On June 17, the Baltimore City Council passed the $2.4 billion 2014 budget for the fiscal year which, is set to go into effect July 1.
The new budget is supposed to essentially change the way the city does business and marks the first major step in implementing the ten-year financial plan.
The plan will assist in eliminating a $750 million structural budget deficit that protects public safety from budget cuts, aid with school renovations, allow new investments in neighborhood infrastructure and reduce the property tax burden on city homeowners.
Under the budget the property tax cuts for homeowners will amount to 10-cent cut over a two-year span.
According to a report released by Public Financial Management, a Philadelphia-based consulting firm, Baltimore was listed as one of five U.S. cities headed toward fiinancial ruin and state takeover.
The $2.4 billion budget will close a $30 million shortfall. It will allow the city to meet demand for public schools, hire new police officers, and pay for street repairs and after-school programs.
The 2014 budget will also provide 5,000 youth works children summer jobs, fund a small business resource center and help expand the emerging technology center incubator program.
The budget addresses a long list of issues embraced by the mayor, including an overhaul of the current pension plan for city employees, a state-mandated stormwater and solid waste fund, cuts to the city's workforce driven by technological advances and a continued push towards the her “Vacants to Value” initiative to eliminate blight in the city.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake applauded city lawmakers for approving the 2014 budget.
She said, “I want to take a moment to thank you, Mr. President, the board of Estimates and members of the city council for approving the fiscal 2014 budget.”
Councilman Brandon Scott told the AFRO, “ This new budget is huge” and is a legislative achievement that he said, he is most “proud of since serving as a councilman.”
“The budget is to help us make smart investments that … help to get Baltimore growing again,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.
Freelance writer Krishana Davis contributed to this report.