City Council to begin work on Baltimore’s $4.3 billion budget

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Dear Baltimore,

This week, the city’s Board of Estimates voted to send the Mayor’s $4.3 billion budget to the Council for consideration. The vote officially kicks off the Council’s budget process.

Over the coming weeks, the Council will dig into the details of the mayor’s proposal. We will invite our agency leaders to discuss their priorities in a series of hearings, ask the tough questions and find places to suggest Mayor Scott redirect spending.

The city’s budget, just like the budgets in each of your households, speaks to our priorities. And folks in Baltimore have been very clear: You want your city leaders to take an evidence-based approach that drives sustainable results and reverses our structural inequities. The Council’s work on the budget aspires to do just that.

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The fiscal 2022 budget will be introduced at the Council’s May 17 meeting as three pieces of legislation: the Ordinance of Estimates, the property tax ordinance and the budget for the Board of School Commissioners.

Residents are invited to offer testimony and direction to the Council at Taxpayers’ Night on May 27 beginning at 5 p.m. The public can participate in the meeting virtually on Webex, the city’s video conferencing platform. The meeting will also be streamed live on CharmTV.

To send us written testimony, email Testimony@BaltimoreCity.gov.

The Council’s budget hearings begin June 1 and continue each weekday through June 7 from about 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tune in to hear from our agencies, including the health, police, fire and public works departments, as well as city schools leadership. You can watch the hearings on Webex or CharmTV. Click here to read the Ways and Means Committee’s full list of hearing dates and times.

After that consideration, the full Council will convene to vote on the budget. The city Charter requires the Council pass a budget by June 25. The 2022 fiscal year begins July 1.

Under the current Charter, the Council can cut spending in the mayor’s preliminary budget but cannot redirect funding to services or programs. Voters approved a Charter amendment in November 2020 to give the Council the authority to also direct spending. That change will go into effect next year.

Baltimore, we work for you — and we want to hear your voice to guide our decisions during this budget process. It is with your participation that we can produce the best results for our great city.

In service,

Nick J. Mosby