BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Concerns about public safety will take center stage when Baltimore City’s mayor unveils her proposed budget Wednesday.  The cuts are expected to be deep and painful.

Mike Hellgren reports the mayor is slicing her own salary.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake laid out the first of big new cuts to Baltimore’s next budget.  This year, she’ll slice a massive $65 million from the bottom line. That’s on top of the $121 million cut last year.

“Cities put off tough challenges and failed to prepare for this day of reckoning,” Rawlings-Blake said.

The mayor says she wants to set an example.  She’ll slash more than $360,000 from her office and has already gotten rid of a third of the cars, eliminated funding for nine positions and declined pay raises.  But she has yet to detail cuts to the police and fire departments that are likely to draw outrage.

“We’ve suffered long enough and it’s time to give us our due,” said firefighters’ union head Bob Sledgeski.

Sledgeski is still fighting to stop rotating firehouse closures he calls dangerous.

“It’s time for citizens to be able to go to bed at night without worrying what number the firehouse roulette wheel lands on,” he said.

It’s unclear what else is on the table right now and rumors have been flying.  The Fraternal Order of Police told members that a five percent pay cut was just gossip.

“There’s rumblings out there of furloughs next year and things like that,” Sledgeski said.

With Baltimore City’s tax rate the highest in Maryland, WJZ wanted to know—are you getting what you pay for?

“We carry a lot of the burden and we don’t get any services down in Canton at all,” said Mike Lang.

“How is the economy going to grow if you keep cutting?” said Bill Brown, city resident.

“We really don’t have an option right now; budgets are tight.  There’s just not a lot of money coming in from the state or federal government,” said Kelly Lindow, city resident.

The mayor is also working on a 10-year financial plan to address Baltimore’s structural deficit.

Comments (13)
  1. chalkie says:

    Its amazing this site anytime you put truthful comments up on this comment area and it has to deal with Shiela Dixon or our governor and its bad that they block it and never allow you to post it. Shows what kind of station this is and how it favors democrates!!!

  2. Chalkie says:

    Sorry mayor you walked into a problem that started all the way back to when O’Malley was mayor and it just kept on getting worse. The city hasn’t paid thier part to the City Police and Firefighters fund in years. Last figure I heard it that the city owes somewhre around 70 to 80 million in back pension money. And who knows what other problems you are trying to fix from the past with these 2 before you. We know O’malley lies, like at just with BGE that there will be no new increase and he has allowed 3 now since being governor. And we know you cannot trust the last mayor, come on she was caught stealing gift cards from the needy. We all know you are trying but I cannot see away to fix the problems from the past, but to sue the ones who created them and make them pay for thier lies and mistakes. Sorry if you are elected offical, you should be held accountable for your office and damage that you have done!!!

  3. Herman Glimsher says:


  4. joe silvestri says:

    im getting out of maryland and i no alot of other people who are doing the same this place has gone to hell with all these dem in charge

  5. joe silvestri says:

    these people cant even budget for toliet paper my god where all in trouble leave maryland now

  6. DOCSRUS says:

    Why dont we reconsider this whole prohibition thing that according to current polls shows 60%+ percent of the population is opposed to? We already know that cannabis prohibition is one of the largest and most expensive strains on our federal and state budgets. And we know that cannabis is already everywhere and we know that it doesnt contrubute to the 40-60% of the violent crime in the states thats directly attributed to pharmaceuticals and alcohol. So why do will go on with this sham while our entire economy is in a nose dive?

    What do have to lose at this point other than social security, our school system, road maintenance, garbage pick up, manned government offices of every description? Half of the planets food supply was just recently wiped out in the past 6 months. Oils prices are ready to leap up back up to where we they were when the economy finally broke under the strain. There is no end in sight to all of the pain and suffering that we’re about to endure.

    Ending the prohibition outright would immediately free up a TRILLION dollars in enforcement and upkeep of the prohibition. And it would open up the multi-trillion dollard world cannabis industry that the USA could dominate as long as were the first guys out of the gate. Its going to take something like this to pull us out of this mess and ive havent seen not a single realistic alternative that doesnt require more people to go hungry, to live without heat, to live without medical care, and for that matter millions of cases of people having to do without so much as roof over their heads.

    This isnt 1930 early American anymore. Everyone has matured and kept up with the times except for our politicians.

  7. DOCSRUS says:

    Our government spends $135,000,000 per day on this ridiculous war on drugs. but it only focuses on one herb that is not only harmless but medically and therapeutically invaluable.

    Annual cost to enforce the prohibition:
    49,275,000,000 (billion per yr)

    Annual cost to feed 1,000,000 non violent cannabis users, now converted into wards of the state:
    58,275,000,000 (billion per yr)

    Rough estimate of number of non violent citizens removed from taxpayer status and converted into non taxpaying prisoners: 1,000,000 non violent citizens and millions of their family members forced into poverty (the cost of which is not included in any of the stats stated here).

