Rawlings-Blake’s 2013 Budget Plan Includes Closing Fire Stations & Rec Centers

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Putting Baltimore on a budget. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reveals a spending plan for the city that is already causing controversy.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on the preliminary proposal.

The mayor is looking for cuts that will allow the city to offer a tax break to homeowners.

“Our goal is to get Baltimore growing again by 10,000 families over the next 10 years, and this budget is the first of several to come that will help us in achieving that goal,” the mayor said.

The budget includes the first 2 cent installment of a plan to reduce homeowner property taxes by 20 cents over the next eight years—which will eventually be offset by slots revenue.

“We knew at the time that we developed the plan that the slots wouldn’t be open, so we knew that we could do that through some of the innovative ways that we’re saving money,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said.

City employees will not get a cost of living raise, but for the first time in recent years, they won’t have to take mandatory furlough days. They will also pay higher costs for health benefits.

The budget also eliminates 231 positions, most of them unfilled.

As the city seeks to close a $48 million budget deficit, the mayor plans to stop rotating fire station closures and permanently close three fire companies.

“We’re looking to have an efficient government,” the mayor said.

According to the mayor, closing three fire companies is in keeping with that efficiency.

“It gives some permanency, reliability and predictability, and it allows the department to plan every day whatever day of the week it is for those closures, so they can respond more efficiently to calls,” the mayor said.

The fire union calls the closures risky.

“Our job basically is to save citizens of Baltimore and do what we can for them. With the resources being cut, it makes our job harder. I don’t care who says what. It makes our job a hell of a lot harder,” said Rick Hoffman, Baltimore Firefighters’ Union.

The plan also includes consolidating the city’s 911 and 311 call centers and closing some recreation centers.

There are eight recreations centers in particular that could close if the city is unable to find private operators to run them.

This is a long process that will require hearings and final approval by City Council.

The new budget takes effect July 1.

More from Pat Warren
  • Billiam

    Does the queen of lip gloss really thinks she’s going to do things to get 83 families to move here each month for the next ten years? In reality, she’s doing everything she can to get 83 families to move OUT of Baltimore for the next ten years! Between her and O’Malley, they won’t know who or what to tax first! Bottle taxes, reduced tuition for illegal immgrants, doubling the flush tax, increasing the tolls, increasing the cost of your vehicle registration, etc. Should I go on?? Stop the entitlements, stop the perks and you’ll save money and you won’t have to close any fire stations.

  • lisaannwolf



    I think it’s time to close the Skybox and the City perks!!! How many other dollars is SRB spending on press, hair, clothes, makeup, photos, etc. These alone may keep one firehouse open. The City Perks aren’t saving lives…Firefighters are

  • paul k

    really and she needs a pay cut, why does she need to be paid so much while others are cutting back show support and take a 20% cut and still will make more than the average city worker

  • 1-0-3-0 WITHERSPOON


  • zarkmepp

    Unbelievable!!!! Bottle tax, Gas Tax, Income tax, Boat & Vehicle reg.,BCPD will no longer report illegals to Feds. Betwenn OWE Mally & Queen La Faka. Baltimore & MD going DOWN! All MD & Balto. GOV. officials should take a 2k year pay cut. Keep the Recs open as well as the fire houses. What is wrong with these two? I didnt vote for them! And the scary thing is PEOPLE DID! OWE MALLY 2016 I can see it now!



  • sf

    maybe she should get rid of her security detail as well as her driver as well as her 3 cars that she has… and the police dept was supposed to get 2 percent pay increase in January and haven’t seen it yet, I wouldn’t wanna have low moral for ff and pd

  • dan

    She’s no better then Dixon, she’s just as worse but hey you guys voted her back into office. The Mayor plans on closing recreation centers, yeah that’s a smart plan it’s just going to put more kids on the street equal more crime.

  • Jerry

    I think that Blake , OweMalley and Obama ( The Three Stooges ) should walk the streets without security so they can see what the people really think of them.

  • chubrock

    This is crazy!! They have been cutting the fire department steady every year since Kurt Schmoke was in office. Its funny how much help the city actually ask for from outside the city every time there is a fire, but they never return the favor. She keeps cutting away at the fire department they are going to start loosing firefighters in fires from not enough help being available. They are going to start to loose more city residents to fire also, because of extra travel time and shortages of fire fighters during emergencies. Why don’t she it done and figure out why she has so many cops and crime is still out of hand. Why don’t she let the cops do thier jobs when they come across a illegal immigrant and deport the not tax paying welfare collect burden on society. If the city is in so dire need of money pass a law that every person on welfare must work a minimal number of hours for the city per month and cut the departments that get the free help, and if the welfare person doesn’t do thier hours thier check gets cut down or they get no check at all. And last but not least why doesn’t the mayor and they city council stop getting raises and let the people who actually work and protect this city get thier cost of living raise. Between the state and the city maryland is just getting worse with all the over spending. Instead of taxing and feeing us to death, why don;t you all learn to budget your money and work with what you have coming in. Stop all the luxaries of expense budgets for food and gifts, and sell the sky boxes at the sports parks to people that can afford them. There is no reason that you need to have them, plus all the added expenses of catering food to people that can afford to by a ticket and spend some of thier own money at a game instead of mooching off the taxes payer. Time to vote every one of these no good useless political people out of office, and start electing people that know what we are going through. Someone making over 100k a year has no idea what is happening to the lower and middle class people, and in my eyes just doesn’t care either.

