AFT-Maryland, in conjunction with partners from a large cross section of Baltimore (including labor, community activist and the religious community), told the Baltimore City Council it wouldn’t support the Sagamore development at Port Covington TIF unless some key demands were met. The City Council held a hearing on the Port Covington TIF on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at the Baltimore War Memorial building.
The collective called on the City Council to ensure that as property values increase, there would not be an adverse effect on city services and particularly education funding. There is a legitimate concern among the group that the high property values will reduce state aid to Baltimore City education, and the city will not have the revenues to compensate for lost state money.
There were also demands that called on the new development to have affordable housing. The extent to which the amount of housing will be affordable has been a topic of debate. Sagamore developers and lawyers have made claims of their “goals” but the labor/activist/religious coalition wants their demands written into the agreement before they support the City Council signing off on the largest TIF in Baltimore history.
AFT-Maryland Political Coordinator Todd Reynolds testified:
“guarantees must be included to assure the majority of sustainable jobs go to Baltimore City residents; the developer must adhere to project labor agreements with the building trades unions in the construction of facilities; at least 25% of the housing units must be set aside as affordable housing, subsidized up to 30% of AMI; and full transit service must be established to the site, with at least 4 bus lines from Central Baltimore to Port Covington.”
Taxation, Finance and Economic Development Committee Chairman Carl Stokes has promised more hearings and to slow walk the process to make sure the entirety of the city can benefit from the proposed development.