City council to vote on body for parking, transportation Charter amendment offered by Moyer would create unelected panel

September 08, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

The Annapolis city council is expected to decide tonight whether to give an unelected panel the authority to oversee public projects involving transportation and parking.

The council is to vote on a charter amendment, sponsored by Democratic Alderman Ellen O. Moyer of Ward 8, that would create an Annapolis parking and transportation authority.

Gathering enough votes might prove difficult, however, because many candidates have made the issue a hot topic this election year.

Despite objections from some residents, the council adopted a charter amendment in May 1993 authorizing such an authority.

The city had tried to establish revenue authorities through the state legislature, but after repeated failures, voted to give itself the power to form such an entity.

Moyer's amendment would allow the council to appoint members to the authority, which would seek financing for projects that are exempt from city taxes and assessments.

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat, proposed a similar idea last year with little success.

Snowden said an authority would help ease congestion, create more parking and establish traffic patterns without using taxpayer money.

Revenue authorities, appointed by local government officials, sell bonds and collect fees to finance such projects as roads and parking garages.

Charter amendment

Supporters say revenue authorities operate with the speed and efficiency of private businesses, whereas development decisions are slowed in city government by political disputes and bureaucratic red tape.

But critics say such entities contain hidden costs for cities, and eliminate a critical layer of public participation and scrutiny.

Critics also fear that taxpayers might have to bail out a revenue authority if it stumbled into poor investments.

In other matters, the council again will try to amend the City Charter to prohibit aldermen from interfering in the daily administration of the city.

A similar charter amendment was introduced earlier this year -- after widespread complaints from department heads and city workers -- but was not approved.

Pub Date: 9/08/97

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