The D.C. City Council yesterday held up a routine request from Mayor Marion Barry for authority to borrow $145 million in capital improvements funds, contending that the mayor had failed to provide information on how $63 million of the money would be spent.
The council, which has long feuded with the mayor over the city's inability to routinely specify where capital budget funds are spent, put off a decision on the request until Tuesday.
"I think you have heard the enormous unhappiness of, I think, every member of the council, and I concur," Council member Polly Shackleton (D-Ward 3) told the mayor's budget aides in a hearing yesterday.
The mayor has provided detailed information only on capital expenditures to be made in the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Those expenditures account for about $82 million of the total $145 million the city wants to borrow.
Yesterday the council, meeting as the committee of the whole, asked Budget Director Elizabeth (Betsy) Reveal to provide a list of the projects to be funded by the remaining $63 million.
The mayor's budget aides, who were caught off guard by the council's action yesterday, said they would supply the requested list by Friday.
They argued in vain that their capital budget request was virtually identical to last year's procedure, which the council approved.
That request had about $88 million in unspecified funds that overlapped fiscal years, Reveal said.
Council Chairman David A. Clarke said later that the additional information was required under the congressional authorization for the city's fiscal 1983 budget.
William Kao, assistant treasurer, said the city needs quick approval to borrow the money because it has spent all of its capital improvement funds and is currently dipping into its cash-short operating budget to pay about $15 million a month to keep construction projects going.
Reveal said the city wants authority to borrow all of the $145 million now because President Reagan's administration has asked Congress to cut off the city's access to the U.S. Treasury after fiscal year 1984.