Budget increase of 2% sought Hopkins' proposal would not raise property rate tax

April 09, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins has proposed a $40.4 million budget for fiscal year 1997 -- a 2 percent increase over last year's budget that would not increase the property tax rate.

For the first time, the spending plan, contained in the mayor's State of the City report, combines the capital and operating budgets. In previous years, the City Council considered each budget separately.

The city is "currently in excellent financial condition," Mr. Hopkins says in his report.

If approved by the council, the budget will leave the property tax rate unchanged at $1.73 per $100 of assessed value. The tax bill on a $150,000 home would be $2,595.

"For three consecutive years, the [council's] Finance Committee has always reduced the property tax rate proposed by the mayor," said Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a 5th Ward Democrat and chairman of the committee. "We intend on looking at the mayor's budget to see if we can reduce it even further."

In the proposed budget, Mr. Hopkins seeks $61.3 million for investment in infrastructure and facilities over the next six years.

The revitalization of the Inner West Street corridor and surrounding neighborhoods such as Clay Street was deemed a top priority by the administration in an effort to "set the stage for renaissance of this area of the city."

As part of his capital plan, the mayor asks $640,000 for a vehicle replacement program and $64,000 for computer hardware to upgrade the city's computer and communications systems. He also seeks $26,000 for a street sweeper.

An item that might be of some concern for city residents is the mayor's proposal to increase the refuse collection fee by $50 per year, from $225 to $275, to offset the increasing cost of trash disposal at the county-owned Millersville Landfill.

But all in all, the budget is "pretty much status quo," said M. Kathleen Sulick, director of the Finance Department.

"Instead of looking at each budget in isolation, it will looked at as a total planning document and a policy document this year," Ms. Sulick said. "I hope [residents] will see it positively since we didn't raise the tax rate.

"It's a very positive budget," Ms. Sulick said. "It provides the same quality services in a cost-effective manner."

The Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on the capital budget in council chambers at 5: 30 p.m. April 17 and for the operating budget at 5: 30 p.m. April 23-25.

Copies of the budget are available at the Broadneck, Annapolis and Eastport-Annapolis Neck branches of the library as well as the city's Finance and Law departments.

Pub Date: 4/09/96

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