Mayor Walsh presents 2.7 billion budget
Mayor Walsh today presented the first budget of his administration, a $2.7 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2015 and a five-year, $1.9 billion capital plan. This year’s capital plan identifies 319 new and continuing projects and proposes $286.8 million in new project authorizations. This FY15 recommended budget balances the City’s need to spend responsibly while also meeting essential current needs and building toward Boston’s future.
“While this budget reflects my own priorities, it also reflects the priorities of the people of Boston,” Mayor Walsh said. “Since January, we have listened to voices from all across this great city, and we have learned about people’s needs, ideas, and hopes for the future. This budget is balanced, smart, and invests in the people of this city. It invests in our children; in opportunity, in well-being, and in our neighborhoods. I want to thank everyone who has worked on this budget; this is a budget that combines deep experience with innovative ideas to produce an ambitious vision for Boston.”
The $2.7 billion recommended FY15 Operating Budget represents a 4.5 percent growth over last year’s budget, an increase of $118.2 million. Property taxes continue to be the largest source of the City’s revenue, along with hotel, meals, and other excise taxes. The City’s second largest source of revenue, net state aid from the Commonwealth, is expected to decline by approximately $15 million from FY14 mainly due to increased state assessment for charter school tuition. Net state aid (state aid less state assessments), has decreased by $164 million since FY08.
The FY15 budget focuses on building toward Boston’s future:
Strengthening the Economy - Creating 21st Century Jobs and a 21st Century Workforce
A new Office of Economic Development will be charged with business recruitment and retention, and with establishing an environment that encourages, supports and promotes entrepreneurship and new business development.
Enhancing neighborhoods: the heart of our city
Boston’s neighborhood public libraries will now be open on Saturdays year-round; in addition, Boston’s Main Streets districts will see increased funding and the rollout of free public WiFi. A new partnership between the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Department of Neighborhood Development will crowdsource the way vacant storefronts are filled.
Improving Public Safety & Combating Gun Violence
Under a new cross-functional safety initiative, City departments will work together in new ways to achieve public safety goals.
Ensuring that Boston Public Schools Enable Every Child, in Every Neighborhood to Succeed
Key initiatives are supported, such as the expansion of early education (K1) seats and Extended Learning Time (ELT) sites, as well as technology infrastructure upgrades throughout the school system.
Housing that Meets a Range of Needs
A plan to guide the City’s housing policy over the next four years will be developed in order to lay out strategic and measurable goals for meeting all of Boston’s housing challenges.
Health & Human Services
A new Office of Recovery Services in the Boston Public Health Commission will play a leading role in advocating for treatment options while improving existing services in the City.
Capital projects included in this year’s plan include:
- A new Dearborn School, to be built on the existing site. This school, expanding to grades 6-12, will focus on a STEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering and math) and college readiness.
- Planning efforts will envision the City’s transportation future, as a Boston Mobility and Action Plan is created, merging environmental goals with travel requirements.
- Expanded teen’s and children’s areas will open at the Copley Square library in FY15, and construction will begin on dramatic renovations to the entrance on Boylston Street, the entire first floor, and Rabb lecture hall.
- Design will begin for a brand new, state of the art Emergency Operations Center.
- Street improvements continue in FY15 as the City will resurface 20 miles of roadway and reconstruct another 4.5 miles, while also updating 1,600 pedestrian ramps for accessibility, and repairing 400,000 square feet of sidewalk.