Today Boston Mayor Thomas Menino proposed a $2.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2013. The Boston City Council is now tasked with examining the budget, and passing a budget by June 30.
Menino's proposed budget includes a five-year $1.8 billion capital plan, including $217 million for new projects in fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1, 2012.
According to a press release, the new projects "reinforce the Mayor’s priorities to build a comprehensive youth development strategy, enhance government’s personal connection to the neighborhoods and foster job creation by emphasizing collaboration among government, business and non-profit leaders."
“We are perhaps the strongest city in the nation right now – our finances are stable, our economy is growing, and our neighborhoods are vibrant. The FY 2013 budget supports what got us here and pushes us to go further,” said Menino. “We will continue to invest in our strengths, build relationships, and engage our partners in a way that helps expand access to quality schools, empower neighbors to engage in their communities, promote healthy living, and ensure Boston’s prosperity for years to come.”
The proposed $2.4 billion FY '13 operating budget features a 2.5-percent growth from last year’s budget, an increase of $60 million. Property taxes continue to be Boston’s largest source of revenue, along with hotel, meals and other excise tax revenue, according to City statistics. The City’s second largest source of revenue is net state aid from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and that is expected to decline by nearly $8 million from FY '12.
The City of Boston expect to save lots of money on employee health care, thanks to the municipal health care agreement the City reached with union leaders last spring, which slowed the growth of healthcare costs by more than $70 million for four years. But even with the savings, Boston's proposed FY '13 budget has $289 million for health insurance premiums for city employees and retirees, close to 12% of the total budget.
Here are some highlights of the proposed budget, according to the City's press release:
- Teen Centers: Boston Centers for Youth and Families will pilot redesigned teen centers at five sites around the city that will include more “teen friendly” spaces, technology, and programs. Boston Public Library will also unveil new teen-focused areas at the Egleston Square and Hyde Park branches.
- Boston Moves for Health: following up on Mayor Menino’s challenge for the City to lose a collective 1 million pounds, the Boston Public Health commission will launch its Boston Moves for Health campaign this spring, including a website and interactive tools and programs to help residents engage and invest in their own health.
- Community Policing: The Boston Police Department will increase investments to its Neighborhood Watch Unit, appointing a Director of Neighborhood Outreach to improve communication and collaboration with Community Service Officers and Safe Street Teams, and residents across the City.
- Green Living: In FY13, the Parks Department will pilot several new initiatives to improve engagement around the city’s green spaces, while Environment & Energy will grow the Mayor’s Renew Boston program, which has already helped more than 5,000 residents and 1,000 businesses green their properties with no-cost energy efficiency upgrades.
The City’s $1.8 billion five-year capital plan features $217 million worth of new project authorizations in 2013. Significant capital projects slated for funding in FY 2013 include:
- The Dudley Plan: Menino will continue his investment in the revitalization of Dudley Square, a $115 million development project that will revitalize the historic Ferdinand building and bring new people, businesses, and economic opportunity to Dudley Square. The project broke ground this spring and is expected to be completed in Fall 2014.
- Redesign and Reinvest: The City plans to invest in major infrastructure upgrades for City roadways and buildings, including 40 miles of roadway reconstruction and investments to facilities in our neighborhood schools, community centers, and libraries. A new East Boston branch library will break ground later this month.
- Community and Recreation: The City will make major investments in Boston’s neighborhood parks and community centers, with a goal of fostering deeper community connections through innovative programs, partnerships, and play.
“Careful planning and thoughtful decisions – in many cases very difficult decisions – over the last several years have positioned Boston for greater success as economic recovery takes hold,” said Menino. “Through collaboration among City departments, partnerships with nonprofit and community groups, as well as capital investments, we will continue to win Boston’s future.”
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