Mayor hopes meeting brings money to city

O'Malley and Glendening scheduled to meet today

March 17, 2000|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

With time running out in Annapolis, Mayor Martin O'Malley is scheduled to meet with Gov. Parris N. Glendening today in hopes of garnering more financial support for city programs and services.

O'Malley praised Glendening for increasing funding to address the city's lead paint problems, but said the same kind of support is needed for schools, crime prevention and community revitalization projects.

"He said he wanted to be a partner with the city," said O'Malley, who requested today's meeting. "We're not seeing a whole lot of evidence of that partnership."

The mayor hopes to get more money from a supplemental budget, which the governor is expected to release soon; the legislature adjourns April 10.

Del. Salima S. Marriott, chairwoman of the city's House delegation, said she wants to see a stronger commitment from the governor to support the city.

The city received a 1 percent increase in state aid compared with a statewide 6 percent increase in the governor's primary budget. Overall, the city under Glendening's original proposal would receive about a quarter of the $3.2 billion earmarked for direct state aid, which Marriott and other city leaders describe as "unacceptable."

"We have been promised that we will get additional monies through the supplemental process," Marriott said. "It's nowhere what we need. We really need $49 million for education and no less than $25 million for drug treatment. I don't see that forthcoming."

After he took office in December, O'Malley presented a list of the city's needs, which added up to more than $200 million. The mayor said he has pared down that list for his meeting today.

But the mayor's list remains overly ambitious for a supplemental budget the governor's office expects to have roughly $40 million for all Maryland jurisdictions. His requests for more school aid, drug treatment money, general operating dollars and warrant task force funds would require nearly $120 million in additional state support.

The governor's office said Glendening is committed to helping the city. Michael Morrill, his spokesman, said the 1 percent increase was based on formulas for allocating money to each Maryland jurisdiction and not an attempt to slight the city.

Already in the first supplemental budget Glendening gave $5 million to the city to resolve lead paint problems, $8 million for the school system's operating budget and money equivalent to a 1 percent raise for teachers, said Morrill.

Glendening also is considering money to help criminal justice reform through the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center and more drug treatment money, Morrill said.

"No large programs are going to be initiated," Morrill said. "There's not that much in the supplemental."

Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, a city Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, said she believes the city will not be shortchanged in this year's budget process.

"I think the city is going to do all right," Hoffman said. "It always does. It's not going to be everything the mayor wants because we don't have the money."

In addition to seeking state support, Hoffman said O'Malley must find ways to cut city spending. With a decline in population, city government must make the appropriate adjustments, Hoffman said.

"They must shrink the size of city government as much as they can shrink it," Hoffman said. "It's easier to gain resources if it's clear you're doing all you can do."

Hoffman said state lawmakers also are reviewing the formula used to allot money to Maryland's poorest jurisdictions as a way to increase state support for the city.

O'Malley wants a change in the formula that would yield an additional $12.4 million for the city. Hoffman said lawmakers are looking at an increase in the city's grant amount, but not as large as that amount.

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