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City of Annapolis may come up $400K short of funding from State for services

| February 10, 2020, 10:48 AM

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Last year, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, along with newly elected State Senator Sarah Elfreth, the late Speaker of the House Mike Busch, and freshman Delegate Alice Cain lobbied for money to reimburse the City of Annapolis for the costs associated with  hosting the State Government in the City. They were successful. Or so it seemed.

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For decades, the State has reimbursed the City $367,000 as a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for the services. These services include snow removal, public works, sidewalk repair and maintenance, police, fire and EMS coverage, etc. The State government is tax exempt and does not pay any taxes to the City for their 1.8 million square feet of property. Each year the City requested the funding and it was approved. In 2019, the City did not request the funding and it was not included in Governor Hogan’s 2020 budget.

Last year, the delegation for Annapolis (Senator Elfreth, Speaker Busch, and Delegate Cain) successfully passed a bill authorizing a $750,000 annual payment beginning with the 2021 budget (this year) and annual increases to keep up with inflation beginning in 2022.

The bill was not vetoed by Governor Hogan; however it was not signed by the Governor  and automatically became law without his signature.

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Eye On Annapolis has learned that the City of Annapolis will not be receiving the $750,000 as the Governor has used the Budget Reconciliation & Financing Act (BRFA) to cut that funding out of the budget. This act allows the Governor to cut mandated funding in a specific budget year.

Unfortunately, this may be a fight we have to wage every year in the BRFA despite the mandated funding. --State Senator Sarah Elfreth D-30 Click To Tweet

We reached out to State Senator Sarah Elfreth to get some insight and she explained that the Governor cut the funding back to the initial $367K per year for the City of Annapolis in addition to other cuts in order to balance the budget. She did say that she and her colleagues are working ti restore it and that it is possible to have it restored, but it is unknown at this point if their efforts will be successful.

Unfortunately, this year the Governor decided to use the Budget Reconciliation & Financing Act (BRFA) to cut the funding. BRFAs are used to balance a given year’s budget (in this case, Fiscal Year 2021) by one changing mandated funding for one budget year. The Governor cut the City’s PILOT funding back to what it was in past years (by approximately $400,000) for this FY. He also cut things like the Cade formula that funds community colleges and provider rates to those who work with the developmentally disabled community.
While it’s disappointing that the Governor does not see the value the City of Annapolis provides to State government – be it the police, fire, and EMS support, snow removal, or the costs of keeping up the City’s sidewalks and streets – the District 30 delegation is working with General Assembly leadership to see the PILOT cut restored to the mandated level. There are 58 days left in the 2020 session and we will be working everyday with our colleagues to restore that funding in this year’s budget.
–State Senator Sarah Elfreth
She also said, “Unfortunately, this may be a fight we have to wage every year in the BRFA despite the mandated funding.”
When asked about other funding for the City from the State (the Freedom of the Press Memorial and flood mitigation on City Dock)  and the creation of the financing authority to re-imagine City Dock, Senator Elfreth indicated that those monies were safe.
The Capital memorial funding is in the Capital Budget – totally different than the Operating Budget that the BRFA revises. The Capital Budget also has $700,000 to address flood mitigation at the City Dock. That is a follow up to the $1,000,000 the General Assembly put in the Budget for that last year and the $1.5M Speaker Busch put in the Budget the year prior to that. Again, all Capital Budget.
The Resilience Authority has nothing to do with any of this – it is merely a vehicle for the City and County to figure out how to fund. Nothing in that bill references the State Budget.
–State Senator Sarah Elfreth

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Category: Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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