Mayor Walsh resubmits FY18 budget
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today resubmitted his proposed Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget, which through strong fiscal management and strategic savings initiatives allows for further investment in quality City services in neighborhoods across Boston, and builds on the success of existing City programs. The $3.15 billion budget proposal represents an increase of $148.5 million, or 5 percent, over the FY17 budget, and follows 27 City Council hearings that identified opportunities for further targeted investments, while still balancing sustainability and fiscal responsibility.
"I am proud that through the City's sustainable fiscal strategy, we are able to make strategic investments in initiatives that have proven to be successful in making Boston a thriving, healthy and innovative City," said Mayor Walsh. "This proposed budget makes record investments in education, and represents a smart and responsible approach that will contribute to our City's long-term prosperity."
As part of the budget resubmission, Mayor Walsh is proposing to further invest in key initiatives, including:
- Two additional graffiti busters to ensure Boston's neighborhoods remain clean. Through CityScore, Boston saw an increase in demand for graffiti removal beyond what current staffing levels could remove on time;
- Double the capacity of the Mobile Sharps Team to pick up more improperly discarded hypodermic needles, due to an increase in requests submitted through 311. Over 20,000 needles were collected by the team in 2016;
- Add four new mental health clinicians to the Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST) to co-respond with police officers to people exhibiting signs of mental illness. With these additional clinicians, the program will be able to cover all districts in the City and expand the program's success in diverting people from arrest to mental health resources;
- Add building inspectors to increase capacity to meet the growing demand for commercial and residential inspections. This will result in a reduction of inspection waiting time for residents and developers alike;
- In addition to a $1 million increase to the Vision Zero Capital Program, the City will add transportation engineering capacity, provide enhanced Vision Zero outreach, repair about 60 existing bike racks, and add an estimated 180 new bike racks to curb serious crashes and increase the number of people commuting by bike;
- Pilot a Youth Development Grant Program, which will complement the City's Summer Jobs program, the Shannon Grant Program and the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative; and
- Add two additional yard waste pickups next summer to better meet constituents' needs.
These additional investments are made possible with health care cost containment savings and reduced debt service costs achieved as a result of the City's triple A bond rating and low cost of borrowing. The above additions of the budget resubmission complement investments in the Mayor's FY18 budget proposal aimed at creating a thriving, healthy and innovative city. A few of those highlights include:
- $14 million more in extended learning time to allow more than 15,000 additional students in 39 schools to receive 120 more hours of learning time, or the equivalent of 20 added school days a year;
- Makes numerous research-driven education investments and reforms, including expanding Excellence for All, adding pre-kindergarten (K1) seats, and providing supports to 3,000 students that have been identified as experiencing homelessness, in an effort to eliminate achievement gaps.
- Adds support services for veterans not eligible for VA programs, building on the early success from Boston's Way Home, the City's plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness;
- Adds 20 police cadets to the Boston Police Department to diversity the police force;
- Uses data to change the way we deploy Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to Boston Common and the Recovery Road area to improve patient outcomes and ambulance utilization;
- Adds a full-time hokey in every Public Works District, and revitalizes marking and crosswalks to ensure that City streets are clean and safe;
- Expands PAATHS (Providing Access to Addictions Treatment, Hope and Support) to include evenings and weekends;
- Provides pilot program for industrial level cleaning for firehouses to reduce cancer risks for firefighters.
For more information about the budget, visit Boston's budget website: budget.boston.gov.