Council President Young's Plan For A Better Baltimore
City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s Plan for a Better Baltimore Fiscal Year 2013 Budget ProposalsFaced with a $48 million shortfall, the proposed fiscal year 2013 budget marks the fifth fiscalyear in a row that the City of Baltimore has had to contend with a significant budget deficit.Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has had to be selective in choosing how to allocate funding inher budget proposals. The mayor’s current budget proposal pairs the difficult task of closing aprojected $48 million deficit with continued funding of important city services. We must,however, continue to invest in the priorities that most impact the lives of our citizens.Now is the time to: • Increase funding for programs and services that will grow the youth of Baltimore into a generation of successful adults. • Support city employees and their families by phasing in unprecedented increase to employee costs for health insurance rather than double the fees in a single year. • Work to make sure that our neighborhoods are protected and safe by reversing planned closures of three city fire companies. • Increase funding for programs and services that benefit our seniors.This document lays out proposals that: • Fully restore the network of Community Recreation Centers, which keep youth safe and engaged in educationally and physically enriching activities. • Demonstrate a commitment to families by expanding summer job opportunities and afterschool programs for youth. • Protect neighborhoods by maintaining the existing network of fire companies slated for closure in the mayor’s fiscal year 2013 proposed budget. • Ease the crippling financial burden on city workers and their families that would result from proposed unprecedented changes to employee health care coverage.This proposal includes an overview of the funding areas I see as priorities, and suggestions forfunding these areas. Recreation and employment programs for youth, Experience Corps,healthcare benefits for city employees, and fire companies are priorities that deserve to be fullyfunded in the fiscal year 2013 budget.
Funding PrioritiesRecreation Centers ($200,000 per center, up to $2.8 million)The City of Baltimore has a network of 55 operational Community Recreation Centers that arefunded and will operate through summer 2012. Up to 14 centers may close at the end of thesummer if private partners are not identified. During budget hearings, the Department ofRecreation and Parks and the Finance Department indicated that each recreation center wouldneed an additional $200,000 to remain open through fiscal year 2013.Rather than seeking third-party private partners, the Department of Recreation and Parks shouldbe allocated an additional $2.8 million to continue operating all recreation centers. While there isa plan in place to restructure the city’s network of recreation centers, it does not make sense totake existing centers offline before viable replacement centers have been built or renovated.The city charter says that the Department of Recreation and Parks has the duty to “establish,maintain, operate and control recreational facilities and activities for the people of BaltimoreCity, and to have charge and control of all such property and activities.” Giving up control ofthese centers takes away our power to protect and provide for Baltimore’s youth.Our recreation centers keep kids safe, healthy and off the streets, and it’s our responsibility toprotect the interests of our children and our communities.Youth Works Summer Job Program: Office of Employment Development ($1.6 million)Summer youth jobs offer a meaningful opportunity for high school students to gain valuablework experience while earning a paycheck. These jobs also provide the city a return on itsinvestment by ensuring that youth are prepared with the skills and knowledge needed to succeedin the workforce. According to the fiscal year 2013 Agency Detail Vol.1, page 542, the YouthWorks Summer Jobs Program can support 5,000 summer jobs through $1.6 million in funding.(This level of funding includes the administrative cost associated with the program, includingemployees who secure private donations and employers to fund additional summer youth jobs.)Doubling the city’s contribution to summer jobs would allow additional youth to immediatelybenefit from summer employment.Afterschool Programs ($4.6 million)With more than 84,000 students enrolled in Baltimore City Public Schools 1 and a shortage ofavailable openings, there is a significant need for additional afterschool programming. Thefunding allocated for afterschool programming in the fiscal year 2013 budget should be doubledby adding an additional $4.6 million to help support and expand existing programs.1 Baltimore City Public Schools Website, “By the Numbers 2011-12”, http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/domain/5.
Experience Corps: M-R Educational Grants ($152,000)The AARP’s Experience Corps program in Baltimore City brings seniors into the classroom toassist teachers and work with 6,400 students each year in grades K-3. The city currently provides$180,000 to support Experience Corps, but the fiscal year 2013 proposed budget would trim thisfigure to $28,420. Cutting this vital program means that Experience Corps will not be able tocontinue providing volunteers to 22 of the city’s elementary schools.Changes to Healthcare Benefits for Employees (up to $5 million in year one)The proposed changes to employee healthcare benefits will affect more than 28,000 active andretired City of Baltimore employees. More than 80 percent of employees are enrolled in aPPN/POS/PPO plan and would experience a 100 percent increase in either costs related to theirbi-weekly healthcare payroll deductions or in their out-of-pocket healthcare related expenses. Asproposed, this plan would have a financially crippling impact on the employees and retirees ofBaltimore City and their families. It is estimated that in the first year, the proposed changeswould save the city $10 million, and savings would more than double in future years.An alternative course is to structure the fee increases in a way that would allow them to bephased in over the course of several years.Rising healthcare costs represent a significant budget issue that the City of Baltimore mustcontend with. But to almost immediately double the costs of employee healthcare is untenable.Fire Companies ($3 million)As part of the Fire Department’s proposed budget, three fire companies are slated to close. Truck10 in Harlem Park, Squad 11 in Bayview, and Truck 15 in Broadway East will close and othercompanies’ service areas will be adjusted to account for the loss.During a recent hearing on the Fire Department’s budget request for fiscal year 2013, thedepartment stated that it would take $1 million per fire company slated for closure to continueoperations. (This figure would increase to $2 million per fire company if the trucks were closedand re-opened in the future.) We must allocate the $3 million needed to keep these firecompanies open rather than spend twice that amount to reopen them in the future.Funding our PrioritiesTo help support critical services for families and our seniors, we must survey the entire proposedbudget to identify areas where funding could be redistributed.After carefully reading through the fiscal year 2013 Agency Detail books, I strongly believe thatwe could fund our priorities by eliminating a number of non-essential personnel positionswithout sacrificing the quality of city services. To that end, I propose making $7.1 million intargeted cuts to city agencies. (See attached Appendix A.)
