|Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced he will sign the budget approved today by the Boston City Council. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget provides the resources necessary to promote the Walsh Administration's vision of a thriving, healthy and innovative Boston. The budget prioritizes investments in education, youth summer jobs, affordable housing, park improvements, basic city services, increasing diversity within city agencies and combating substance abuse.
"This spending plan reflects our goals for the City of Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "While there is still more work to do, the FY16 budget will allow our City to continue to grow and thrive in the 21st century. I would like to thank the entire City Council for their thoughtfulness and thoroughness during the budget process."
"The Citizens of Boston can be assured that the appropriate due diligence, effort and priorities were part of this budget process," said City Council President Bill Linehan. "Boston is on sound fiscal footing and continues to grow. This was truly a collaborative effort between Mayor Walsh, myself and my fellow Councilors. I appreciate the hard work and dynamic effort from the Council and Administration that led to the passage of this balanced budget."
"I appreciate my City Council colleagues for their extensive participation and advocacy in the review process, and I commend Mayor Walsh on his responsible and sustainable budget that maintains the fiscal health of our city," said City Council Ways and Means Committee Chairman Mark Ciommo.
The $2.86 billion budget provides funding to support reinstating the police cadet program as part of a multi-faceted effort to boost diversity, both in the Boston Police Department and throughout the City's workforce. Many of the City's successful law enforcement officials have come through this program, including Commissioner William Evans and Chief William Gross. They will work closely with Chief Diversity Officer Shaun Blugh to ensure the cadet program is run fairly and effectively. The FY16 budget also includes funding for a dedicated position focused on diversity within the Boston Fire Department, which will assist in recruiting a diverse pool of firefighter candidates.
Summer jobs funding has also increased by 22 percent over FY15 and will allow the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment to provide employment opportunities for Boston youth in a vast array of jobs at non-profit organizations throughout the city. Many of these young people become instrumental in assisting non-profit organizations with outreach efforts, childcare, educational awareness, and more. Mayor Walsh has made summer employment a priority, challenging businesses to partner with the City to increase employment opportunities for Boston's young people. Under Mayor Walsh's leadership, last summer Boston placed more than 10,000 young people in meaningful jobs. Mayor Walsh recently announced the City will be supporting an additional 200 city-funded jobs beyond the original proposal.
Additional budget highlights include:
- Boston Public Schools' first ever budget in excess of $1 billion: An increased investment of $39 million brings the Boston Public School Department's operating budget to $1.014 billion. The FY16 Budget includes a 100 seat Pre-Kindergarten expansion, $21 million in additional weighted student funding provided directly to schools, and funding for the new extended learning time initiative that lengthens instructional time in the classroom.
- New funding for Affordable Senior Housing: Commits $1.75 million to provide financing assistance to senior housing projects including production of elderly housing, home repair, energy conservation and foreclosure prevention. The City also filed state legislation in January to create a new affordable senior housing program using existing state housing bond bill funds.
- Increased support for Overdose Prevention, Needle Clean-Up: Provides funding for the creation of an overdose prevention and outreach team and expansion of the new mobile sharps collection at the Boston Public Health Commission.
- Improving our Parks: Provides funding for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to add a second shift to the maintenance crew, ensuring clean open spaces throughout the City.
- Supporting a Dynamic and Innovative Transportation System: Targets investments to support the efficient operation of the City's transportation network, including $6 million to replace parking meters with new technology to effectively manage parking. Additionally, $500,000 is budgeted to create an electronic rulebook of traffic signs and regulations in order to provide City transportation planners and others with a tool for inventorying City parking.
- Building out Economic Development and Arts and Culture Cabinets: Provides increased resources to the Economic Development Cabinet created by the Walsh Administration to support newly created positions and continued work on a disparity study. The Arts and Culture Cabinet budget provides funding for a new position to support cultural planning and in the hosting of the Americans for the Arts conference.
- Enhancing Civic Engagement and Basic City Services: Creates a new citywide civic engagement position and four new positions for the upcoming transition to a 311 system, aimed at enhancing the citizen experience and streamlining government operations. The budget also provides for expansion of the popular "hokey" program into the spring and fall, which helps keep city streets clean, and funding for new snow equipment in response to this year's historic winter.
- Citywide Technology Investments: The budget supports a redesign of the City's website, as well as an investment in data analytics.
- Capital Investments in All of our Neighborhoods: The $1.8 billion capital plan includes 81 new projects and a total of 333 projects to address current and future needs. Of the expenditures, 44 percent are for infrastructure and 25 percent is being dedicated to schools and libraries. Highlighted projects include the Fenway High School addition; the expanded Eliot School; the Jamaica Plain Library renovation; over 45 miles of annual road resurfacing and reconstruction; 400,000 square feet of sidewalk repairs; the Connect Historic Boston downtown roadway project; Seaver Street and Central Square construction; projects in 98 parks touching every Boston neighborhood; the annual planting of 700 trees; and the school facilities master plan.