By Special Release from the Office of City Council President and Comptroller of Baltimore City
The following statement was read by the Clerk to the Board of Estimates on February 15th.
“The proposed underground conduit system agreement with BGE, which we believe allows BGE to reduce its fee structure and receive complete control of capital improvements, warrants time for public discussion and a thorough explanation as to the full impact this will have on the people of Baltimore now and in the future.
We asked that this item be deferred until March 15 to allow more questions to be answered for us, the public, and the other users of the Baltimore City conduit system.
The Law Department informed us late yesterday that it is the intent of the administration to move forward regardless of our request, citing Board Rules preventing a deferral without a majority vote if the effect of the deferral in their opinion would be “to prevent any meaningful implementation of the item for its intended purpose, even if subsequently approved at a later meeting.”
The City should not rush into this agreement. The public and users of our conduit system should be afforded the opportunity to ask and have their questions answered. Given the position of the administration, we have no other recourse than to remove ourselves from today’s meeting, eliminating the required quorum of five members to vote on all Board matters.
We do not believe a decision of this magnitude should be driven by a single user – or even the largest user – and filing deadlines. And we continue to question not only the terms proposed but the non-inclusive, liability-only approach to reach those terms.
Given our responsibility as members of this Board – to act as guardians of the City’s interests – we must respectfully choose the only option we have that will afford additional time for a more informed, inclusive, and transparent process.
We extend our sincerest apologies to the agencies, organizations, and attendees who will be inconvenienced by us taking these unprecedented steps.”
The Council President and Comptroller will hold a press availability at 11 am at War Memorial Plaza, in front of City Hall.