Baltimore Charter Decoded

Accessible Law for All People

§ II-61 Downtown Commercial District Management Authority.

(a) Establishment, boundaries, etc.

(1)To establish a Downtown Commercial District Management Authority within the City of
Baltimore to do any or all of the following: promote or market the district; provide
supplementary security and maintenance services; and provide amenities in public areas.

(2)(i)To specify and modify the boundaries of the district but in no event outside the bounds of
lines as follows:

1. on the north, a line beginning at the Jones Falls Expressway, going west on Centre
Street to Park Avenue, then north on Park Avenue to Read Street, then northwest
on Read Street to Howard Street, then north on Howard Street to Martin Luther
King Boulevard, then southwest on Martin Luther King Boulevard to Eutaw
Street, then south on Eutaw Street to Franklin Street, then west to Greene Street;

2. on the west, Greene Street and Russell Street;

3. on the south, a line running generally westerly from Russell Street and Lee Street
to Lee Street and Light Street, and then following Light Street to Key Highway,
and then following Key Highway to Lawrence Street; and

4. on the east, the Jones Falls Expressway and President Street.

(ii)Notwithstanding subparagraph (i) of this paragraph, the district may include properties
binding on either side of the boundaries authorized under this subsection.

(3)To specify the powers and functions which may be exercised and conducted by the Authority
and the amount of benefit assessment charges which may be imposed on properties in the

(4)To specify the duration of the Authority.

(5)To provide for the imposition and collection of the taxes or charges, and for disbursement of
the revenue therefrom to the Authority. The financial plan of the Authority, including its
annual budget and its tax and fee schedule, shall be subject to approval by the Board of
Estimates. Taxes and charges imposed under this paragraph may not exceed those proposed
by the Authority.

(6)To determine the organization and method of initial appointment of board members of the
Authority, the majority of the members of the board shall be owners or representatives of
owners of properties in the district that are subject to taxes or charges under this section.

(b) Powers of Authority.

As provided by ordinance, the Authority may have the power:

(1)to be a special tax district or special benefits assessment district and to conduct the
functions which are assigned to it by the City.

(2)to acquire, hold and use property necessary to achieve its purposes.

(3)to make contracts; to sue and be sued.

(4)to accept grants.

(5)to borrow for purposes consistent with the public purposes of the Authority.

(6)to propose in its annual budget the taxes or charges on properties within the district. No
such amounts shall be levied against residential property with fewer than four dwelling
units. Property which is exempt under State law from ordinary property taxes shall be
exempt from assessments by the district. Before adopting its proposed budget and before
making its recommendation to the City, the Authority shall hold a public hearing on taxes
or charges proposed for the district. The Authority shall publish notice of the hearing in a
newspaper of general circulation in Baltimore City at least once a week for three
consecutive weeks before the hearing.

(7)to do all things necessary or convenient to carry out its powers.

(8)to adopt, amend and modify by-laws, all of which shall be subject to the approval of the
Board of Estimates.

(9)to establish and elect officers and provide for their terms and duties.

(10) to contract for and purchase goods and services, not subject to the City requirements
regarding wage scales, competitive bidding or other local procurement laws; however the
Authority shall be subject to City ordinances and City policy requiring achievement of
goals regarding minority and womens business enterprises.

(c) Limitations.
The Authority is subject to the following limitations:

(1)It is not permitted to exercise any police or general powers other than those authorized by
State law and City ordinance.

(2)It may not pledge the full faith or credit of the City.

(3)It cannot extend its life and it cannot modify its boundaries without City Council

(4)It cannot impose taxes, fees or assessments in excess of those approved by the Board of

(5)It cannot exercise the power of eminent domain.

(6)Except as otherwise authorized by law, it cannot engage in competition with the private

(7)Any fees, charges or taxes collected pursuant to this section shall be used only for the
purposes authorized under this section and may not revert to the General Fund of the

(8)It may not be an agency of the City of Baltimore or the State of Maryland.

(9)Employees of the Authority shall reside in the City of Baltimore.

(10) Subject to the approval of the Board of Estimates, it shall provide an adjustment of any
taxes and charges imposed on a specific property pursuant to this section based on the
current rate of occupancy of the property.

(d) Considerations.

In adopting an ordinance, the City Council shall give consideration to the views of the property
owners, the retail merchants, the hotels and motels, the property tenants, and the other members
of the business community within the district.

(e) Periodic review.

The Mayor and City Council shall review the effectiveness and desirability of continuing the
existence of any district established under this section every 5 years from the enactment of the

(f) Approval by property owners.

The Mayor and City Council shall establish a fair and equitable process for the approval and
adoption of an ordinance, under this section, by the property owners who are subject to taxes or
charges in the district.
(Ch. 604, Acts of 1992.)