Mayor's budget contains no increases in taxes, fees

Spending plan is up $5.7 million over 2001


April 06, 2001|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

There will be no increases in city taxes or fees for Annapolis residents under the proposed budget for fiscal year 2002 that Mayor Dean L. Johnson is set to introduce to the city council and the public Monday night.

The $39.6 million general fund operating budget the mayor plans to propose is $5.7 million higher than the budget for fiscal year 2001, which ends June 30.

Johnson said yesterday that the budget does not include everything he would like but called it "realistic."

Under his plan, the tax rate would be reconfigured to a lower rate to adjust for the 3.7 percent increase in state tax assessments and to reflect a new taxing method the state requires.

City residents pay $1.67 for every $100 on 40 percent of the assessed value of property. Adjusting for the new method - a tax rate on the full assessed value instead of on 40 percent - the current rate converts to about 66.8 cents on every $100. Under Johnson's plan, the rate would be lowered to 64.4 cents per $100.

Johnson estimated that this would keep the property tax revenue and most residents' taxes about the same as this year. He said he is not proposing increases in water, sewer, refuse or parking fees.

Among the items he highlighted in the proposed budget:

$750,000 for a new computer-based financial management system to help departments improve management of employee workload, revenue, electronic payments and other administrative tasks. Johnson said the system would put Annapolis on "the cutting edge of municipalities."

Stepped-up funding for utility and road improvements on West Street. The mayor is proposing $3.165 million in the 2002 budget, up from $92,000 projected for 2002 in last year's budget.

Funding for a transportation planner (a position vacant for four years until January), a new transportation engineer, transportation software and computers for the planning and zoning department, and $20,000 on the initial phases of an "intelligent transportation system" that would replace and improve city-owned traffic signals.

$400,000 to implement an Environmental Protection Agency storm-water management requirement aimed at helping clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

$186,000 for sidewalks and other improvements to county-owned Forest Drive between Route 2 and Chinquapin Round Road. Johnson said this is not enough to cover the long-awaited improvements to the strip, which could cost as much as $1.5 million.

$220,000 for mobile computer systems to be installed in police cruisers, and $350,000 to buy properties for expansion of the police headquarters on Taylor Avenue.

$180,000 to further expand the Poplar Park Trail.

Reserved funding for a proposed 5.4 percent increase in the budget for some city employee salaries, pending approval of a revised salary schedule by the council and the civil service board. The proposed schedule is to be introduced Monday.

Council votes are expected on:

A plan to allot $3.6 million of the city's estimated $5.68 million surplus from fiscal year 2000 to pay for this year's capital project expenditures, instead of borrowing the money. Johnson said it would save the city almost $2 million in interest charges over 20 years.

The annexation of the Villages of Chesapeake Harbour, a 452-unit apartment and townhouse condominium development that borders a private marina on the Chesapeake Bay. Several amendments are expected to be proposed.

A proposal establishing guidelines for waiving the provisions of the city code that require payments for the use of city facilities and services.

The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall.

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