Baltimore Grapples With Vacant Rowhouses And Balancing Budget | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Baltimore Grapples With Vacant Rowhouses And Balancing Budget

Play associated audio

By Cathy Duchamp

The Baltimore City Council takes its final vote tonight at 5 p.m. on a package of tax and fee increases that will help rein in a $121 million budget deficit. Among the measures: a fee on vacant houses.

Boarded up row houses are part of the Baltimore landscape. Not a good part, says Matthew Gonter.

"I know one house over here, a prostitute was using it one day," he says. "She lit a candle and the whole house caught fire."

Gonter is doing a little show-and-tell of his Patterson Park neighborhood. He wants Baltimore to follow D.C.’s lead in issuing higher taxes on vacant property.

"My ultimate goal is to make it unfeasible for landlords to continue the status quo and either fix up their properties or sell them, because they’ll no longer be able to afford the taxes on them," he says.

The Baltimore City Council didn’t go with that strategy, saying it hurts non-profits who can’t get the loans to fix up empty houses. Instead, the council is expected to adopt a new registration fee for vacant buildings.

Gonter is disappointed. But he’ll continue to lobby for ways to get vacant property owners to take action, instead of waiting for the economy to turn around.

NPR

5 Under-The-Radar Reads From Librarian Nancy Pearl

Pearl shares the books she loved this year that you might not have heard of. Her list includes a Hollywood satire, two thrillers, a young adult novel and a nonfiction book about World War I.
NPR

What The Change In U.S.-Cuba Relations Might Mean For Food

The decision to normalize relations is driving all kinds of speculation about American food companies opening up shop in Cuba. But analysts say: Don't expect to see McDonald's there anytime soon.
NPR

3 Business Best-Sellers Show Inequality Is Now The Hot Topic

Many business books try to help you get rich quick. But three of 2014's biggest sellers focused on unfairness and inequality. Economists say expect more: Books on inequality are riding a huge wave.
NPR

U.S. Authorities Investigate, Sony Reels From Computer Hack

The White House has stopped short of naming North Korea as the aggressor in the cyberattack against Sony Pictures. That hack resulted in the cancellation of the film The Interview.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.