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Mayor Walsh's fiscal year 2020 budget passes city council

Investments prioritize high-quality and equitable services for residents

Mayor Martin J. Walsh's Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget proposal, a plan that focuses on bold investments that are guided by equity and opportunity for all residents, today passed the City Council unanimously. The $3.49 billion budget reflects a $176 million increase over last year's budget while simultaneously upholding the City of Boston's strong record of proactive fiscal management. 

"These important investments are a reflection of our shared priorities," said Mayor Walsh. "Those who supported this budget, from creation to passage, played a critical role in increasing the funding that will allow us to deliver on the promise of expanding opportunity across the city, from new housing to school nurses, more pre-kindergarten seats for our young people and additional resources to look at unsolved homicides. Through this budget we are continuing to set Boston up for future success, moving forward with urgency on our long-term plans to address climate change, affordable housing, better transit, arts and schools."

"The operating, school and capital budgets are balanced and sustainable, and make significant investments in our neighborhoods, our young people and our families in Boston," said City Councilor Mark Ciommo. "I am proud to have served as Chairman of Ways and Means during a time when the City of Boston has the ability to thoughtfully invest in meaningful programs that will ensure Boston's strong financial future. By supporting this budget, we are sending a strong message about the value of Boston's future."

The FY20 budget includes $1.177 billion to support high-quality education at Boston Public Schools. The largest-ever school budget in city history passed the City Council by a vote of 10-3.

  • Free, high-quality pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds living in Boston within five years
  • Full-time nurse in every school 
  • Paraprofessional in every kindergarten classroom
  • More licensed mental health professionals than ever before
  • Free MBTA passes for all Boston students in grades 7-12 in public, charter, private and parochial schools
  • Free menstrual products for students in 77 BPS schools

"A vote for this budget is a vote for greater supports and opportunities for BPS students," said Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teachers Union. "We are proud to have played an important role in adding resources to the school budget that will support the health and well-being of our students, from bringing a nurse to every school and hiring more mental health counselors, to placing a paraprofessional in all of our kindergarten classrooms. This is a positive step for our schools, our teachers and our students. The City of Boston and the Boston Teachers Union look forward to continuing our shared work to further improve the Boston Public Schools."

Recognizing the need for immediate transportation investments, this budget finds new revenue that will allow the City to support the priorities outlined in  Go Boston 2030,our long-term transportation plan.

  • Accelerating the design and construction of Boston's major bike corridors
  • Expanding Blue Bikes, Boston's bikeshare infrastructure
  • Creating new dedicated bus lanes
  • New traffic redesign projects to enhance safety and lower speeds
  • Reconstructing sidewalks equitably throughout Boston 

"The City's Fiscal Year 2020 Budget makes a strong investment in our streets," said Richard Dimino, President and CEO of A Better City. "From new bus lanes on our main roads to better sidewalks in our neighborhoods, from new EV chargers for car owners to new bike infrastructure for cyclists, this budget improves transportation for everyone today and lays a foundation to provide an even better network tomorrow."

The City's housing needs require a multifaceted approach and this budget represents a 45% increase in city funding dedicated to reaching the City's housing goals  of 69,000 new units of housing by 2030, for a total of $20.6 million.  

  • Creating 50 new units of permanent supportive housing each year, a critical component of Boston's Way Home, the City's plan to end chronic homelessness
  • Connecting homeless youth with employment, rental assistance and supportive services
  • Providing loans for income-eligible homeowners to create Additional Dwelling Units in their home
  • Expanding the Intergenerational Homeshare Program, matching older adults with people looking to rent in Boston

"This year's budget includes significant funding investments meant to reduce homelessness," said Lyndia Downie, president and executive director of the Pine Street Inn. "The Walsh administration has recognized that housing, with ongoing support, is the only solution to end long term homelessness. To address that need, the budget specifically provides $4 million for the creation of new supportive housing that will serve individuals living in emergency shelters or on the street. The Pine Street Inn appreciates this investment in housing for these vulnerable individuals and looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the City of Boston on the important work of housing our homeless population."   

"Too often, youth who enter adulthood without the support of a permanent, loving adult to help them make the transition struggle to find safe, affordable housing, which is a core component of achieving long-term stability," said Lesli Suggs, president and chief executive officer of the Home for Little Wanderers. "We are fortunate that Mayor Walsh and the Boston City Council recognize this challenge and are taking steps to fund programs that will reduce youth and young adult homelessness. We look forward to working with the City on this initiative. Together, we can help our most vulnerable youth thrive."  

"Youth and young adult experiencing homelessness are often overlooked. This year, the City is taking an exciting step to support these vulnerable young people." said Elizabeth Jackson, executive director of Bridge over Troubled Waters. "With $1 million dedicated to creating meaningful solutions to prevent homelessness among youth, this is a positive step to starting youth on the path to reach their full potential. We appreciate the Mayor's dedication to ending homelessness in the City and especially his commitment to addressing the unique needs of homeless youth.” 

"My first homeshare experience far exceeded my expectations," said Brenda Atchison, Roxbury resident and participant in the Intergenerational Homeshare Program. "I was matched with an international student who was the right fit for my home. The process was easy, the people were great to work with and the outcome was rewarding. I am so glad I took the first steps to get started on what I hope will be a long and lasting experience, and I am delighted to see this program expanded under Mayor Walsh's budget so more Boston residents can have the same experience I did."

In order to continue to keep Boston safe, the FY20 budget dedicates over 20% of overall funds to support robust public safety initiatives and new funding specifically for violence prevention efforts in Boston's neighborhoods.

  • Growing the size of the City's police force to over 2,200 officers, including a new unsolved homicides unit.
  • Bolstering diversity recruitment efforts for police, fire and emergency medical services, including a new cadet class at Boston Fire.
  • New funding to support violence prevention, intervention and trauma supports.
  • Providing additional resources to investigate unsolved homicides.
  • Creating a new transportation analyst position at Boston Police.
  • Implementing the Body Worn Camera program, already deployed to officers assigned to District C-6 (South Boston), District C-11 (Dorchester) and the Youth Violence Strike Force.
  • Adding an additional EMS Community Assistance Team (Squad 80) to respond to incident calls that do not require transport to a hospital.

Through this budget, the City will make meaningful steps towards essential  environmental goals and climate resiliency efforts.

  • 10% of new City capital funds will be dedicated to projects that promote climate resilience.
  • Additional investments in city and building energy efficiency, urban forestry, additional tree canopy support, additional park rangers, dedicated park maintenance funding and new in-house veterinary services. 
  • Doubling down on becoming a zero waste city with new investments in recycling services and waste removal.

The FY20 budget will be signed by Mayor Walsh and go into effect at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2019. The FY20 budget supports Boston's long-term plan, Imagine Boston 2030, and additional information can be found at

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