Around The Region

AROUND THE REGION

April 02, 2009

Towing-fee plan questioned

On Wednesday, City Councilman Robert W. Curran questioned a proposed increase in towing fees, saying that it is too high and could trigger larger bills for cars removed from private property. Under the proposal, hauling fees would rise from $105 to $130 for vehicles removed from downtown streets and from $115 to $140 from roads in other parts of Baltimore. The rate changes are part of a new agreement between the towing industry and the Baltimore Transportation Department. The measure, part of Wednesday's Board of Estimates agenda, was deferred because Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake has questions. The city's towing rates have not changed since 2005. Officials said the fees are in line with those of surrounding counties, and that the increase is consistent with changes in the consumer price index. But Curran said the increase probably would have an impact on the fees for "trespass tows" of cars improperly parked on private property. For those removals, state law allows companies to charge up to twice the amount set by the city.

Annie Linskey

Two to be reimbursed in civil rights case

Maryland's spending board voted Wednesday to reimburse two airport police officers for a $305,000 civil rights verdict rendered against them last year for violating a cab driver's civil rights by improperly arresting him and using excessive force. Comptroller Peter Franchot, one of three members on the Board of Public Works, voted against the payment because he wants attorneys for the state to appeal. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (filling in for Gov. Martin O'Malley) and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp voted to reimburse the officers. In November 2008, a Baltimore jury awarded Dawit Seyoum $305,000 after finding that Maryland Transportation Officers Jeffrey Sheriff and James Meyers falsely arrested the driver in 2005, used excessive force and covered up his injuries.

Gadi Dechter

Howard capital budget plan is $392 million

Amid a squeeze on revenues, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman on Wednesday proposed a $392 million capital budget for the coming fiscal year that would fund long-planned school, library and parks construction. The county executive said it is an opportune time to get lower, recession-driven prices on construction.

Larry Carson

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