City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

June 17, 2008

$2.94 billion city budget approved

Baltimore's City Council overwhelmingly approved Mayor Sheila Dixon's $2.94 billion budget last night and rejected a proposal that would have spent potential surplus money on a youth-mentoring program.

The council approved the budget, which keeps the property tax rate - as well as other major taxes - constant, on a 14-1 vote after a series of feisty debates throughout the day over youth funding.

The lone dissenting vote was cast by City Councilman James B. Kraft.

"This is a budget that is fiscally responsible," said City Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young, chairman of the council's budget committee. "I think each one of us went through this budget with a fine-tooth comb."

On a 13-2 vote, the council rejected a proposal to earmark any surplus money that materializes to fund a $3 million request from a youth-mentoring program called Peer to Peer.

Previously, the council supported a nonbinding resolution calling for more funding for the program.

Council members Bill Henry and Mary Pat Clarke were the only ones to vote for that proposal.

"I think this amendment looks to the future," Clarke said. "No one has dibs on the money."

A spokesman for Dixon said that the city's Finance Department does not expect surplus revenue in the current budget.

John Fritze

Lynn Anderson

Howard County

Jessup

No charges planned in police shooting

Prosecutors will not file charges against either of the two Howard County teenagers who were accidentally shot in April by an undercover narcotics officer, according to the attorneys for the boys' families.

Jason Shapiro, attorney for Dwain Usery, said yesterday that he was notified by a Howard County assistant state's attorney May 29 that his client would not be charged.

Shapiro said he has requested that notification in writing but has not received it.

"I think it was an appropriate decision by the office of the state's attorney," Shapiro said.

He added that he has put the county on notice for settlement negotiations, but no other actions have taken place because Usery is recovering from his injuries.

"I'm just waiting for the kid to get well," Shapiro said.

According to police, Usery, who was 14 at the time, was wounded in the torso by the same bullet that grazed Garcia Wilson in the arm about 5:20 p.m. April 7 in the 8300 block of Pleasant Chase Road in Jessup.

Police said that undercover officers suspected that the teens were engaged in a drug deal.

One of the officers stepped out of his car with his gun drawn to approach the boys, and his weapon accidentally discharged, police said.

Wilson, who was 15 when the shooting occurred, also will not be charged, according to a letter sent this month to his attorney by prosecutors.

The attorney, Charles Jerome Ware, said he has also notified the county that his client will take civil action.

Tyeesha Dixon

Ellicott City

Thefts-case trial has been postponed

The Howard County trial scheduled to begin today for a Pennsylvania man charged with taking more than $270,000 from businesses and a bank in two counties while impersonating a Dunbar Armored employee uniform, has been postponed because of a change in defense attorneys, according to the Howard County state's attorney's office.

Prosecutors allege that Robert Allen Flanagan, 38, of Dallastown, Pa., walked into several businesses one day in October in Baltimore and Howard counties and asked employees for cash deposits. Police say Flanagan wore the Dunbar uniform that he kept after being fired from the company.

In Howard County, he is charged with felony theft after almost $200,000 was taken from a Bank of America branch in Ellicott City in December. In October, authorities said, Flanagan tried to pick up deposits from a department store in Ellicott City, but was unsuccessful.

In Baltimore County, Flanagan faces four counts of attempted theft and one count of theft over $500. That trial has not been scheduled.

Tyeesha Dixon

Statewide

Federal court

Ky. man gets term in drug case

A truck driver from Kentucky was sentenced yesterday to 12 1/2 years in prison for distributing marijuana and cocaine in Maryland and at least three other states from January 2004 through February last year, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office.

Robert May, known as "Chico," pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to distributing more than 10 pounds of cocaine and 2,200 pounds of marijuana. He transported the drugs from Tuscon, Ariz., to Maryland, Ohio, Georgia and Maine, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said May, 49, of Hazzard, Ky., and an accomplice were nearly caught Thanksgiving 2004 when a police officer near Cleveland spotted them unloading watermelons. Prosecutors said the two were able to convince the officer the shipment was legitimate, even though they had the equivalent of 50 bales of marijuana and 120 pounds of cocaine concealed in the fruit.

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