The City Council amended the city charter Monday, empowering the mayor to appoint additional election judges for May's municipal election.

With increases in voter registration expected, Mayor W. Benjamin Brown has sought more judges and an additional polling place. The mayor had warned that a crush of voters would overrun the three election judges on hand last May 13 at Westminster's only voting location, the volunteer fire company on Main Street.

Half of Brown's wish was granted Monday.

The council remained unconvinced that voter turnout would jump as dramatically as the mayor predicts, and introduced the ordinance last month only after the provisions for an additional polling place had been removed.

Councilman William F. Haifley charged that the mayor simply wanted a poll closer to his constituent base on the city's west side. Brown denied that charge and the notion that the base of his supporters lives in that part of the city. He said he proposed a west-side location solely for logistical reasons.

The mayor was ill Monday and did not attendthe meeting. The charter amendment measure -- which allows three more judges -- was passed unanimously by the council.

Also Monday, the council introduced an ordinance to rescind a moratorium on sewer hookup permits for residential developments. The moratorium was enacted18 months ago to allow upgrade and expansion work on the city's wastewater treatment plant to near completion before adding more capacity.

A recommendation for rescinding the moratorium was issued recently by the city's ad hoc growth committee. Work on the treatment plantis expected to conclude in October.

And on Monday, the council amended the city code to allow taxi companies to apply for cab permits for drivers they hire who own their own cabs.

In the past, many taxi companies owned the vehicles and simply hired drivers. But more and more cab companies are hiring drivers who own their own vehicles.

The council also received a consultant's briefing on a computer-mapping system the city is looking into purchasing. The council receiveda 62-page report from Greenhorne & O'Mara Inc. on how the city could apply the system.

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