A weak City Council in Baltimore is a century-old tradition. Fed up with the machine politicians who controlled the council, state legislators voted in 1898 to rip budgeting power away from the body — leaving only the mayor the ability to both cut and add to the spending plan. That charter amendment was coupled with others that also strengthened the power of the mayor, cementing the city’s strong-mayor status for decades to come. The mayor-controlled Board of Estimates was created, and the mayor’s term extended from two years to four.
For the first time in 125 years, Baltimore City Council will have budgeting power. What will that look like?
April 5, 2023