Council approves most of mayor's capital budget ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY

April 28, 1993|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff Writer

Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins shook his head ruefully last night as the City Council wound up two nights of wrangling over a handful of construction projects and approved his $11 million capital budget.

The mayor said he couldn't recall such a lengthy discussion over road projects during his three years as mayor or his 24 years on the council.

For two nights in a row, council members got bogged down in exhaustive arguments over setting aside money to install a traffic light and repair some roads.

The council finally approved the budget at 9 o'clock last night after reaching compromises on several key issues.

But the council did not discuss a larger issue that hung over the debate -- whether the city wants to expand its landfill to the tune of an estimated $24 million.

An Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge cleared the way Monday for expansion of the landfill by overturning a decision by the county administrative board that had blocked the project.

Judge Eugene M. Lerner ruled that the county erred when it said that Annapolis failed to meet the county's strict requirements for a sanitary landfill permit.

"We're going to look into it and come back with a recommendation in a month," City Administrator Michael Mallinoff said last night.

Mr. Mallinoff cited two possible stumbling blocks to the project that the city has strongly supported for years.

One is that new standards would hold the city liable for any leakage from the landfill for as long as 30 years.

The other is that the city already faces a $2 million cleanup of contamination at its old landfill.

The council negotiated several minor changes in the capital budget but approved most of the mayor's recommended projects for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Among the changes were $100,000 for installing a traffic light at Forest and Newtowne drives. Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Democrat whose 5th Ward includes the area, said that it's an extremely dangerous intersection.

Alderman John Hammond, a Ward 1 Republican, agreed. "I don't think I could, with good conscience, stomach another traffic accident at that intersection," he said.

In future years, the council agreed, the city must build a bypass from the Newtowne 20 public housing community and the Greenbriar neighborhood to South Cherry Grove Road. It's expected to cost some $745,000.

Money for the traffic light will be set aside from municipal bonds ++ floated by the city each year for construction work. An earlier proposal had called for taking the money from a fund to improve the old Wiley H. Bates High School, but that was strongly opposed by several aldermen. The community wants to preserve the school, which was once the county's only high school for blacks.

Also, Mr. Mallinoff promised to set aside money in the city's operating budget to build an access ramp for the handicapped at the site of the proposed memorial statue to the late Alex Haley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Roots."

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