Budget plan cuts tax rate Hopkins proposal expands recycling in Annapolis


Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins unveiled a budget Frida that would cut the city tax rate by 5 cents, expand curbside recycling efforts and provide a modest pay raise for most of the city's 500 workers.

The tax rate would go from $1.80 per $100 of assessed value to $1.75 to finance an operating budget of $38.2 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, about $1 million more than the current budget.

But while the tax rate would drop, the average tax bill will go up 7.1 percent because of increased assessments, city officials said. The city also kept the tax rate steady last year, while higher assessments pushed the average payments up 9 percent.

Mr. Hopkins' spending plan would expand curbside recycling, which is limited to bottles, cans and some yard waste, to include collection of newspapers and plastics. The yard waste program also would be expanded.

The budget also includes $600,000 to grant employees some modest cost-of-living pay increases. Exact amounts are still being negotiated with the city's labor unions.

Mr. Hopkins has asked for three newly named positions on the city work force, including a risk manager for the finance department and an equal employment opportunity/minority ,X business enterprise officer for the personnel department.

The budget also slices seven positions from the public works crew at the city landfill, but it adds a total of eight positions elsewhere: a yard waste recycling superintendent and three equipment operators, three drivers for transportation and a sewer collection and equipment operator.

The operating budget also includes an $8 million fund balance.

In his State of the City report, Mr. Hopkins said that the recession and slow recovery have forced the city to tighten its belt.

"While other jurisdictions have taken hits through higher taxes, budget deficits, layoffs, furloughs and service decreases or stoppages, Annapolis continued to move forward and even show a modest surplus," he wrote.

The mayor listed his administration's accomplishments over the past three years, including opening of the 540-space Gotts Court parking garage, refurbishing the Market House and City Hall, the implementation of curbside recycling, refurbishing State Circle, and completion of a visitors center, which is to open this summer.

The budget, which will be reviewed by the City Council's finance committee beginning May 10, must be adopted by the council by June 30.

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