Petition drive fails for vote on revenue authority


The Annapolis city council will be told tonight that a group of residents failed to get a referendum on a charter amendment allowing the city government to establish a revenue authority.

Officials from the city Board of Supervisors of Elections will present their report to the council at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

More than 60 residents collected about 2,500 signatures, but could not deliver the 3,700 necessary by the June 17 deadline, city officials and residents said.

In May, the council voted 5-3 to approve a charter amendment giving the city the power to create a revenue authority, a non-elected board that finds ways to pay for large-scale projects.

The next day, several downtown residents began mobilizing against the authority, saying that such entities contain hidden costs for cities and eliminate a critical layer of public participation and scrutiny.

The city had tried to establish a revenue authority through the state legislature, but after repeated failures, voted to give itself the power to form the panel.

By law, the council may form a revenue authority as early as tomorrow. But Finance Committee Chairman Carl O. Snowden has said that the council won't name the board until fall.

Supporters of the revenue authority, including Mr. Snowden, contend that the financing organization would avoid the red tape that surrounds many large government-sponsored development projects.

Revenue authorities sell bonds and collect fees to finance high-priced projects, from stadiums to parking garages. An authority is governed by board members who are appointed by local government officials but whose decisions are not directly approved by residents.

The council also has scheduled a public hearing on a conditional-use application filed by Portland Lobster Inc. for an establishment in the 1900 block of Lincoln Drive in Annapolis. The council also will hear a report by the Public Works Department on a water main extension to Arundel on the Bay Road.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad