Annapolis Council, Residents Decry Omissions In Budget

April 22, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Annapolis aldermen and residents criticized Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins last night after discovering that certain projects are not funded in the proposed $60.7 million capital budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The residents and officials were mostly angry about the mayor's office omitting $1.7 million that was promised for renovations for the Stanton Community Center in the Clay Street neighborhood.

Representatives from the mayor's office told the city council's Finance Committee that there was little money available for millions of dollars worth of new roads, sewer lines and renovations needed for Annapolis.

Several items that lost out in the 1998 capital budget included planned improvements to storm drains, an addition for the Eastport Fire Station, a new ladder and pumper truck for the Fire Department and a sidewalk for Edgewood Road.

"I thought we gave them priority last year," said Alderman Carl O. Snowden, committee chairman, as he questioned representatives from the mayor's office about the Stanton center. "I thought we made a firm commitment to that community."

Said Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat: "To see this internal decision made to change the priority and not inform the community yet, I find that just unacceptable."

Bertina Nick, chairwoman of the Clay Street Revitalization Committee, agreed and scolded the mayor's office for not informing the Stanton advisory committee about the project being cut from the budget.

"We're not going to take this sitting down," Nick said. "It was supposed to be in the budget, it's not in the budget and we need to know why. We've been slapped down with no dollars. We're trying to pull ourselves up, and here you are stepping on our necks."

Several aldermen promised last night to introduce amendments to the mayor's budget to find funding for the Stanton center.

Alderman M. Theresa DeGraff, a Ward 7 Republican, said, "We've been promising and promising to build the sidewalks. We keep putting it off. It's a public safety issue now. Someone's going to get hurt because they can't walk safely to the nature park down the street."

Asked to explain the lack of funding for several projects, Emory Harrison, the director of central services, said, "We have priority projects. We don't have any money."

Major projects set to be funded in the proposed capital budget for fiscal 1998 include:

Millions of dollars worth of improvements to several sewer and wastewater lines in the city.

About $2 million for structural repairs to the Hillman Parking Garage.

A $1.2 million connector road to provide access to Forest Drive from Newtowne Drive and Greenbriar Lane.

$400,000 for reconstruction of the City Dock area to coincide with the Whitbread Race.

Pub Date: 4/22/97

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