City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

February 01, 2007

Census adds 4,249 to city's population estimate

The U.S. Census Bureau has added 4,249 people to its most recent estimate of Baltimore's population.

According to a posting on the bureau's Web site, the city's population estimate as of July 2005 was revised upward to 640,064 from 635,815.

The city had challenged the latter figure -- which was based on births, deaths, foreign immigration and income tax returns -- as being too low. The bureau allows jurisdictions to challenge its estimates by providing housing data.

Based on the bureau's revised estimate, the city's population dropped by about 1,000 from 2004 to 2005.

Since the 2000 census, the city has lost 11,090 people -- or just under 2 percent of its population.

In the 1990s, Baltimore's population dropped by 84,860, or 11.5 percent.

The bureau has accepted more than 40 challenges by cities, towns and counties to its 2005 estimates. The jurisdictions whose estimates have been revised include Washington (up 31,528), New York (up 70,642) and St. Louis (up 8,210).

Eric Siegel

Baltimore: Jones Falls

City to install trash interceptor

Baltimore will install a $375,000 water-powered trash interceptor on the Jones Falls in an effort to reduce the amount of trash that flows into the Inner Harbor after a heavy rain, under an agreement approved unanimously by the city's Board of Estimates yesterday.

The interceptor, which will run on the same water current that once powered mills along the Jones Falls, will automatically collect garbage caught in the city's storm water system after rain. Now, the city blocks garbage flowing down the stream into the harbor with a series of floating traps, or booms.

Taxpayers will pay for the interceptor only if it works, officials said. The board approved the agreement with Clearwater Mills LLC. John Kellett, the company's managing agent who is also the director of the Baltimore Maritime Museum, which is managed by the Living Classrooms Foundation, invented the system and said he hopes to have it in place this year.

"It really changes what's now an eyesore," Kellett said. "When you get a hard rain, it's like a parade of trash coming under those bridges."

Despite requests made to the Department of Public Works, the city comptroller's office and the mayor's office, the city did not provide a copy of the contract with Clearwater Mills yesterday.

Mayor Sheila Dixon tied the interceptor to a broader effort she has been promoting in recent weeks to make the city cleaner. Baltimore will also install solar-powered, automatic trash compactors along the Inner Harbor that will shrink rubbish to one-eighth its original volume and, officials hope, reduce odors and overflowing trash bins.

"Millions of people visit the Inner Harbor every year, and it is Baltimore's showcase attraction," Dixon said in a statement. "They will see Baltimore as innovative, resourceful, and -- most importantly -- clean."

John Fritze

City Hall

Dixon to retain 3 department heads

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon announced yesterday she will retain the current heads of the departments of public works, transportation and housing -- filling the remaining seats of her Cabinet with leaders that served under her predecessor.

George L. Winfield will keep his job as public works director, and Alfred H. Foxx will continue to lead the transportation department, Dixon said in a statement yesterday.

Also, Paul T. Graziano will continue to serve as director of the housing department.

"Al, George and Paul are committed to strengthening Baltimore's neighborhoods and are committed to working with the community to build a stronger, cleaner and safer city," Dixon said in a statement.

The three join a Cabinet that includes several others who served in Martin O'Malley's administration, including Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm, Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr. and Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein. Dixon has vowed to maintain many of the policies launched under O'Malley.

John Fritze

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