Road work to be mulled

Alderman to propose marking $1.25 million for repaving project

Like `pants with patches'

September 10, 2000|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

When the Annapolis city council meets tomorrow for the first time since July, one issue on the agenda is a proposal to spend more than half of the city's anticipated $2 million in surplus funds on repaving city roads.

Alderman Herbert H. McMillan, a Ward 5 Republican, plans to introduce an ordinance at the meeting at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall that would commit $1.25 million from the general fund to repave portions of about 30 city roads rated by the Department of Public Works as poor, potholed, cracked or having poor ridability, he said.

"I think our roads are terrible," McMillan said. "They remind me of a pair of pants with patches."

The ordinance, which will not go to a final vote tomorrow night, would commit money to perform all of the road resurfacing currently scheduled through 2005. Because the money is available, McMillan said, it makes sense to "catch up" on road maintenance, which he calls one of the "basic obligations and [a] responsibility of municipal government."

"I don't think people are paying taxes to have it sit in the bank and earn interest," he said. "They want services or they want their money back."

But Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, who saw funding for some projects she supported cut from the budget in June, questions the appropriateness of introducing a major expenditure outside the budget process.

"We're only two months into the budget, after a process that took six months," she said. "It's not a good way of doing business."

If the council decides it wants to spend the surplus funds, it should "consider all of the needs of the city," including expanding and renovating the police station and purchasing some of the city's remaining open space, she said.

"It's a matter of priorities," said Moyer, a Ward 8 Democrat. "There are other projects out there that we have not done, ostensibly because we didn't have the money."

McMillan said he is introducing the measure in anticipation of the Finance Department's report this month that will show the amount in the general fund that has not been appropriated. The final vote will require a two-thirds majority for the measure to pass.

In other business, the council is scheduled to vote on a resolution establishing another "drug-loitering-free zone" in part of the Annapolis Gardens public housing development. That action is expected even though the city is not enforcing its law establishing the zones because of a court challenge by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The council is continuing to designate areas that have had at least three drug-related arrests in a 24-month period as drug-loitering-free zones in anticipation of winning the lawsuit, McMillan said.

The council is also set to vote on a resolution to support the Management Plan for the Annapolis, London Town and South County Heritage Area, which drew criticism from Ward 2 residents at a public hearing in July because it includes a suggestion for a visitors center on Rowe Boulevard. Alderman Sheila M. Tolliver, a Democrat who represents Ward 2, will introduce an amendment specifying that approval of the plan does not "suggest that the council is endorsing the site on Rowe Boulevard for a visitors center," she said.

The council is also scheduled to hear a measure by Alderman Samuel Gilmer to prohibit the sale of parts of the Knighton Property bordering the future city parking garage. Current plans would allow developers to make proposals to purchase and rehabilitate the five 100-year-old structures on the property, but Gilmer, a Ward 3 Democrat, said he fears the city might need that property to expand its parking later.

Also before the council are a proposal to negotiate a payment in lieu of taxes with the nonprofit Homes of America for completing the Rider's Glen townhouse development for low-income residents and a resolution to exempt donations benefiting injured City Attorney Paul G. Goetzke from ethics regulations.

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