Additionally, based on proposals presented to the City Council, there are a number of areaswhere the budget can be re-calculated using refined, but realistic projections. Specifically, Ibelieve speed camera revenue forecasts can be increased by $3.5 million. (See attachedAppendix A.)Finally, the City of Baltimore has a history of using surplus funds from the Health InsuranceReserve Fund to help pay for critical services. I propose that we use $6.5 million of the city’s$27 million in surplus funds to help fund core programs and services this coming fiscal year.By allocating funds responsibly and efficiently, this plan ensures that we can continue to investin our priorities as a city.
Agency Service Fiscal 2013 Issue FY13 Allocation Recommendation Savings Pending Personnel-Create ProcurementFinance Procurement-699 Supervisor $ 103,029 Eliminate $ 103,029 Pending Personnel-Create Systems Analyst Accounting -704 II $ 73,500 Eliminate $ 73,500 Budgets-708 Create three positions $ 185,000 Eliminate $ 185,000 Property Tax Billing-710 Pending Personnel-Create two positions $ 199,132 Reduce salary $ 50,000Fire Admin-600 Reduce Admin 2% $ 12,800,000 Reduce 2% $ 256,000 Community Outreach-610 Reduce Contractual Services $ 296,400 Reduce 25% $ 74,100 Eliminate increase in Contractual Services & Training-615 Equipment $ 72,764 Eliminate F13 increase $ 72,764HCD Admin-737 Create Admin Officer II position $ 71,750 Eliminate $ 71,750 Enforcement-745 Create Exec Asst to Dep Comm position $ 63,750 Eliminate $ 63,750 Increase In GF subsidy to offset loss of Business Retention-809 capital $ 798,313 Reduce 10% $ 79,831 Increase In GF subsidy to offset loss of Real Estate Development-810 capital $ 560,889 Reduce 10% $ 56,089 Increase In GF subsidy to offset loss of Promote Retail Districts-814 capital $ 874,588 Reduce 10% $ 87,459Mayoralty BOPA-824 Increase in F13 GF subsidy $ 30,050 Eliminate $ 30,050 Contingent Fund-121 Reduce F13 appropriation $ 508,000 Eliminate $8K increase & reduce 50% $ 258,000 Innovation Fund-833 F13 appropriation for MOIT Broadband $ 2,000,000 Reduce 10% $ 200,000 Misc General 122-Stadium Authority Increase in F13 appropriation $ 16,000 Eliminate $ 16,000 Misc General 122-GF Reserve Reduce F13 appropriation $ 2,032,000 Eliminate $32K increase & reduce 25% $ 532,000 Misc General 122- Special Projects Reduce F13 appropriation $ 250,000 Reduce 25% $75,000 Create one position and eliminate Salary CitiStat -347 Savings x Eliminate position; no reduction in SS $ 105,939 Pending Personnel-create three positions OED/Employment Enhancement-793 Job Hubs $ 242,587 Eliminate $ 242,587 MOIT/Application Services-803 F13 increase in Equipment appropriation $ 249,600 Reduce 50% $ 124,800 MOIT/Infrastructure Support-805 F13 software enhancement $ 1,465,000 Reduce 25% $ 366,250 Inspector General-836 F13 software enhancement $ 75,000 Eliminate $ 75,000Civil Rights Wage Investigation -656 Pending Personnel- create one position $ 60,000 Eliminate $ 60,000 Transfer 14 positions from CDBG to GeneralPlanning all services Fund $ 1,000,000 Reduce 10% $ 100,000Police Admin- 621 Reduce Admin 2% $ 35,600,000 Reduce 2% $ 712,000
Agency Service Fiscal 2013 Issue FY13 Allocation Recommendation Savings Pending personnel - create Deputy Fiscal Admin- 621 position $ 150,801 Eliminate $ 150,801 Various F13 appropriation for Executive Protection $ 1,500,000 Reduce 10% $ 150,000Transportation Admin - 681 Eliminate salary savings for three positions $ 127,849 Restore salary savings $ 127,849 Admin - 681 Create two IT positions $ 150,206 Eliminate $ 150,206 Complete Streets -690 Pending Personnel - create Analyst position $ 64,852 Eliminate $ 64,852 Total Agency Complete Streets -690 Pending Personnel - fund Bike Coordinator $ 65,000 Eliminate $ 65,000 Reductions $ 4,779,606 Eliminate salaries from approximately 57 Reduce funded vacancies citywide positions $2,300,000 Transfer funds from Health Insurance Reserve $ 27,000,000 Use $6.5M to begin reform phase-in $ 6,500,000 Increase F13 projection for Speed Cameras to F12 budget Raise budget estimate to F12 level $ 3,554,000 $ 17,133,606