Annapolis mayor to offer budget plan for 2001 at council meeting tomorrow; Housing officials to resume hearings on five-year plan


Annapolis Mayor Dean L. Johnson is scheduled to deliver the state of the city address at the city council meeting tomorrow night and introduce his proposed 2001 budget.

Johnson will present his plan at 7: 30 p.m. in the council chambers. A public hearing is scheduled for May 1.

Last year, Johnson introduced a $44.1 million operating budget with a 4.3 percent increase in spending without an increase in property taxes. The budget passed with a cut in property taxes by 2 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Earlier Monday, the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis will continue its public hearing on the proposed five-year plan. A large turnout is expected for the hearing, scheduled to begin at 4: 30 p.m. at Eastport Terrace/Harbor House Recreation Center.

More than 45 people attended the first hearing March 28, which was extended after residents' complained that they didn't get enough time to thoroughly review the plan.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires housing authorities to submit five-year plans outlining goals. The telephone book-thick plan must be submitted to HUD by Saturday -- the required 75 days before the agency's fiscal year ends.

Howard Pinskey, chairman of the authority's board of commissioners, said the commissioners and executive director will take testimony at the hearing. Comments and concerns will be answered by the Housing Authority staff and will be submitted to HUD with the plan.

Residents of the city's 10 public housing complexes and community activists have been vocal in the past six weeks about the poor living conditions at some of the developments and of new policies, such as limiting electrical appliances.

With some of the oldest public housing in the country, Pinskey said, it is going to take the authority time to make all the needed improvements: "We cannot correct things that have had 20 years to deteriorate in just two years."

The authority has about 3,000 residents in 1,100 units.

More than 70 people attended a public hearing about housing conditions at the complexes Thursday held by the city's Human Relations Commission. The commissioners, volunteers appointed by the mayor, took testimony from more than 20 people. Residents spoke of leaking raw sewage, lack of youth recreational facilities and slow maintenance. Some complained they don't want to lose the right to use extra freezers or air conditioners under the new policy.

"I know it's affordable housing," said Patricia Holliday, president of the Annapolis Gardens tenant council, "but, what about affordable and decent housing?"

Michael Keller, chairman of the Human Relations Commission, said a report will be made summarizing each person's comments and sent to the Housing Authority and the O'Bery Court/College Creek tenant council, which requested the hearing. A consolidated report will be sent to the mayor and city council.

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