Schmoke seeks full list of city-owned real estate

November 15, 1996|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke has instructed his agency heads to compile a list of the city's real estate so that for the first time the city can centrally track how much it owns.

The mayor's move has, for the moment, pleased Anthony J. Ambridge, the city's real estate officer, and Councilwoman Helen L. Holton who have been trying to figure out for months exactly what properties are owned by the city.

Frustrated because she was getting no answers, Holton introduced legislation Tuesday at a City Council meeting that would create a comprehensive list of the city's real estate assets. A majority of the council members backed the measure.

"We don't need legislation," Schmoke said yesterday.

Holton said she will continue to push her legislation, despite the mayor's assurances.

In searching out a list, Ambridge and Holton said they ran into interference from agency heads, who keep separate lists of the real estate their departments manage.

Holton's bill asks for the property's address, when the city acquired the property, the purchase price, who uses it and its value.

Schmoke said he expects his list to be complete before the end of the year. He said his office will study the list, then pass it to the comptroller's office, which oversees real estate.

Comptroller Joan M. Pratt said yesterday that she and Ambridge "will work closely with the mayor to establish a centralized data base for all lease transaction and other asset management matters." She said the information will help her office plan for the needs of the city while saving money.

Ambridge and Holton said they suspect that because management of the city's real estate is so scattershot, Baltimore could be losing millions of dollars in real estate deals. "Right now there is no evidence to me that shows we don't need it," Holton said of the legislation.

Ambridge said he is happy a comprehensive listing of the city's properties is finally forthcoming. He said that without such a list, he has had to guess that the real estate assets total about $3.2 billion.

Pub Date: 11/15/96

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