Mayor Rawlings-Blake cuts $65 million from budget

March 29, 2011|By Julie Scharper | Baltimore Sun reporter

From the Maryland Politics blog:

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will slash $65 million from the city's $1.2 billion budget through "tough but targeted cuts" but not raise taxes in the coming fiscal year, according to a briefing slated to be presented to the city's spending board Wednesday.

Under the plan library hours would be reduced, some after school programs eliminated and funding for animal services would be cut. Residents would be forced to pay for bulk trash pickups and hours would be cut back at the city's 311 call center.

Rawlings-Blake does not make significant cuts to fire and police, as she had threatened to do in a doomsday budget scenario last year, and the spending plan fully funds the city schools.

City workers, many of whom were threatened with layoffs last year, need not fear massive job cuts in the coming year, according to the budget briefing. About 400 vacant positions will be abolished or not funded, but no there will be no widespread layoffs.

Workers will receive a 2 percent cost-of-living increase to offset salary reductions due to furlough days, which will continue in the coming budget year.

For the second consecutive year, the city will not pay into an affordable housing fund that was established when officials consented to pay for the construction of a convention center hotel with public money. When the hotel was approved under Martin O'Malley's tenure as mayor, many City Council members said only supported the deal because of the fund, which was intended to be used to eliminate blighted blocks and spur the construction of affordable homes.

Ryan O'Doherty, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, declined to comment on specifics of the proposal.

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