Baltimore | WYPR

Baltimore

Rachel Baye

On sunny days, you might have to look a little harder to find evidence of sewage overflows on the Jones Falls Trail. But it’s there.

P. Kenneth Burns

As expected, the Baltimore City Council passed Monday the largest tax financing package for a development in city history.

The 12-1-2 vote – for each bill - came after months of controversy over the size of the tax package and requirements for jobs, wages and housing.  The three-bill package creates the Port Covington development and taxing districts and authorizes $660 million in tax bonds to finance infrastructure work at the site.

The bonds would be repaid with property tax revenue generated by the profit.

Councilmen Bill Henry and Mary Pat Clarke abstained from voting on the package.  Councilman Warren Branch voted against the bills.

A Baltimore mayoral commission released Wednesday formalized recommendations to remove two city-owned Confederate monuments.

The commission studied four monuments in particular; the Lee Jackson Monument in the Wyman Park Dell, the Roger B. Taney Monument at Mt. Vernon Place, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mt. Royal Avenue near Mosher Street and the Confederate Women’s of Maryland Monument at Bishop Square Park.

In January, it recommended removing the monuments to Taney, author of the Dred Scott decision, and Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and keeping the other two.

The report also explained the history behind each monument.

P. Kenneth Burns

The Baltimore City Council gave preliminary approval Monday to a tax financing package for the proposed Port Covington development project.  The package is expected to pass a final vote at the council’s next meeting Sept. 19.

But Monday’s vote didn’t come before some members said they were concerned about how one of the bills – authorizing $660 million in tax bonds – was moved out of committee and to the full council.

P. Kenneth Burns

The Baltimore City Council will get a look Monday at all three bills that are part of the largest tax financing package for a development project in city history.  That’s because Councilman Eric Costello led efforts to wrest the bill authorizing bonds for the Port Covington project out of its committee.

P. Kenneth Burns

A Baltimore City Council committee voted Thursday night to send two bills to the full city council as part of a tax financing package for the Port Covington project.

The first bill designates the development district while the other creates the tax district for the South Baltimore project. The vote on the third bill to authorize $660 million in tax bonds did not take place.

That’s because Councilman Carl Stokes, the committee chair, wanted to give interested parties time for further review. He ended the meeting without calling for a vote on the bond measure.

P. Kenneth Burns

The Baltimore Board of Estimates approved Wednesday a multi-year increase in city water and sewer rates.  The board took the action after a nearly three hour public hearing in which everyone who testified opposed the increase.

The vote was 3-2.  Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake along with her appointees; Public Works Director Rudy Chow and Interim City Solicitor David Ralph, voted for the increase.  City Council President Jack Young and Comptroller Joan Pratt opposed it.

The mayor said the city’s water infrastructure has been “languishing for decades;” that the “can has been kicked down the road” and it needs to be modernized.

P. Kenneth Burns

A report issued four years ago by the Baltimore police union expressed the same concerns about zero-tolerance enforcement and training issues as the caustic Justice Department report on the Baltimore Police Department two weeks ago.

In fact, the federal report cited several times a “Blueprint for Improved Policing” published by the city Fraternal Order of Police in 2012.

The chief spokesman for Baltimore police insists that a trial program in which a manned plane with cameras flies over the city and feeds information to law enforcement was not a secret.

Aaron Webb / Flickr / Creative Commons

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is pledging at least $1 million in grants to help groups that serve victims of sexual assault in Baltimore after the Justice Department found the police department's responses to sexual assault "grossly inadequate."

The Republican governor said Thursday that the money represents immediate action to improve services to victims.

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