    Value of cannabis sales in the USA alone, with currently every dime of this going to the criminal cartels that manage of nations number one cash crop
    36,000,000,000 (billion per yr)

    Either legalize it or criminalize everything else including the legal drugs that are responsible for all of the damage to society. The current situation is offensive to anyone with a higher intelligence than a chimpanzee. It’s damaging our society and bankrupting our country.

    I’m NOT seriously advocating the criminalization of another part of human culture and the trampling of more of our rights. But I only offer the following information for the purpose of showing how irrational the prohibition of cannabis really is.

    Alcohol and legal pharmaceuticals are responsible for 40-60% of all violent crime REPORTED in the world, according to the UN, WHO, CDC and every police force in the country.

    Cannabis users dont even factor into any of the aforementioned violence according to the same sources qouted above (UN, WHO, & every police force in the country).

    Our government allows Big Pharma to produce 100 times more synthetic heroin (oxycontin) than is legally prescribed! It has no nutritional or therapeutic value and is intended strictly for extreme pain relief. Big Pharmas main consumers of this product appear to be the illicit drug trade.

    The abuse of alcohol and legal pharmaceuticals leads to violence, poverty, soaring divorce rates, massive deaths of innocent lives, broken families, reliance upon social services, etc. Its a plague on society yet perfectly legal.

    Alcohol causes close to 1,000 deaths EVERY DAY due to intoxicated drivers stoned out of their minds. The cost to the public is in the billions.

    Pharmaceutical drugs even when used as recommended cause an equivalent number of deaths. The cost to the public health system is in the billions.

    Cannabis has never killed a single soul due to overdose according to the Center for Disease Control. So if the war on cannabis isn’t politically and financially motivated then what exactly is the rationale for wasting so many of our dwindling resources to fight it?

    Big Pharma takes the profits and spends it on their families. They do not reimburse the tax payers for all of the damage that their products cause.

    Alcohol is one of the leading causes of illness and medical problems. The cost to the public health system and taxpayers is in the billions.

    No one benefits from the war on cannabis except for the 1/2 dozen guys that own pill factories and the politicians that they bought and paid for.

    Cannabis can be used to make bibles, fine paper, linen quality clothing, beverages, ointments, nutritional supplements, saddle blankets, diapers, backpacks, rope, sails for boats, and 20,000 other products.

    Ending the prohibition of cannabis has the power to turn the United States back into a Manufacturing Superpower which is exactly what was needed to pull us out of the first great depression and exactly what we need to pull us out of this one.

    Call your representatives and demand that they end this blatant abuse of powers entrusted to them by the citizens of the United States of America. The time for change is now. We’ve been beaten, abused and imprisoned into poverty. The politicians need to understand that they work for us and not for the benefit of Big Pharma and other corporate elites.

    1. john says:

      Wow dude, maybe you should run for mayor.

  8. outkasts says:

    I hate repukicans and dummycrats,you all think another devil is better than the next one!

  9. Harry Quade says:

    Where are my posts?

    1. Harry Quade says:

      I had wrote and warn our leaders this would happen, the people will rebel if they lose their income and homes. They will learn when more rebel.

  10. mandy says:

    Baltimore city is becoming like a ghost town. No people means no money & more
    Budget cuts. The crime is high so people & jobs are leaveing. No one want to come to see the city with crime & trash. Look at all the trash in the water where Westport & Hamburg Street Station is. That is no way to welcome people that is out of town that stay at the bwi hotels. In the past the city want to build a new Pimlico Race Course & Baltimore Arena. Why not take down the abandoned buildings they are dangerous for us & for the police and fire departments. By keep them up the drug dealers, criminals, & homeless are useing the abandoned buildings to hide in. If there is a fire in one of them the fire dept. need to go in there to see if anyone is in there & that is dangerous for them also when the fire is going on. For the police dept. that are chaseing someone in there & are hold up that is dangerous for them they do not know how sound the building is. The less the abandoned buildings are then less for the drug dealers, criminals to hide in.

  11. DOCSRUS says:

    “But she has yet to detail cuts to the police and fire departments that are likely to draw outrage.”

    According to their own public announcement, FOUR HUNDRED & FIFTY POLICE OFFICERS were involved in recent drug bust that netted a total of FIVE POUNDS OF MARIJUANA….The equivalent of about 100-200 cases of beer. The investigation went on for 5.5 months!

    The CDC, UN, WHO and every police department in the country all agree that marijuana does not contribute to any of the violence in the country. And in fact they all unaminmously agree that alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs account for 40-60% of the violence.

    So why would any of you condone such a massive waste of our states limited resources and our tax payer dollars for such a meaningless endeavor?

    450 police officers for one marijuana bust while rapes and murders continue all across the country. This has to be the absolute epitomy and complete and total stupidty.

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