City bond issues

October 27, 2002

WHEN THEY go to the polls on Nov. 5, Baltimore City residents should vote YES on each of the 14 bond issues that appear on the ballot as Questions A through N.

At first glance, the fact that, combined, these initiatives would rack up $120 million in loans seems shocking. But it isn't. Voters are simply being asked to approve two years' worth of bond authorizations, because a change in the city's election schedule means there will be no voting next year.

Approval of the bond money would represent a vote of confidence in the city's future. A good example is Question A, the $42 million community development loan. It would allow the city to demolish abandoned eyesores, help people buy homes and improve neighborhoods and retail corridors.

Question N, the $32 million school loan, is equally important. Its chief beneficiaries would be seven schools -- ranging from the new Southern Technology High School to Leith Walk Elementary. If voters don't authorize the loan, the buildings that house those schools cannot be modernized.

Since 1975, Baltimore voters have approved every single bond issue. They have recognized that the city can thrive only through reinvention and reinvestment. Approval is particularly crucial now that outside sources from the state to private foundations are slashing their funding.

Baltimore has received much praise from Wall Street bonding agencies for the conservative manner in which it handles municipal finances. These bond issues are within the city's borrowing limits and continue that prudent management. That's another reason why Questions A through N are good for the city, and deserve the support of city voters.

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