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Resolution Wants Slot Funds for School Construction

Councilman Bill Henry wants all land lease funds from a city slots casino to go to school construction.

UPDATED (3:55 p.m.)—A councilman who represents North Baltimore wants all funds from the land lease of a proposed slot machine casino to go to school construction.

A Baltimore City Council resolution is scheduled to be introduced Monday calling on Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to dedicate all revenue from the land lease from a proposed video lottery terminal be dedicated to school construction and rehabilitation.

Councilman Bill Henry, who represents several North Baltimore neighborhoods, is the resolution’s sponsor.  

Henry said he introduced the resolution in part to show education advocates other ways that funds could be raised for new construction without increasing the city's bottle tax. He said that he would supoprt splitting revenues between property tax relief and school construction but that the revenue estimates from the slots keep being reduced. 

"I guess we'll need all of it [for school construction]," Henry said.

At the time former Mayor Sheila Dixon supported the state approving slots gaming because the funds could be used to reduce city property taxes. 

Last week Rawlings-Blake officially introduced her plan to increase the city’s contribution to and renovation by 140 percent. The mayor’s plan includes directing 10 percent—about $1.2 million—of estimated revenue from the lease to school construction.

The mayor’s plan also involves increasing the city’s bottle tax from 2 cents to 5 cents in an attempt to leverage about $300 million in bonds for school construction.

Henry does not support increasing the bottle tax and believes the city should try to increase its revenues through other means.

If the resolution passes it would not be binding because the council does not have the power to dictate how a mayor spends funds in the budget.

Water Bills

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Councilman Carl Stokes, who represents parts of Charles Village and Remington, will introduce a resolution calling on the city to halt the tax sales of homes for unpaid water and sewer bills.

The resolution for the moratorium would last at least two years or until the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Works can show a viable billing system is in place.

The resolution comes on the heels of revelations about massive problems with the city’s billing procedures.

Tom Kiefaber March 06, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Councilman Henry is a gadfly city council member who often elevates a public "issue', calculated to elicit media attention yet he will go-to-ground & abandon association with a pet issue if the tide of reality turns against a project he once loudly endorsed & supported. Mr. Henry embraced his center stage role as the go-to, 4th district, City Hall rep. when The Senator Theatre's fate was a compelling issue in the media. He explained away matters of real concern, matters that have now come home to roost with a ominous thud. Councilman Henry was an outspoken BDC supporter, & enthusiastically backed a first-run, movies-only expansion plan, scoffing at the alarming downward industry trends & valid concerns raised by the 2250+ members of the Friends of The Senator (FOTS) advocacy organization. Now that The Senator's first-year attendance figures have woefully missed projections by over 40%! , the Councilman has turned his back on the grant-funded public Senator project, which now requires millions more in taxpayer cash from the city & state. Patch readers should note the pattern of a pandering career politician, who refuses to address valid concerns & respond to constituent confusion over the rising costs of a controversial citizen-owned city project in disarray. Opportunistic politicians working our corrupt & poorly led city government for calculated political expediency can't be allowed to simply jettison a misfire foisted on the taxpayers, when a pet project goes sour.
AnnKangarouse March 06, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Ask him about the volunteers who he brought on board to help him "Save the Senator". Mayfair. Fraud company that never really existed. He tried to pass on $100k of city dollars to these ladies.....
AnnKangarouse March 06, 2012 at 08:03 PM
If you knew Henry how I know Henry... I've had direct intersation with this guy for years, and it ain't good. From the 'freebies' I had to provide him, to the envelopes of cash for his 'friends' whom he brought on board to "Save The Senator". (his words) He's a cad and a weasel. A big weasel. He is NOT to be trusted by any and all taxpayers.
AnnKangarouse March 06, 2012 at 08:42 PM
He was ethically challenged from waaaaay back. Bringing a group of friends in, then leaving with them b/c I wouldn't let them in w/o tickets. That's when I knew, even back then that he wasn't straight. Then the party room rentals over the years. The "If you help me I'll help you/I want my name on the marquee" speech in the corner of the outer lobby..... And then........ his "I'm going to save the senator" promises.... Mayfair.... and the rest...is history. I just realized Tom, that I am responding to a comment that was glitched again by Patch administrators. I'll copy and paste below....
AnnKangarouse March 06, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Tom Kiefaber commented on the article Resolution Wants Slot Funds for School Construction "IamGayle, I must assume that whatever envelopes with cash were passed to Henry's "close associates" during that shakedown period were duly reported by them as income to the IRS. It was a very odd set of circumstances with Councilman Henry & Friends, Inc, wasn't it? The polite description from our direct experience, was that that our elected official in the 4th district is ethically challenged, at a minimum and now won't comment at all about what's on the record. And the beat goes on." View the updated article and reply to the comment.

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