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By JOHN FRITZE and JOHN FRITZE,SUN REPORTER | June 20, 2006
The Charles Village Community Benefits District, which faces a lawsuit alleging that it voted to renew itself without a quorum, will hold a meeting tomorrow to recast the vote, the board's president said yesterday. Created in the 1990s, the benefits district levies an extra property tax in exchange for additional sanitation and security services. The tax rate must be approved annually by the organization's board, the city's Board of Estimates and the City Council. More than a dozen Charles Village residents filed a lawsuit this month alleging that the district's board of directors illegally approved the tax rate this year because at least two of its members - who were needed to constitute a quorum - do not meet the requirements to serve on the body.
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NEWS
By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun | July 27, 2010
The man who witnessed Stephen Pitcairn's last breaths was too afraid to give his name. Hours after the stabbing late Sunday, he stood where he found the victim lying face down on St. Paul Street, the pavement still stained even though the blood had been washed away. A lone blue surgical glove lay in the gutter. Twenty feet away, blood had pooled in a crevice, mixing with leaves and covering an empty potato chip bag. The man who held Pitcairn's hand covered his mouth and said he was seeking help for himself from his parish priest.
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NEWS
By Robert Guy Matthews and Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF | November 2, 1997
Scarred by run-down houses, unemployment and a paucity of city services, Park Heights is the latest neighborhood hoping to tax itself into becoming a cleaner and safer community.The Northwest Baltimore neighborhood is trying to put together money and residents' support to form a community benefits district, just as Charles Village, midtown and downtown areas have done to improve themselves."Some of the services we need are not all that forthcoming, and people to some degree need to be responsible for themselves," said Jean Yarborough, director of the Park Heights Networking Community Council.
NEWS
By John Fritze and John Fritze,Sun reporter | July 11, 2008
Nearly 2,000 residents in Charles Village and Bolton Hill could receive small property tax refunds because of a city error that inflated their tax bills, Mayor Sheila Dixon said yesterday. Dixon's announcement puts to rest a months-long dispute that began after The Sun reported that a popular credit was not being applied to tax bills for residents of the Charles Village Community Benefits District and the Midtown Community Benefits District. The districts levy a property tax in addition to rate imposed by the city and, in turn, provide extra services, such as increased garbage collection and security.
NEWS
By Joan Jacobson and Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF | October 21, 1996
The unusual warmth on an 80-degree October day seems to enhance the normal cacophony of Charles Village near the Baltimore Museum of Art. Joe Rexing descends into the belly of Wyman Park Dell and hears only a low hum that passes for silence in the city.Here in the dell, as sparrows fly by muddy grass, he could be almost anywhere but Charles Village. That's a blessing -- and a curse.Rexing loves the dell, even calls it his oasis. But he thinks it's too isolated. Rexing and his neighbors have visions for rebuilding the area, maybe adding a pond and a grand staircase leading from the cavernous dell to the steps of the museum.
NEWS
By M. Dion Thompson and M. Dion Thompson,SUN STAFF | May 22, 2001
These are crucial times in Park Heights. A decade of declining population - 20 percent in some neighborhoods - and high crime has left many sections in this part of Northwest Baltimore scarred by vacant homes and empty storefronts. On top of that, city officials are considering closing two schools and a public library. Area leaders are trying to turn Park Heights around. There's talk of supermarkets possibly moving in along West Belvedere Avenue. A golf center is planned for a park. The state recently promised a $750,000 bond for a community arts center on Pimlico Road.
NEWS
November 28, 1995
SPECIAL BENEFITS TAX districts are nothing new for Maryland. They have been around since 1929 in Anne Arundel County, where 14 new taxing districts have been created in the last six years. But the situation there is different from Baltimore, which only has two such districts, with voters currently deciding in a mail-in referendum whether to add a third.In Anne Arundel, the best way for many waterfront communities to pay to maintain roads and piers is by placing a special tax on themselves.
NEWS
By Mike Bowler and Jean Thompson and Mike Bowler and Jean Thompson,SUN STAFF | December 21, 1995
Residents of Bolton Hill and three nearby communities have created the city's third benefits district by voting 1,129 to 458 to assess themselves for additional security and sanitation services.Mail ballots counted yesterday at the Board of Election Supervisors authorized formation of the Midtown Community Benefits District, which covers Bolton Hill, Mount Vernon-Belvedere, Madison Park and Charles North -- an area of more than 100 city blocks.About 13,000 residents, dozens of businesses and nonprofit arts, cultural and educational institutions, are in the district.
