City Council gives preliminary OK for downtown's private borrowing

November 19, 1996|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

A group of downtown business leaders won preliminary approval from the City Council yesterday to borrow money from private sources to pay for major public improvements in the commercial district.

The Downtown Management District will be allowed to incur long-term debt to pay for sidewalks, curbs, landscaping, lighting and signs. Created in 1992 to levy a special business tax, the management district will be limited to a debt service of no more than 10 percent of its projected revenues each year.

The management district spends about $2.4 million yearly on promotional, security and sanitation services for the 1,800 commercial properties in the 106-block area.

Last night, some members of the council failed to win approval of an amendment that would have the council review the management district's financial plan.

Third District Councilman Martin O'Malley tried to push through the amendment that would have required the management district to come before the council if private sources were not used for the loans. But 4th District Councilwoman Agnes Welch said that because the management district leaders agreed to borrow from private sources only, O'Malley's proposed amendment was moot.

Pub Date: 11/19/96

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