Baltimore City Mayor Pugh released her preliminary $3.45 billion budget plan this week, noting violence reduction as her highest priority. She proposes expanding the Safe Streets program from four sites to ten, investing in new crime-fighting technology, and bringing Strategic Command Centers to Baltimore’s eastern and western districts:
These “nerve centers,” where police gather and analyze the latest intelligence to enable them to act in real-time, have proven highly effective in Chicago and Los Angeles.
The operating budget totals $2.83 billion. Across all funding sources, the budget focuses:
- $434.8 million towards education and youth engagement,
- $905.8 million towards public safety,
- $957.6 million for quality of life,
- $147.4 million towards economic development and jobs, and
- $143.9 million towards accountability and transparency.
The City plans to invest $90 million in the Baltimore City Public Schools, exceeding maintenance of effort requirements. In addition, $19 million in capital funding will support school HVAC and maintenance.
The City’s capital budget totals $618 million, with investments in “utility infrastructure, recreation and parks, affordable housing, public transit, libraries, and schools.”
City revenue forecasters project a revenue increase of $47.9 million to the General Fund, or 2.6 percent above fiscal 2018 adopted budget of $1.83 billion. None of that increase is attributed to additional income tax revenue generated as a result of federal tax reform. Real and personal property tax rates shall remain at $2.248 and $5.62 per $100 of assessed value, respectively. The City’s income tax rate is 3.2 percent, the maximum level allowed under state law.