Big Thursday: Debate on raising debt ceiling, modifying bus service

Two important events will be held Thursday at City Hall:

1)    The City Council will hold a special meeting, beginning at 4:30 p.m., to hear public testimony on a charter amendment to double the City’s debt limit to $20 million. A vote is expected to be held.

2)    The City Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing, beginning at 6 p.m., on several transit proposals, including fare increases, elimination of the C-40 line and other reductions in service.

The mayor encourages your participation at both events. For more information on both, I’ve pulled out a portion of the City’s weekly column in The Capital that ran today. Even more details, including links the specific transit proposals and legislation, are online at

If you cannot attend Thursday’s events, both events will be aired live on City TV (Verizon Channel 34 and Comcast Channel 99/100).

As always, please feel free to leave a comment below.

City Hall: Key meeting on borrowing capacity set for tomorrow

Tomorrow will mark an important day of meetings at City Hall.

Mayor Josh Cohen has called a special meeting of the City Council for 4:30 p.m. to hear public testimony and vote on a proposed charter amendment that would raise the city’s borrowing capacity to $20 million.

The administration seeks to double the borrowing capacity as a precaution amid its “cash-flow crisis,” according to the mayor. The administration plans to present the City Council an update on the city’s cash reserves and cash-flow projections into next year.

In presenting the charter amendment, the mayor made clear that the cash-flow crisis is caused by lack of cash on hand in the cash reserves.

Despite this temporary cash flow problem, the city’s annual fiscal 2011 operating budget remains balanced.

The city projects to end the fiscal year in June with a $2 million surplus, which it will use to begin replenishing the cash reserves.

The meeting is scheduled until 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 160 Duke of Gloucester St.

With recent financial projections indicating a dramatic drop in available cash going into the fall, the mayor is acting now – through the introduction of the charter amendment – to give the city another option to get through this period. (A charter amendment becomes law after 50 days.) If the City Council were to pass the charter amendment, the administration could then introduce a resolution to authorize borrowing funds up to the new limit. The meeting will be televised live on City TV (Verizon Channel 34 and Comcast Channel 99/100).

Another public meeting set for tomorrow is the city Transportation Department’s public hearing on proposed transit cuts, fare increases and other service changes, including the elimination of the C-40 line that connects Edgewater and Arnold.

The public hearing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. The public is also invited to attend a joint meeting of the City Council Transportation Committee, chaired by Alderman Ian Pfeiffer, and the citizen-run Transportation Board, chaired by former mayor Dean Johnson, from 8 to 9 p.m.

It will further weigh the proposed transit cuts, fare increases and other service changes. For city residents who cannot attend, the public hearing and the joint meeting will air live on City TV.

The purpose of this public hearing is to receive feedback on the following city proposals:

  • Elimination of C-40 route between Edgewater and Anne Arundel County Community College
  • Changing the start time of the bus service from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.
  • Elimination of transit services on all holidays that city administrative offices are closed
  • Increasing the base transit fare from $1 to $2
  • Charging $1 for the Navy Blue Shuttle service and eliminating the free fare zone
  • Consolidating or modifying the citywide route structure
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One Response to “Big Thursday: Debate on raising debt ceiling, modifying bus service”

  • mmschladen says:

    Hi Josh,

    This is not really a complaint, but yeah, it is. I just took my husband out for 64th his birthday at Stan and Joe’s. We parked on the street and saw, at 5:15, that the meters were in effect until 6. The meters take change (coins!), which no one actually has these days, right? So it was hot and we were tired and since we are otherwise scrupulous supporters of the local economy, we risked it and … ok, got a $20 ticket. We had a lot of fun and it was worth it. I don’t mind supporting the city of my birth.

    Better, however, it seems to me, to install MODERN parking machines such as we find in Baltimore and DC where you can use paper bills or a credit card. You get a little slip of paper to put on your dash. I would be happy to pay MORE to park for this convenience.

    So I come home and go online to pay my ticket. Despite the fact that my parking ticket LOOKS computer-generated, it’s not on the system yet. I will likely forget it during the 7-days the system states it takes to register. So my ticket will be 30, 50 whatever dollars when it finally gets back on my radar. I am starting to be frustrated.

    The city is not responsible for my bill tracking (I DID put it in my calendar to check back a week from now), but really, could we look at installing a modern system? I have to think we would do better economically over the long run. Local people will pay their tickets, but what about out-of-state visitors? If other states DO have reciprocity, what impression does that leave with our guests and what potential effect on tourism?

    What do you think?

    Thanks much and keep up the good work,

    Manon Maitland Schladen
    Washington Street, Eastport

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