Baltimore's Board of Estimates approved a $100,000 increase yesterday to a city contract for agencies to purchase T-shirts and athletic clothing through May.
The additional funds will bring the total authorized amount to $348,206.
At yesterday's pre-meeting for the Board of Estimates, Councilman Robert W. Curran said the amount seemed high and asked for more information.
"I'm just questioning this kind of expense during this time of austerity," he said later.
The city contract is with Columbia-based Nightmare Graphics Inc. and started in February 2007. This is the third time the amount has increased.
Most of the funds have been spent by the Department of Parks and Recreation, which has used $135,394 for shirts during events, according to the purchasing department.
The shirts are given to youths at city camps and for uniforms, said Tracey Diener, a sales manager for Nightmare Graphics. The agency recently requested 900 shirts for a "broomball event" in Patterson Park and about 200 for the "Fit Baltimore" kickoff. Diener said each T-shirt costs about $5.
The city's Police Department spent about $23,000 on polo shirts for officers assigned to evidence control, the shooting range and communications, said a department spokesman. The department said uniforms are one area it is looking at to shave about $17 million from next year's budget.
The Fire Department used $19,955 to outfit about 150 recruits while they were in the training academy, said a fire spokesman.