Port Covington Project Hangs In the Balance After Councilman Delays Vote

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—In an unexpected hiccup for the Port Covington deal, Baltimore City Council tables an important vote that would provide significant funding for the project.

A vote at the War Memorial Plaza building was supposed to bring the Port Covington deal one step closer to reality, but there was a surprise move Thursday night.

A third bill that would release $660 million in bonds to pay for part of the Port Covington deal was tabled!

The two other bills on the table did pass on Thursday night, including one that would make Port Covington a district and the second, which will create the ability to tax property on the land.

Councilman Carl Stokes says this move will give the public more time to review the plan.

“At worst, we will pass two of these bills Monday, at worst, we will pass the third one, the following Monday,” he said.

Just hours before, developers were side-by-side with city leaders and it seemed like moving forward was a done deal.

“Let’s put people to work. Let’s get cranes in the sky. Let’s get good dollars flowing in baltimore paychecks,” said Tom Geddes, CEO of Plank Industries.

“We have found common ground that will turn a page in Baltimore’s history,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

And while city leaders say development here at Port Covington will spur employment in the city for generations to come, opponents of the deal say it’s still not good enough.

Labor unions said the deal should include more opportunities for local workers and more money.

“This is just another bad deal for the city. It’s full of promises and not commitments, it’s a hundred million dollar worth of promises,” said Jermaine Jones, with Labor International Union of North America.

Councilman Stokes says he’s still confident the committee will vote on the third bill within a week.

“We may still pass all three of them this following Monday. So there is no negative blow back frankly.”

Stokes says this short delay will give the public a chance to review the $660 million in tax incremental financing the city will provide to developers.

The two bills that the committee passed tonight will go up for a full city council vote on Monday.

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