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Icon Information on BRG43 - (Comptroller)

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This department has undergone many changes since its creation in 1857, but its basic function to supervise the financial matters of the city has remained unchanged. A comptroller was appointed "to examine, audit, adjust and settle all accounts whatsoever, in which the corporation is concerned, either as debtor or creditor...." The majority of the documents in this record group pertain to the audit function and include cash books, journals, ledgers, and monthly statements. For audit records pre-dating the comptroller's creation see the city register records (RG 32) and city auditor records (RG 6). From 1926 until 1964 the audit function was removed from the comptroller to an independent city auditor, but in 1964 a department of audits was created and placed again under the comptroller.

A second responsibility of the nineteenth century comptroller was to oversee the expenditures of funds appropriated by the mayor and city council. Several of the early appropriation ledgers are in this record group, but currently appropriations ledgers are destroyed after a fifteen year retention period.

From its inception the comptroller's department has been responsible for property owned by the city. In the early years this meant keeping a record of the land titles and seeing that the property was maintained in good condition and regularly insured. The early land records are the indexes to deeds to city property. Records from the twentieth century include one land record ledger and several plat books (for other plats see RG 12, series 1). Current files on property acquired for the city by the real estate division of the comptroller's department are destroyed when the transaction is completed and the information is found in the law department and the land record office of the city court system. 

When created in 1857 the comptroller also was responsible for issuing licenses such as those for markets, wagons, carts, and theaters; market licenses are in RG 42.

The administrative files of the comptroller from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have not survived (except for a small amount, 1905-24, in series 1). Currently some of the comptroller's administrative files are mixed in with the board of estimates' files (RG 36) since the comptroller is a permanent member of this board and its clerk is the deputy comptroller. 

For more information see Jacob H. Hollander, The Financial History of Baltimore (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1899); Baltimore City Charter of 1946, sects. 40-44, and 1964, art. 5, sects. 1-9; Baltimore City Code, 1976 ed., art. 5; ord. 555 (1926); and ords. 843 and 846 (1926).

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DateSeries NameDescriptionMSA Citation
  Details1857-1923JournalsAnnual records of money brought in and paid out by the city register. These funds are broken down by city agency up to 1897; after that the monthly entries are shortened to one figure except in January and December.BRG43-1
  Details1857-1920LedgersOne volume per year. This is the final record of money brought in and paid out by the city register. It is organized by agency, and there are monthly entries for amounts spent for functions such as public schools, garbage, and opening streets.BRG43-2
  Details1887-1923Cash BooksA daily record of cash received and paid out. Until 1903 there is no listing of from whom the money was received and to whom it was credited. The city register's cash books are much more detailed.BRG43-3
  Details1925-1951Monthly StatementsThese statements were published at the end of each month first by the bureau of disbursements and later by the comptroller's bureau of accounts and disbursements. It was a statement of appropriations and revenue accounts and was broken down by these accounts. These statements are currently produced by the department of finance, accounting operations and are retained permanently.BRG43-4
  Details1876-1890, 1920-1928Appropriations LedgerThese ledgers record how much was appropriated and how much of the appropriation was used. Currently appropriations ledgers are retained fifteen years and destroyed since the information is available in other forms.BRG43-5
  Details Land RecordsIndexes to deeds of property owned by the mayor and city council, 1854-1904, providing a synopsis of the deed. There also is one volume of property acquired by tax sale, 1889-1926. A group of twentieth century land records are available on microfilm: an undated land ledger which records each piece of land owned or leased by the city organized by the agency using it (BCA 399) and four reels (BCA 400-03) of plats.BRG43-6
  Details1905-1924HRS Indexed RecordsThis group of records is only a small part of the comptroller's administrative files, but these are apparently the only extant records from this period (for later files see RG 36). These files consist of correspondence concerning the Burnt District Commission (1905), the lease of conduit space (1914-16), the sale of the Warren Mill cotton duck factory equipment (1922), and miscellaneous sources of city income, including the Baltimore Symphony receipts (1920-24).BRG43-7
  Details1943Ground Rents Index

This listing, revised to January 1, 1943, contains all ground rents payable on city property as of that date. The index contains the location, payer, type of property (e.g. Civic Center, City Hall, schools, stables, viaducts, engine houses), frequency of payments, rate per period and per year, and the title page number for each property.

Available on microfilm only (BCA 1430).

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