-Recently, Mayor Fenty released his FY 2011 budget plan to the council and the public. The budget proposes $5.27 billion in local funds, which is a decrease of 2.78 percent from FY 2010, and addresses the spending and revenue gap of $523 million between FY 2010 and FY 2011.
At first glance, the mayor’s budget continues to make investments in schools, both public and charter, funds the health care safety net — which faces greater utilization during an economic downturn — by improving the way we pay for these services, funds 4,069 uniformed officers as part of the Metropolitan Police Department and continues infrastructure improvements.
The mayor’s budget proposes to close the gap in various ways — eliminating 385 full-time employees, renegotiating various contracts, freezing salary increases, controlling spending by instituting cuts at District agencies, hiking a number of fines and fees and using $97 million in unallocated fund balances to balance the budget. More details of the mayor’s plan will be available once all the budget volumes and the FY 2011 Budget Support Act legislation are released.
I greatly appreciate the hard work it took for the mayor, his staff, and the chief financial officer to prepare and present this budget to the Council, particularly given the magnitude of the budget gap we face from FY 2010 to FY 2011. I am particularly glad the mayor avoided tax increases while protecting much of our public education, health care delivery, and public safety functions. But there are many details yet for the council to review through our public hearing process this spring, and invariably changes will be made.
I am concerned about using unallocated fund balances to help balance the budget, and we’re all awaiting full details on cuts to various agencies. Over the next two months, I will be working with Chairman Gray and my colleagues to come up with a final plan which is in the best interest of everyone in the District. However, I do think the mayor has made a good start and in what is a very, very challenging set of economic circumstances.
The council has just 56 days to review and vote on the proposed budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The proposed budget submitted by the mayor is available at www.budget.dc.gov.
The Committee on Finance and Revenue, which I chair, will hold its fiscal year 2011 budget and financial plan hearing on April 28 at 10 a.m. in the council chambers. To sign up to testify, contact Sarina Loy at email@example.com or 202-724-8058.
The author is a city councilmember representing District Ward 2.