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    • chubrock

      And you want to save money one other way, cut out this free cell phones to people on welfare at the tax payers expense. A cell phone is a luxary and not a needed item. And while your at it start check all these people on welfare. I am tired of going to a food store and seeing someone dressed way better then me paying for 2 carts of food with a independence card and then go out and get into car that I cannot even afford. This is a system that is overly abused and nobody cares how much wasted money is being spent into it. Other cities and states have the laws making people work for free for the city and state that are on welfare. And the last thing to fix welfare make it like unemployment, its only good for so much time and its over, and you can only draw on it so many times during you lifetime then you can never get it again. Welfare is suppose to be a helping hand and not a way of life. This generation after generation getting on welfare and never getting off of it or ending the cycle is ridiculous!!!

  • Donna

    The job of a firefighter is just as important as the police. With regards to closing the rec centers are you inviting more events lke the one that occurred over the weekend at the harbor. Inner city kids have no real outlets for entertainment and so what do they do they visit the ones that are available, i.e. the Inner Harbor and thereby chase away your precious visitors. Think before you act.

  • the truth

    The scaming on Independence cards , welfare & other government aid is a generational issue that no political crony wants to attack. Great grandmom got knocked up by big leroy after the civil war & was given a hand out. Ever since then, it has been a continous way of life for too many Blacks & white trash perfectly capable of working but instead wander through life with no direction. Until a strong leadership steps up it will continue & I don’t see any diff. between the Dems & the Repubs.

  • Donna

    How is it that you can find millions of dollars to have a one day race and can’t find money to keep open the rec centers and fire station. The city has many property that are sitting abandon why not sell off some of them to raise capital. There are many other options available for raising money besides raising taxes, and cutting essential programs. Their is so much wrong with your thinking that it saddens me. Baltimore is going to pieces, but the only thing we ever hear of being improved is the Harbor. Yes I see some of the beautification that it taking place along the roadways, but all of that don’t me a hill of beans if after taking your eyes off of the road you catch a glance of a house whose roof has literally caved in or whose was are partially on the ground.

  • scott

    Ask Philly how cutting fire houses worked out for them. The day after they closed four city fire houses, they killed three firefighters. Policy makers never consider safety when they cut, it’s all about money. They could care less how it impacts services and lives.

  • Wiseguy

    ….just let most of the city burn to the ground…………that would be a great start.

  • cms827

    If this state actually got a hold on the welfare fraud we would have an abundance of money. I see it everyday also when you go to the grocery store it is ridiculous, nails are perfectly done, I Phones in one hand, coach purse in the other, tell OweMalley and Lip Gloss Queen to frequent a grocery store once in awhile and they would figure it out.

  • talk about it

    lay offs, stop pensions, cut the goverment to a thirdof its work force, if you can’t pay for it you don’t buy it,,,what gives

  • John

    Now what city needs Sheila Dixon Now? BALTIMORE!! Re-elect Sheila Dixon Mayor 2015

    • Jay

      I agree! People get down on Sheila for foolishness with accepting gifts and ‘stealing’ gift cards – Bring Sheila back 2015! She had a vision for Baltimore which, like it or not, was SOMETHING, unlike the current mayor who has NO plans for Baltimore.

  • retired guy

    Reduce or increase taxes I guess. The city is dying with high property tax burden. Need more businesses to increase tax revenue. Given the teenage gang problems around harbor is closing rec centers a good idea? These kids apparently lack parental supervision so rec centers better then running amuck.

  • Von

    How about she take a pay cut, the mayor step down, cut the athlete’s pay or close the sky boxes taking away from the fighters they can’t save lives like that and more children will be on the streets committing crimes or selling drugs and u call yourselves roll models Sheila did better than u guys at least she knew her people

  • BiteMe

    Just saying don’t they do the same thing every year.

  • Ballsohardclub

    Blake could start by closing her legs.

  • Marcy A

    City council could always take a pay cut,like most of us have done. Lets see if they can live on what they propose that we do.

  • Saowaluk

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who puts up frames brfoee I have pictures printed for them! I had picture-less frames up in Gigi’s room for at least 6 months brfoee I finally did anything with them! That was my big project last week editing and printing pictures for all the the frames in our house

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