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Keeping tabs on the City Council's activities so you don't have to

Bill Henry

By Edward Ericson Jr. | Posted 5/7/2008

Bill 08-0101 Ordinance of Estimates

Download a pdf version

On the Agenda for April 28

Bill 08-0101 Ordinance of Estimates This is a 34-page breakdown of all city agencies' expected expenditures in the coming year, and it's available for download.

The story: Among the fun facts in the $2.9 billion document: $30 million in "services for homeless persons" (administered through the Department of Housing and Community Development). The city has estimated that some 3,000 of its 720,000 citizens are homeless, so the expenditure amounts to about $10,000 each. The city expects to spend $10 million expanding the Quarantine Road Landfill. Fire suppression will cost about $107 million. And "Miscellaneous General Expenses" in the "mayoralty-related" budget amount to $18.8 million.

The mayor put three "supplementary" appropriations before the council: 08-0103, which would hand over $8 million more to Baltimore Housing for land acquisitions; 08-0104, which proposes $5 million more for the "mayoralty-related account" for school construction funding; and 08-0105, $2.4 million to the Department of Transportation for new parking meters.

The story: These end of fiscal year appropriations are a Baltimore tradition. Last May the city's housing department received four separate "supplementary" capital appropriations, totaling $7.2 million. Nearly $90 million more went to the department in the summer and fall as "supplemental" capital. Not insignificant for a department whose operating budget amounts to $110 million or so.

Bill 08-0108 Charter Amendment--Department of General Services If approved, the old bureau of General Services, a division of the Department of Public Works, would become its own department, complete with its own Department of General Services head, administrative staff, contract opportunities for private-sector contractors.

The story: The bureau proposed to be carved out of the existing Department of Public Works handles the repair and maintenance of city vehicles and buildings. Sterling Clifford, the mayor's spokesman, says the changes would create better efficiencies. "There are certain operations in the city that every department in the city has to have," he says. "So there's some redundancy there."

City Council Fact of the Week

Taxpayers Nights--your opportunity to question the city administration on its budget priorities--are coming up. The first is Tuesday, May 13, at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, fourth floor, City Hall.

City Council Quote of the Week

"Businesses are people, too. But just as there are good people and bad people, sometimes there are bad businesses."

--4th District Councilman Bill Henry, introducing bill 08-0112, to create an ordinance requiring businesses open between midnight and 6 a.m. to get a special late-night business license, which would be subject to annual renewal.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for May 19 at 5 p.m.

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