Vote set on roads bill

Repaving project would use a fifth of $5.68 million surplus

`Areas of higher priorities'

Voter identification, parking measures to be introduced

January 08, 2001|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

The Annapolis city council is scheduled to vote today on a measure to spend $1.25 million of the city's budget surplus to complete five years' worth of repaving - parts of about 30 city roads - this year.

The bill, introduced by Aldermen Herbert H. McMillan, a Ward 5 Republican, and Louise M. Hammond, a Ward 1 Democrat, would earmark more than one-fifth of the city's $5.68 million surplus from fiscal 2000 to repave all the roads that are scheduled to be done through 2005.

McMillan, who called the condition of many roads "a disgrace," said the roads he wants repaved - none of which is in his ward - have been rated by the Department of Public Works as poor, potholed, cracked or having poor rideability.

"We haven't spent enough on roads in a long time, and that is why we are here. We have to catch up," McMillan said.

Other council members have questioned the appropriateness of introducing such a major expenditure outside the budget process. The budget for fiscal 2002, which begins July 1, must be approved by the council this spring.

Alderman Joseph Sachs, a Ward 4 Republican, said the council's three-member finance committee, which he chairs, voted unanimously against recommending the bill.

He supports using the surplus in lieu of borrowing money to finance scheduled capital projects.

"Fiscally, if we have this extra money, what we should do is not go to the bond market," he said.

Mayor Dean L. Johnson also said he will not support the measure.

"I think we have areas of higher priorities" that need to be weighed against this measure before the surplus funds are appropriated, he said.

The measure will require the votes of two-third of the council, or six members, in order to pass.

Among other business:

Aldermen Cynthia Carter, a Ward 6 Democrat, and Samuel Gilmer, a Ward 3 Democrat, will introduce a measure to repeal the requirements for voters to present identification or sign an affidavit before voting in city elections. Instead, the city would operate consistent with state law.

Carter calls the existing law "redundant, ridiculous and racist."

The council is scheduled to vote on a measure requiring the Department of Public Works to inspect all Housing Authority property in the city.

Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, a Ward 8 Democrat, will introduce a measure requesting that the state allow public parking at state-owned facilities within the city when not in use by members of the General Assembly or its employees.

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