Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is trying to craft a budget that will trim expenses and property taxes to encourage an increase to the population ("First step to a better Baltimore," March 21). Reducing excessive city employees is a good first step.
The big payoff would come from reexamining things the city does that are not done by competing, lower-tax suburbs. The mayor should engage an expert like former county executives Jim Smith of Baltimore County or Doug Duncan of Montgomery County to analyze things the city started doing when it was the largest, wealthiest jurisdiction, many of which enhance suburbanites' quality of life, that are no longer essential or affordable, and use the potential savings to help the city approach suburban tax rates.
History has shown that potential residents do not value these extra services the city provides as much as they object to the tax rate required to pay for them.
James Kelly, Ellicott CityCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun