Plan restores Sunday bus service, full trash pickup


After a month of meetings and discussion, the Annapolis City Council's Finance Committee has devised a 1995 budget that would restore twice-a-week garbage collection and Sunday bus service.

A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held at 6 tonight.

Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins' $37.8 million budget, proposed last month, would reduce trash collection and eliminate 13 public works employees. The mayor's plan also would cut Sunday bus service, increase parking meter fees and fines and raise the property tax rate by 7 cents.

The finance committee's $38.5

million proposal would keep the mayor's tax increase and the higher parking fees. The cost of metered parking would rise from 50 cents an hour to $1 an hour. Fines for parking violations would double, going from $10 to $20.

The committee's suggested increase in the charge for monthly parking permits in city garages would bring in an additional $162,000.

Slip taxes at city marinas would be reduced to 5 percent -- the same as the county's tax.

The committee would not change the mayor's suggested 3 percent cost-of-living raise for city employees or his proposal to privatize commercial garbage collection in the downtown. It does recommend reducing the number of garbage collectors through attrition rather than layoffs.

"It's an austere budget," said Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, a Democrat from Ward 8 and chairwoman of the

finance committee. "But the quality of services to the public are being met."

Highlights of the finance committee's recommendations include:

* Increasing the cost of parking in city garages from $70 to $100.

* Allowing city residents to purchase $25 permits that would entitle them to park at downtown businesses for up to two hours at a time.

* Adding $20,000 to the community policing program.

* Providing $30,000 for an audit of the city's relationship with the county, which has decreased its contributions to the city budget and is asking city taxpayers to pay more in fees. * Restoring $20,000 to Historic Annapolis' archaeology program, and $25,000 for playground equipment.

* Providing $50,000 to plan new space for the Office of Planning and Zoning.

* Creating a new bureau under the mayor's office that would consolidate the offices related to public relations and economic matters.

In restoring some of the programs and services the mayor wanted to cut, the committee found new ways to save money and increase revenue.

A major savings would come from postponing the purchase of new parking meters. Instead of buying the meters all at once, the committee suggested buying them over two years, saving $198,000.

Additional money would come from the proposed sale of the fire house on Duke of Gloucester Street, which contains the Office of Planning and Zoning.

The committee also suggests requiring businesses to buy $25 licenses. This would bring in $50,000 to help carry out the city's comprehensive and sector plans.

The entire council will vote on the budget June 13.

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