IN ANNAPOLIS, a city alderman and the mayor are at odds over how to get state government to increase its payment in lieu of taxes to Maryland's capital city for police and fire services. On Monday, Alderman Herbert H. McMillan will introduce a resolution asking the General Assembly to increase its payment to the city. Mayor Dean L. Johnson fears this might undercut his informal talks with state officials.
Perhaps Mr. McMillan's resolution is unnecessary, especially because it wouldn't bind the state to anything. But in the long run, he's correct: The state reimbursement to Annapolis for services it provides can't be based on the whim of a benevolent State House.
As the seat of Maryland government, Annapolis incurs about $600,000 in related expenses (and, in truth, reaps a lot of related downtown commerce). It must pay police and sanitation crews overtime when demonstrations are held on city streets. Annapolis citizens shouldn't be asked to subsidize the rest of the state.
Gov. Parris N. Glendening has indicated the state's payment in lieu of taxes should be larger than the $267,000 it paid last year. The governor has told the Annapolis-area delegation he is considering increasing the city's payment between $25,000 and $50,000 a year for each of the next three years, said Democratic Del. Michael E. Busch.
Mr. Glendening's interest in a more equitable payment is a step in the right direction, but a more permanent reimbursement structure is needed.
Rather than rely on the governor's discretion, the state payment to the city should be based on a formula. State and city fiscal experts could hammer out an equitable calculation to ensure that Annapolis receives a fair, predictable annual payment.
Mr. McMillan's nonbinding resolution may be unnecessary saber rattling, but his underlying concern is valid.
Pub Date: 3/05/99