development districts, has passed the House and is headed to the Senate.

6* "It's not over yet," Mr. Lapides said.

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