From City Hall, the Baltimore Sun's Julie Scharper reports that the City Council will vote Monday night on a 2-cent tax on bottled beverages, to expire after three years.

City Hall sources say Councilwoman Helen Holton, who last week helped to defeat the 4-cent bottle tax backed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, has agreed to support the more modest measure following a meeting Monday afternoon with the mayor.

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Having voted against the 4-cent tax last week, Holton may file a motion to reconsider it on Monday night. The council is expected to amend the measure, cutting the tax in half and adding the sunset date, and approve it Monday night in a preliminary vote. A final vote would be held later this week.

Rawlings-Blake and the council have been negotiating the mix of new taxes and service cuts needed to close a $121 million budget gap by the end of the fiscal year June 30.

The 4-cent bottle tax, which officials say would have generated $11.4 million, failed last week when the council deadlocked 7-7. It is the only revenue-raising measure proposed by Rawlings-Blake that the council has not approved.

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