NEWS
By M. Dion Thompson and M. Dion Thompson,SUN STAFF | June 29, 2001
Supporters of a proposal to make the Park Heights neighborhood a Community Benefits District lost their bid yesterday, falling short of the 58 percent approval needed to approve the measure. "The people who are still here are very bummed about it," Lori James-Monroe, the project director, said after the vote. "People are disappointed." The final vote was 265 in favor to 245 against the measure. Del. Salima Siler Marriott, who represents the area and supported the measure, said she was not surprised by the outcome.
NEWS
By Ivan Penn and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF | January 31, 1997
Fells Point and Park Heights could be the next Baltimore communities with their own security patrols, private trash pickup services and higher taxes, if a bill approved by a General Assembly committee yesterday passes the full legislature.The bill would extend the expiration date of a 1993 law allowing creation of "community benefits districts" in Baltimore -- self-taxing, quasi public management authorities that oversee safety, sanitation, development and beautification projects in approved neighborhoods.
NEWS
By John Fritze and John Fritze,Sun reporter | May 30, 2008
Baltimore's benefits districts will be asked to pay for the cost of a property tax error that might have caused thousands of residents in Charles Village, Bolton Hill and other neighborhoods to overpay their tax bills, city officials told a City Council panel yesterday. The decision, which the officials described as informal, sparked criticism from council members who argued that the city, not the benefits districts, is to blame for the error and that the districts are unable to afford refunds.
NEWS
By John Fritze and John Fritze,Sun reporter | April 8, 2008
Baltimore officials acknowledged yesterday that thousands of residents have overpaid property taxes because of a billing error at City Hall, but they left open the question of whether anyone would receive a refund. Homeowners in Bolton Hill, Mount Vernon, Charles Village and a half-dozen other Central Baltimore neighborhoods might have overpaid because the city failed to apply a credit to the supplemental property tax levied by two special benefits districts. A written opinion from the city solicitor's office states that the current code requires that the credit - which caps property tax growth at 4 percent a year for homeowners - be applied to the surtax charged by the Charles Village Community Benefits District and the Midtown Community Benefits District.
NEWS
By John Fritze and John Fritze,Sun reporter | March 29, 2008
Homeowners in Bolton Hill, Mount Vernon, Charles Village and a half-dozen other central Baltimore neighborhoods might have paid too much in property taxes because of the way City Hall has assessed charges for those areas' special benefits districts. At issue is whether a popular tax credit should be applied to additional levies collected by the Charles Village Community Benefits District and the Midtown Community Benefits District to offer extra garbage collection and private security guards.
NEWS
August 24, 2006
Police probe racist e-mail in department City police are investigating the source of an e-mail, which appears to have been forwarded to several high-ranking officers within the department, using racist overtones and depicting blacks as unruly, a police spokesman said yesterday. The e-mail is being investigated by the department's Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance section, which was notified of the message Tuesday by an Eastern District supervisor, according to a police statement released last night.
NEWS
August 2, 2006
Surveillance bill a threat to liberty I was impressed by the balanced approach of reporter Siobhan Gorman's article on Sen. Arlen Specter's surveillance bill ("CIA, NSA back surveillance bill," July 27). Some commentators have presented a fairy-tale version of the bill as a compromise between the White House's desire to continue its warrantless surveillance of citizens and congressional opposition to this outrage. But the bill in question is no compromise. Rather it would be a legalization of the unconstitutional, warrantless surveillance on Americans that also includes some rather nasty bells and whistles such as : Diminishing the oversight role of the court which oversees the NSA's domestic spying.
NEWS
By JOHN FRITZE and JOHN FRITZE,SUN REPORTER | July 27, 2006
The Charles Village Community Benefits District will be permitted to collect a supplementary property tax this year after a Baltimore Circuit Court judge ruled yesterday that the organization's board legally approved its budget at a meeting this year. Opponents of the district -- which imposes the tax in exchange for sanitation and security services -- argued in their lawsuit that the board did not have a quorum when it voted in April to approve its budget because, they allege, three of its members did not own property in the district.
NEWS
By JOHN FRITZE and JOHN FRITZE,SUN REPORTER | June 20, 2006
The Charles Village Community Benefits District, which faces a lawsuit alleging that it voted to renew itself without a quorum, will hold a meeting tomorrow to recast the vote, the board's president said yesterday. Created in the 1990s, the benefits district levies an extra property tax in exchange for additional sanitation and security services. The tax rate must be approved annually by the organization's board, the city's Board of Estimates and the City Council. More than a dozen Charles Village residents filed a lawsuit this month alleging that the district's board of directors illegally approved the tax rate this year because at least two of its members - who were needed to constitute a quorum - do not meet the requirements to serve on the body.
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