Baltimore Charter Decoded

Accessible Law for All People

§ II-66 Community Benefits District Authority – East Baltimore.

Editors Note: Chapter 645, Acts of 2010, which enacted this section, designated it as Article II, § (65). Inasmuch as § (65) was already occupied, the new section is codified here as Article II, § (66).

(a) Definitions.

(1) In general.

In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) Authority.

Authoritymeans the Community Benefits District Authority created in accordance with
this section and any ordinance enacted under this section.
(3) Board.

Boardmeans the Board of Directors of the Authority.

(4) District.

Districtmeans a community benefits district created in accordance with this section and
any ordinance enacted in accordance with this section.

(5) District taxes.

District taxesmeans the taxes and other charges in the nature of property taxes that are
authorized in accordance with this section and any ordinance enacted under this section.

(6) East Baltimore section.

East Baltimore sectionmeans that portion of Baltimore City generally bounded:
(i)on the west, by the westernmost property line of the properties facing Broadway;

(ii)on the north, by the rightofway of the railroad corridor used by Amtrak;

(iii) on the east, by the easternmost property line of the properties facing Patterson Park
Avenue; and

(iv) on the south, by the middle of Madison Street.

(7) Property tax.

Property taxhas the same meaning as stated in § 1101 of the TaxProperty Article of the
Annotated Code of Maryland.

(b) Ordinance to establish District and Authority.

Subject to subsection (n) of this section, the City may:

(1)establish, by ordinance, a District within the East Baltimore Section of the City of
Baltimore to be a special tax district and to provide services consistent with item (2) of
this subsection to the businesses and residents of the proposed district; and

(2)establish, by ordinance, an Authority to:

(i)administer the programs and activities to be conducted by the Authority;

(ii)promote and market the District;

(iii) provide supplemental security and maintenance services;

(iv) provide amenities in public areas;
(v)provide park and recreational programs and functions; and

(vi) provide other services and functions as approved by an ordinance of the Mayor
and City Council of Baltimore, provided that the services and functions shall be
provided within the District, or, to the extent authorized, within areas adjacent or
adjoining to the District.

(c) Elements of ordinance; district taxes.

The ordinance establishing the District and the Authority shall:

(1)specify the name for the District and the Authority;

(2)specify the method for establishing and modifying the boundaries of the District, which
may include methods by which:

(i)property owners may petition to be included in the District; and

(ii)property owners, tenants, or residents of blocks or portions of blocks {may?}
conduct a referendum to be included in the District;

(3)specify the powers and functions within the limits of this section that may be exercised by
the Authority;

(4)authorize the imposition of district taxes as the primary means of support for the District
and specify any limits on the district taxes;

(5)specify the duration of the District and the Authority, or the means by which the
continuance of the District and the Authority may be the subject of a further ordinance;

(6)provide for the collection of district taxes and for the prompt disbursement of the revenue
to the Authority subject to subsection (e) of this section;

(7)determine whether classes and subclasses of property in the District may be established
and the extent to which each class or subclass shall be subject to or exempt from district
taxes or varying rates of district taxes and the extent to which specific areas of the District
may exercise discretion as to the use of district taxes generated by the areas;

(8)specify the method for determining district taxes to be imposed on classes and subclasses
of property under this section, including the creation of credits against district taxes to
assist lowincome families;

(9)specify the extent to which the Authority may provide additional services for a fee either
within or outside the District; and

(10) determine the organization and method of initial appointment of officers and board
members of the Authority, subject to subsection (f) of this section.

(d) Financial plan required.
(1)The Authority shall establish a financial plan for the District when required by an ordinance
enacted under this section.

(2)The financial plan, including its annual budget, district tax rates, and schedule of other fees
and charges, shall be subject to approval by the Board of Estimates.

(3)The financial plan may include provisions for allocating resources to the particular needs of
the District, including allocations to particular sections of the District or to particular uses
within the District.

(e) Public hearing on financial plan; exemptions from district taxes.

(1)Before adopting its proposed budget and making its recommendations to the City, the
Authority shall hold a public hearing on the financial plan proposed for the District.

(2)The Authority shall publish notice of the hearing under paragraph (1) of this subsection in a
newspaper of general circulation in Baltimore City at least once a week for 3 consecutive
weeks before the hearing.

