About 10,000 District of Columbia homeowners must wait at least two weeks to find out if they will get another chance to reduce this year's real estate taxes on their homes.
The D.C. City Council, at its first meeting after a month-long recess, voted yesterday to delay action on a proposal that would give homeowners until Nov. 30 to file affidavits qualifying them for a tax exemption and a lower tax rate. The vote was 8 to 4.
In the meantime, city officials said, all taxpayers must pay the first installment of the tax by next Monday, even if it is at a higher rate than they might qualify for.
There seemed little doubt yesterday that the Council eventually will approve the measure, which would give affected taxpayers credit on the second installment due next March.
Mayor Marion Barry made the proposal after hundreds of taxpayers complained that they had filed homeowner affidavits by the July 2 deadline, but failed to get credit when their tax bills were sent out in August. City finance officials blamed taxpayers for failing to submit the forms.
John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2), chairman of the Council's Finance and Revenue Committee, said 52,000 homeowners filed affidavits by the July deadline, about 10,000 fewer than last year.
But, based on phone calls he had received, Wilson said, "it seems there is some mess-up in the Department of Finance." He urged that action be delayed on the proposal until Barry explains how the program will be administered during the extension.
The affidavits exempt taxpayers from paying any taxes on the first $9,000 of assessed value of homes they occupy and qualify them to be taxed on the balance at the rate of $1.22 for each $100 of valuation. Otherwise the tax would be at a rate of $1.54 per $100.
The owner of a home valued at $60,000, for example, would save $302 by filing the affidavits.
Voting to delay the bill, on a motion by William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5), were: Spaulding, Betty Ann Kane, Wilson, Arrington Dixon (D-chairman-- At Large), Willie J. Hardy (D-Ward 7), Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), Jerry A. Moore (R-At Large) and John L. Ray (D-At Large). Voting against a delay were Polly Shackleton, (D-Ward 3), David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1), Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large) and Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8). Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6) was out of the chamber when the vote was taken.
The Council also voted to set up a five-member board of directors for the convention center to be built near Mount Vernon Square, and to establish rules for its management. ing to open roads for the 89th annual Rock Creek fair next Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Pierce Mill grounds at Beach Drive and Tilden Street NW.
A National zoo police spokesman said the zoo did not sustain substantial damage. Although some trees were uprooted and fences damaged on zoo grounds, the zoo has maintained normal operating hours since Saturday.
"Most of the money will be spent on the roadways and bridges," Redmond said. "We get quite a few floods here, but not of the magnitude of this one, which we call a 15-year flood because something like this happens about every 15 years. I was surprised that the park was not damaged even more."
Tropical Storm Agnes caused far more damage to the park in 1972, park officials said.
Redmond said his work crews have identified 38 repair projects in the aftermath of the storm. One, at a cost of $25,000, will restore a small foot bridge a few yards south of Pierce Mill where Washingtonians rent roller skates and bicyclists stop to picnic every Sunday.
Other projects include spending $7,500 to replace 385 feet of bike trial between Massachusetts Avenue and Parkway Bridge that washed away; spending $11,000 for sunken paving, twisted sidewalk and drains at the Stone arch Parkway bridge near Calvert Street and Connecticut Avenue, and $40,000 worth of repairs to a low-level bicycle bridge near the National Zoo and Klingle Road. Eight bridges were damaged.
Redmond estimated that 100 trees that are down or damaged need to be removed and 100 trees have to be replaced, a total cost of $35,000.
As he walked along the creek bank yesterday, showing a visitor the extensive damage, Redmond, a Maryland resident with 23 years' park service, pointed to gullies where the bike trial was, chunks of roadway against bridge pilings and debris littering the banks.
Yesterday, several joggers ran past Redmond, heels kicking high. Yards away, a couple nestled close together sat atop a huge stone.
"The beauty of the park has been marred by this storm," Redmond said, turning his head and surveying the damage.
"But nature has a way of healing its wounds," he said. "Nature could take care of much of this [damage], but we can do it faster.
"A year from now, barring another flood, you will have to search for the scars."