Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — If you live, work or just visit Baltimore, big cuts and money raisers in the city’s new budget are likely to impact you.
Mike Hellgren breaks down where the dollars are going.
Baltimore will raise some money with new speed cameras but the city’s newly passed $1.3 billion budget was tight, with some deep cuts.
Neddie Smith has lived in Baltimore for years and is just glad his property taxes have not gone up.
“They’ve got to cut what they’ve got to cut and do what they have to do with the money they’ve got to work with,” he said.
Baltimore will fund 300 new police officer positions but continue closing firehouses on a rotating basis. Those firehouse closures have raised the alarm of longtime Councilmember Mary Pat Clarke.
“That is something that is very dangerous, very problematic,” Clarke said.
Libraries were spared but there will be reductions in tree cutting and graffiti removal and bulk trash pickup will cost you, starting in January.
“We made the tough decisions to get through a significant budget deficit,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
The budget for animal services was cut and money for recreation centers was slashed. The city’s counting on businesses and nonprofits to take over almost half of the rec centers.
Employees will still get unpaid furlough days. A two percent cost of living raise will partially offset them.
While the final budget has been passed, these funding cuts can always be restored if the economy improves.
“We’re not going down again. We have to move up. It’s absolutely essential. We’ve had enough,” Clarke said.
The mayor plans to release a detailed account of what’s being spent to help young people after protests over cuts to a summer jobs program.