Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The Baltimore City Council votes on a plan to restore some of the funding cuts proposed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Political Reporter Pat Warren has the results of an effort led by the council president to reject some of the mayor’s proposals.
The gathering before the meeting was an effort to convince council members to vote to cut some parts of the mayor’s budget in order to cover others they consider more important.
It failed nine against to five in favor, and the mayor’s budget passed the committee nine in favor for five against.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Council President Jack Young locked horns over permanently closing three fire companies instead of continuing the practice of rotating closures.
“It gives some permanency, reliability, 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,” Rawlings-Blake said.
Young says citizens want the fire companies to stay open, and that they also want the mayor to scrap plans to close some rec centers.
“I want to fully fund them, fully fund them,” he said.
The council president’s supporters– including some firefighters– have been publicly urging the council to adopt his proposals for a funding shift, but Young says when testing the waters on Thursday, he expected his plan to fail.
“In my view, it’s saying that the elected officials are not listening to the very people who elected them. I’m listening to them,” Young said.
A spokesman for the mayor tells WJZ that even if the council had amended the mayor’s budget, their vote is merely a recommendation to the mayor and it doesn’t have the force of law. And even if she did adopt it, the money saved would have to go into a reserve fund and not where the council president wanted to put it.
The new budget gets a formal vote on Monday.