Impact of COVID-19 reflected in Baltimore’s fiscal year 22 budget proposal

Baltimore city officials on Wednesday proposed a new budget that keeps the line on city services, does not call for new taxes, but includes a small increase in monthly 911 charges. city ​​of Baltimore, Henry Raymond, told 11 News that there were not many changes in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, saying the city is strapped for cash. The COVID-19 pandemic has left a strong imprint on the city’s restaurant and tourism industries, and the city center emptied as commuters worked from home. The budget is slightly lower than plan for FY2021, although the general fund budget is 4.4% higher. It reflects the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the city’s revenue. Property and income tax revenues are relatively stable, according to budget officials, and the city expects only a modest recovery in tourism-related revenues. “The preliminary plan for fiscal 2022 reflects slow recovery from the pandemic for the retail, hospitality, restaurant and tourism sectors of the local economy,” Raymond said. No layoffs or additional leave are proposed, as was the case in the last budget. act and help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support the city’s continued response to COVID-19. higher than last year’s BPD budget proposal. According to a city budget analyst, the increase in BPD’s budget is due to increased social benefits and health care costs and workers’ compensation costs. Some details of the budget proposal include: The monthly 911 charge will increase by 25 cents per phone line to support improved technology. as part of the Next Generation 911 effort. $ 360.3 million is dedicated to support the city’s schools. Public safety services are expected to cost $ 1.05 billion, which includes police, firefighters and other programs. $ 10 million will be used by the City of Baltimore Health Department to continue managing the COVID-19 vaccination sites. $ 500,000 of the remaining funding from the coronavirus relief law will go towards the purchase of equipment additional personal protection. Recycling cans will begin to be distributed to all households in the city. A one-time loan of $ 6.7 million will be granted to Visit Baltimore to revive the recovery of tourism revenues. It will be reimbursed over five years as the hotel tax revenue is recovered. The Charm City Circulator will continue to operate at current service levels with the support of a Federal Transit Authority grant from the Coronavirus Relief Act. The city continues to rely on federal funds to manage costs related to the ongoing pandemic, including continuing to use the Lord Baltimore Hotel as an isolation center to help control the spread of the coronavirus. Budget officials said revenues from parking lots and meters could be permanently reduced if commuters continue to use work-from-home options and also warn that funds may have to be taken from other services to pay off debt. downtown Hilton hotel, which has been closed due to the pandemic. is that traffic camera revenue is expected to increase by $ 7 million in the new fiscal year. The CFO said less traffic means people drive faster.

Baltimore city officials on Wednesday proposed a new budget that keeps the line on city services, does not call for new taxes, but includes a small increase in the monthly 911 fee.

Baltimore City Finance Director Henry Raymond told 11 News there weren’t many changes to the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, saying the city was strapped for cash.

The COVID-19 pandemic left a heavy mark on the city’s restaurant and tourism industries, and the city center emptied as commuters worked from home.

The overall budget of $ 3.6 billion is slightly lower than plan for FY2021, although the general fund budget is 4.4% higher. It reflects the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the city’s revenue.

Land and tax revenues are relatively stable, according to budget officials, and the city expects only a modest recovery in tourism-related revenues.

“The preliminary plan for fiscal 2022 reflects the slow post-pandemic recovery for the retail, hospitality, restaurant and tourism sectors of the local economy,” Raymond said.

No layoffs or additional leave are proposed, as was the case in the last budget.

The proposal would use $ 52 million in coronavirus relief legislation and assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support the city’s continued response to COVID-19.

Taking the lion’s share of the general fund budget, the Baltimore Police Department’s allocation for fiscal 2022 is $ 555.5 million, or $ 27.6 million, or 5%, more than the BPD budget proposal from last year. According to a city budget analyst, the increase in BPD’s budget is due to the increase in employee benefits and health care costs and workers’ compensation costs.

Some details of the budget proposal include:

  • The monthly 911 charge will increase by 25 cents per phone line to support improved technology as part of the Next Generation 911 effort.
  • $ 360.3 million is allocated to support the city’s schools.
  • Public safety services are expected to cost $ 1.05 billion, which includes police, firefighters and other programs.
  • $ 10 million will be used by the Baltimore City Department of Health to continue managing COVID-19 vaccination sites.
  • $ 500,000 of the remaining funding from the coronavirus relief law will go towards the purchase of additional personal protective equipment.
  • Recycling cans will begin to be distributed to all households in the city.
  • A one-time loan of $ 6.7 million will be granted to Visit Baltimore to jump-start tourism revenue recovery. It will be reimbursed over five years as hotel tax revenues are recovered.
  • State funding of $ 1 million for YouthWorks and $ 3.5 million for the local management board of the Children and Youth Fund.
  • The Charm City Circulator will continue to operate at current service levels with the support of a Federal Transit Authority grant from the Coronavirus Relief Act.

The city continues to depend on federal funds to manage costs related to the pandemic, including continuing to use the Lord Baltimore Hotel as an isolation center to help control the spread of the coronavirus.

Budget officials said revenues from parking garages and meters could be permanently reduced if commuters continue to use work-from-home options.

They also warn that money may have to be taken from other services to pay off debt at the downtown Hilton hotel, which has been closed due to the pandemic.

One bright spot in the city’s revenue table is that traffic camera revenue is expected to increase by $ 7 million in the new fiscal year. The CFO said less traffic means people drive faster.


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