(3)Property in the District that is exempt under State law from ordinary property taxes shall be
exempt from district taxes.

(4)The Authority may request the owners of property exempt from taxes under paragraph (3) of
this subsection to voluntarily contribute to the costs of the Authority.

(f) Board of Directors.

(1)The governing body of the Authority shall be the Board of Directors.

(2)Each voting member of the Board shall be an owner, or, when the owner is a corporation,
limited liability company, partnership, trust, or any other legal entity, representatives of
owners of properties in the District that are subject to district taxes under this section.

(3)An ordinance enacted under this section may establish two or more classes of Board
members and may require certain actions to be made subject to the approval of each class of
board members.

(g) Powers and duties of Authority.

As provided by an ordinance enacted under this section, the Authority may:

(1)conduct the functions that are assigned to the Authority by the ordinance;

(2)acquire, hold, and use property necessary to achieve the Authoritys purposes;

(3)enter into contracts;

(4)sue and be sued, subject to subsection (h) of this section;

(5)borrow and accept grants;

(6)employ and discharge personnel;

(7)propose in the authoritys annual budget the district taxes in accordance with subsection
(e) of this section;

(8)adopt, amend, and modify bylaws, all of which shall be subject to the approval of the
Board of Estimates;

(9)establish and elect officers, and provide for terms of office and the duties of the officers;

(10) contract for and purchase goods and services in accordance with subsection (i) of this
section; and

(11) do all things necessary or convenient to carry out the Authoritys powers and obligations
under this section and the ordinance enacted under this section.

(h) Governmental immunity for Authority and District administrators.

The District, the Authority, the Board, and any administrator of the District shall benefit, to the
fullest extent allowable by law, from all provisions of federal, state, and local law limiting the
liability of employees, officers, agents, and officials of governmental units.

(i) Application of MBE/WBE Program.

The Authority shall be subject to City ordinances and City policy requiring achievement of goals
regarding minority and womens business enterprises.

(j) Limitations on Authoritys powers and duties.

The Authority may not:

(1)exercise any police or general powers other than those authorized by State law and City
ordinance;

(2)pledge the full faith or credit of the City;

(3)impose taxes or charges in excess of those approved by the Board of Estimates;

(4)exercise the power of eminent domain;

(5)engage in competition with the private sector, except as otherwise provided by law, and
as necessary to exercise the powers provided for under this section and in any ordinance
enacted under this section;

(6)except as otherwise provided in subsection (m) of this section, revert charges or taxes
collected in accordance with this section to the General Fund of the City;

(7)be an agency of the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore or the State of Maryland, and
its officers and employees may not act as agents or employees of the Mayor and City
Council of Baltimore or the State of Maryland;

(8)employ individuals who reside outside the City of Baltimore; and

(9)except as required or appropriate to facilitate its normal operations or to the extent
permitted by an ordinance enacted under this section, incur debt.

(k) Prerequisites for establishing District and Authority.

Before enacting an ordinance under this section, the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore shall:

(1)provide for public hearings during which consideration is given to the views of the
property owners, retail merchants, property tenants, and other members of the business
and residential communities within the proposed district;

(2)make a determination that the proposed district created reflects a diverse mix of business
and residential properties; and

(3)make a determination that the proposed district reflects a diverse economic, social, and
racial mix among its residents and within the working population employed in the
proposed district.

(l) City services not to be reduced.

The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore may not permit a reduction in the services provided by
the City in the District due to the establishment of the District or the Authority.

(m) Unspent funds on dissolution.

In the event of a dissolution of the District or the Authority, any unspent funds shall revert back
to the Citys General Fund.

(n) Process for approving District and Authority.

(1)An ordinance enacted under this section shall:

(i)establish the process for the approval of the creation of the District and the Authority;
and

(ii)provide that until the approval process is conducted and approval is achieved under
the process the District and the Authority may not be created, and the ordinance may
not become fully effective.

(2)The ordinance may provide:

(i)criteria for the eligibility of voters for purposes of the election required by the
ordinance; and
(ii)procedures for a special election required in this subsection, which may be
administered by write-in ballots.
(Ch. 645, Acts of 2010.)

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