Annapolis budget aims to boost public safety

Mayor plans to cut property tax for fourth year, renovate City Dock


News from around the Baltimore region

April 12, 2005|By Molly Knight | Molly Knight,SUN STAFF

Annapolis Mayor Ellen O. Moyer presented the last budget of her administration to the city council last night.

The $62.2 million operating budget for fiscal 2006 - an 8 percent increase over this year's spending - emphasizes public safety, which Moyer called "the city's No. 1 priority."

The spending plan includes a 2 cent trim in the property tax rate, to 56 cents per $100 of assessed value. Moyer said the cut will make Annapolis the only municipality in Maryland to reduce tax rates four years in a row.

Moyer proposed an increase of $1.8 million in public safety spending, including a new paramedic unit for Annapolis Neck and the hiring of more fire department personnel.

If approved, the budget would fund renovation of the City Dock, which has not been touched up for more than three decades. Moyer announced that the city's operating and capital budgets include $500,000 each for the $1.5 million project, also funded by $500,000 in federal money. The project would replace the City Dock's public boardwalk, repair failing bulkheads and shore up the foundation of the waterfront park area.

Moyer's operating budget also proposed funds for a pilot program for at-risk youths in Annapolis run by the Baltimore-based Living Classrooms Foundation.

One of the smaller-scale items proposed in the budget is restoration of the Southgate Fountain, a historic landmark in Church Circle.

Nonetheless, the fountain project has "enormous significance to who we are and the value we place on our community," Moyer said.

Addressing a standing-room-only crowd at City Hall, the mayor called the city's financial outlook "very strong." She highlighted accomplishments during the past three years including the cleanup of area creeks and a reduction in violent crime.

The city council will hold a public hearing on the budget April 25, and is scheduled to vote on it June 11.

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