A letter From the Chair of the City Council Ways and Means Committee
I’m Kenzie Bok. I’m the Boston City Councilor for District 8, as well as the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. With budget season here again, I wanted to write you a note about how the budget season works and importantly, how you can get involved.
A few weeks ago, the Mayor introduced a proposed budget, which the Council will formally consider over the next two months, prior to a vote. The public is invited to provide testimony at every budget hearing. We need a diversity of voices involved in budget hearings and decisions – both on the Council, and from the public – and we are committed to creating as many ways for folks to get involved as possible. If you’d like to provide testimony at any of the budget hearings, you can do so by signing up to testify live via Zoom, submitting a two minute video, or emailing written testimony. For complete directions on how to testify please visit boston.gov/budget-testify. You can also view the complete list of budget hearings and learn more about the Council’s budget review process at boston.gov/council-budget.
This week, we had our first six budget hearings. This included one community working session that outlined the budget process and how to get involved. It was great to have residents ask questions about the process and how they can best advocate for their priorities. If you missed the working session, you can listen to or watch the recording on the Boston City Council Youtube page. My presentation outlines things like: What does the Boston City Budget consist of? What is a capital budget? I hope you’ll check it out and use what you learn to advocate for programs and investments you want to see to build a more equitable, sustainable, and connected Boston.
This week, we also had a hearing dedicated to public testimony, where folks shared their thoughts on priorities for an equitable recovery for Boston. This year during the budget process, we’ll also be talking about how important funding that’s coming from the federal government can be used alongside our budget to fund our city’s recovery. We want to be sure that every dollar from the American Rescue Plan that comes into our city’s general fund, or to the Boston Public Schools, is being put to excellent use in this moment of really great need in our city.
I am continuously inspired by the testimony we receive from our community members, and I look forward to hearing from more of you as the budget process continues. I really hope you will join us to examine the budget and set priorities for an equitable, community-focused, and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
All the best,