It's budget season in Baltimore - how do you think the City should be spending your money? Speak out at Taxpayer's Night!
WHEN: Thursday, May 25, at 6PM
WHERE: Baltimore City Hall and online
HOW: You have three options:
- Show up at City Hall, 100 Holliday Street
- Join the hearing on Webex at this link
- Can't join at that time? Submit your written comments on the budget here.
Let us know you want to testify here, and we'll reach out with support!
WHY: read on...
On Monday this week, the draft city budget for Fiscal Year 2024 was presented to the City Council, and next Thursday, the City Council is holding its annual public hearing on the budget: Taxpayer's Night. This is our opportunity to tell the City Council what priorities deserve more investment, what deserve less, and what should not be funded at all.
Much of our work to protect the environment and public health has to do with investments in infrastructure: where we are sending our trash, recycling, and composting; whether our sewage gets to the treatment plants or ends up in someone's basement; whether we are investing the capital funds to build the new composting and recycling facilities we need. So the details in the budget really, really matter. For example, the budget the Mayor's Office presented to the Council on Monday includes:
- Capital funds for constructing a new compost facility within the City - hopefully the first of many!
- Funding for lead service line inventory and replacement
- Hiring 10 additional Solid Waste crews to stabilize trash and recycling pickup
- $10 million for the BRESCO trash incinerator, $14 million for the landfill, but only $2 million for recycling
- Only one-third as much funding for preventative maintenance of the sewer system as it cost in 2022
- No specific mention of the amount or type of assistance for residents dealing with sewage backups in their homes
We know the City will be continuing to offer some level of assistance to people facing sewage backups, but how much and to whom makes a big difference. At the City Council's latest hearing on the problem of sewer backups last October, we learned that the City's programs for helping people after a sewage backup reach only a tiny fraction of people who experience sewage backing up from the City's sewer system into their house - read more from the Baltimore Brew here. And the problem persists - just last week, we were on the air with WMAR to talk about the problem after yet another resident couldn't get help after a costly backup. Catch the video here! When other people's sewage backs up from the City-owned, City-maintained part of the sewage system into your home, the City should help you out. And the City's budget should reflect that commitment.
Do you want to testify at Taxpayer's Night on 5/25 about Zero Waste, sewage infrastructure, or anything else? Let us know, and we'll be in touch with support!