Boost hiring to offset OT, official says

City must increase police, fire rolls, D'Adamo warns

April 05, 2000|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

The city needs to hire more police and fire department reinforcements because of a combined $2.2 million deficit caused by overtime payments in the squads, a Baltimore city councilman said yesterday.

Southeast Baltimore City Councilman Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr. also warned council colleagues last night that the city Department of Public Works budget deficit has reached $2.5 million because of the increased cost of trash collection. The deficits will be covered by a larger than expected surplus this year in property tax revenues, D'Adamo said.

The chairman of the council's budget committee released the totals to warn council members that 146 positions remain vacant in the police department. Filling those posts could save money, he said.

The council will hold budget hearings next month and a Taxpayers Night in Council Chambers at 7 p.m. June 1.

In other action:

The council introduced a resolution to create a city Parking Authority. The Downtown Partnership Inc., a group of downtown businesses, lists parking as the greatest detriment to retaining and recruiting businesses. A survey conducted two years ago indicated the need for 3,500 new spaces downtown. Mayor Martin O'Malley said yesterday that allowing the city's parking division to operate as a separate authority will serve as a critical economic development tool.

West Baltimore Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. introduced two bills aimed at reducing trash dumping. Under the first bill, fines for such offenses as failing to put trash in receptacles would rise from $50 to $60. Under a separate bill, Mitchell proposes using the excess funding to hire more sanitation enforcement officers.

City Council President Sheila Dixon called for the city and state school directors to meet with the council about education spending. Dixon expressed concern over rising administrative costs, including a recent computer contract, as the city struggles to meet basic classroom needs.

West Baltimore Councilwoman Catherine E. Pugh introduced a resolution urging the city to develop a computer database of vacant land sites that can be offered to developers. O'Malley and citizens groups, including the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now, support the concept, known as "land banking."

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