Annapolis mayor to present first budget

No tax increase for city in plan for fiscal year 2003

April 08, 2002|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

Annapolis residents will not see a tax increase next year under the proposed budget that Mayor Ellen O. Moyer will present to the city council today.

The budget for fiscal year 2003, the first of Moyer's administration, will include funding for about 10 new staff positions - about half of them in the fire and police departments - and will focus on public safety concerns, which Moyer called her "principal priority."

Moyer would not go into specifics about her spending plan, but described it as a "tight budget, one that reflects interest in addressing some of the problems that we have."

She will introduce it after delivering her first State of the City address at tonight's council meeting. Moyer said she wants to increase staff in the fire and police departments to "include personnel with specific functions so we can serve the public in the best way."

She has included more funding for an improved benefits package for public safety employees.

Moyer also has earmarked money for the design of an expanded police station at Taylor Avenue. The design process will determine the best way to expand the station, she said.

Alderman Louise Hammond, who said she has not seen the mayor's budget, said she hopes that the city conducts an inventory of its office space as part of the move to expand the Police Department.

"Somebody needs to assess the needs of the police station before they begin on the design," Hammond said.

Moyer has proposed creating a new post in the mayor's office for a community and social service coordinator. That post, which she describes as "critical," was the result of suggestions by several of her transition teams that researched issues such as education, public and affordable housing, violence, senior services and concerns of Hispanic residents.

The person in that post would help evaluate the city's programs and serve as a liaison with community groups and other government agencies.

Moyer also wants to hire an additional full-time city attorney to supplement the work of City Attorney Paul G. Goetzke and part-time Assistant City Attorney Karen P. Ruff.

"We have tremendous litigation and research needs" that are handled by outside firms, Moyer said.

The budget also includes funding for a Minority Business Enterprise employee in the city's economic development office.

The council is expected to vote tonight on an ordinance that would overturn the city's voter identification law that was tested for the first time in the fall.

Also on the agenda for a vote is a proposal that would allow the council to approve an annexation petition with a majority of five votes instead of the required two-thirds majority, or six votes.

The city council will meet at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers in City Hall on Duke of Gloucester Street.

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