FY2018 Budget Process

The following Fiscal Year 2018 budget publications are now available online:

The City Council’s Budget & Appropriations Committee schedule for hearing the FY2018 budget is appended below and available for download here: Final Budget Schedule

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UPCOMING SNOW STORM

CRITICAL UPDATES FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15th
  1. Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) – Schools open 2 hours late on Wednesday, March 15. District office opens on time. Staff: Check your email for reporting details., please follow BCPS on Twitter or Facebook for updates.

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BALTIMORE SUN: COSTELLO AND HAYES: DON’T GIVE UP ON STATE CENTER

Costello and Hayes: Don’t give up on State Center

The Sun hit the nail on the head in its editorial last month bemoaning the effect on the city of Gov. Larry Hogan‘s decision to cancel Maryland’s contracts for the renovation of the State Center office complex on Baltimore’s West Side. We share The Sun’s view, and add our voices to the chorus by expanding on 1) the history of State Center’s community impact and engagement; 2) our grave concerns for job loss; and 3) the arena red herring. We close with requests of the governor, in the belief that concerns must be paired with solutions. Read more

BIENNIAL AUDITS OVERSIGHT COMMISSION (BAOC)

The first meeting of the Biennial Audits Oversight Commission (BAOC) will be Wednesday, Feb 15, 5pm, at City Hall, in Council Chambers on the 4th Floor.

More information on the 1st meeting is available below:

The BAOC is compromised of the following seven individuals: Councilman Eric T. Costello (Chair); Councilman Bill Henry; Acting Inspector General Stephen J. Lesniewski, Jr.; Councilman Leon Pinkett; Comptroller Joan Pratt; Finance Director Henry Raymond; and Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young. Among other things, the BAOC is tasked with providing guidance and advice to the City Auditor in determining the scope of agency performance audits.

COSTELLO INTRODUCES BILL TO KEEP CYCLISTS SAFE

Councilman Eric T. Costello introduced legislation aimed at keeping cyclists safe. The bill does two key things: 1) it increases the penalty for blocking a bike lane with a motor vehicle; and 2) makes this a towable offense.

Bikemore, the premier cyclist advocacy group in Baltimore City has expressed their support for the legislation. You can learn more about Bikemore’s advocacy efforts on their Website, Twitter, or Facebook.

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Cross St Market Revitalization Not Moving Forward

I am very disappointed with the conclusion that Cross St Market will not be revitalized. For a variety of reasons, Caves Valley Partners (CVP) has made the difficult decision to not move forward with the project. Dating back to my time as a community president, this was one of the top issues our neighborhood fought for. After being sworn in to office, it became a top priority of mine and I have worked tirelessly ever since to help get this project across the finish line.

Public-private partnerships on municipal markets are extremely complex and challenging. Funding must be cobbled together from multiple public and private sources and margins are extremely thin. The fact that CVP was the only team to respond to the RFP demonstrates truly how challenging this effort was.

I would like to thank the members of the Cross St Market Advisory Committee for selflessly volunteering your time and effort along the way, all with the best interest of our collective neighborhoods at heart. The Baltimore Public Markets Corporation should be commended for shifting their paradigm and embracing the public-private partnership model. Lastly, thank you to CVP and Arsh Mirmiran for giving your best effort. Despite how risky and financially unattractive this deal was, your willingness to try this far exceeded what should have been expected.

FBaltimore Sun Coverage: “Firm planning overhaul of Cross Street Market in Federal Hill walks away”

Statement from Baltimore Public Markets Corporation

UPCOMING WATER BILLING CHANGES FOR 1 INCH METERS

I am writing today with what is hopefully welcome news regarding the new water billing infrastructure fees. In short, if you have a $60.88 monthly infrastructure fee (due to having a 1″ water meter), it is being reduced to $28.22, resulting in monthly savings of $32.66, or annual savings of $391.92. While I recognize that the solution is not ideal, I believe it is far fairer and provides much needed relief. This will inevitably increase our ability to retain residents and help continue to grow our City. Please see below the following: 1) background on water billing changes; 2) impact on single family dwelling units; 3) steps I took to work with the Mayor’s Office and DPW; 4) details on the solution; and 5) next steps. Read more

TAX SALE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

Below is a resource guide on how to handle a property being placed into tax sale. The best course of action for anyone with questions about a bill or notice or how to follow up is to contact the office of origin, e.g. Finance Department /Bureau of Revenue Collections (Property Tax); Department of Public Works (Water bills); or Environmental Control Board (environmental citations). Attached below: 1) an information sheet that provides an overview of the process with key resources for people that might have some unpaid city bills to assist them with avoiding the tax sale process; and 2) a resource guide developed by ProBono Resource Center of Maryland with various sources of assistance to help people avoid tax sale and to help people if they enter tax sale.

 

 

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ONGOING UTILITY WORK IN MOUNT VERNON AND SETON HILL

2016 has been incredibly challenging for Mount Vernon and Seton Hill due to the high volume of utility work, several significant infrastructure failures, installation of cycle track infrastructure, nad ongoing development and construction. There needs to be better communication so the City does a better job of mitigating the impact of this work on residents and local businesses.

I sent the attached letter to DPW and will be following up with a meeting to discuss time frames, what is being done proactively to ensure additional infrastructures do not occur, and that new work is not started until ongoing work is completed. I will circle back after the meeting with an update. Thank you for your continued patience. Read more

PACE IN BALTIMORE CITY SIGNED INTO LAW

Today, with the full support of the Baltimore City Council, I am pleased to announce Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake signed Ordinance 16-092, legislation I authored establishing a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in Baltimore. 30 states and the District of Columbia have already established PACE programs, and this legislation will make Baltimore City the 9th largest jurisdiction in the Nation, and largest in Maryland to authorize a PACE program for its citizens and businesses. Read more