Nearly 300 of Baltimore City residents attended City Council President Jack Young’s Taxpayers’ Night to address members of the City Council about the mayor’s proposed fiscal year 2011 budget.
Held at the War Memorial Building on Monday night, citizens directly addressed Council members tasked with passing Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s $50 million package of taxes and fee increases in order to close the city’s historic $121 million budget deficit.
“The primary concern focused on citizens wanting to make sure the Council members understand eliminating jobs for city workers would not be well taken,” said Lester Davis, Young’s spokesman. “They’re vital to the city and the mayor should look to other ways to close that gap than cutting jobs and workers.”
Davis said the attendees were very “spirited” and “impassioned,” but said the atmosphere was positive.
“When you have people with such a vested interest, they want to get their point across, but the Council members welcomed it,” he said.
Hearings will take place this week for Council members to discuss various aspects of the budget before it is finalized. Young said he will work to prevent as many cuts as possible by working with his colleagues to find alternate forms of revenue.
“No one doubts the fact that Baltimore faces a fiscal nightmare if the city’s budget shortfall is not addressed,” Young said in his online journal. “Therefore, the status quo is not an option. Tough decisions will certainly have to be made and we all will be required to shoulder a heavier load. But I promise you that I will represent the best interests of our great city of Baltimore. I will continue to fight for transparency during this budgetary process.”