A letter from the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee
As the Chair of the Boston City Council’s Ways and Means Committee, I’m proud to report that Councilors came together yesterday to pass an on-time, fiscally responsible FY22 budget!
Over the last few weeks, the Council took an unprecedented leadership role in the budget process to ensure that the final appropriations included $31.5 million more to tackle our City’s greatest challenges, including a record $20 million for the Acquisition Opportunity Program (AOP) to make more homes permanently affordable, $2 million in new city support for land trusts, $4 million for a new green jobs program, and a major infusion of $6 million into efforts to address the crisis at Mass & Cass. Having expressed concern about the Mayor’s resubmitted budget, the Council stepped in to further prioritize jobs for young adults, WiFi access for our public housing developments, more funds for our small-scale childcare providers, support for local restaurants and small businesses, and a number of other key initiatives to meet the challenges of this moment with the urgency they deserve. In this moment of transition, I’m so proud that the City Council stepped up to lead on this Budget for Boston.
Thanks to advocacy from the public and from Councilors over more than 90 hours of budget review hearings, the operating budget also includes a pilot Alternative 911 response for non-violent calls, additional resources for language access, programs for immigrant youth, another team to speed up the pace of installing slow streets infrastructure, and many important services to ensure Boston recovers equitably from the pandemic. The accompanying BPS budget will ensure that we have social workers and family liaisons in every City school in time for the start of the academic year. Finally, the Council also passed a $3.2 billion capital plan for the next five years, representing a record investment in all our public infrastructure.
Thanks to the Council, we now start the new fiscal year on a strong financial footing, equipped with the resources needed to support all our residents as we seek to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in ways that make Boston a more sustainable and equitable City. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who took the time to tune in to the budget process, ask questions, submit written and video testimony, and testify live via Zoom. Because of the diverse set of voices we heard from, we were able to achieve a budget that more adequately addresses the needs of all Boston residents.
Now that budget season has concluded, the Council will continue to closely oversee the implementation of the funds approved yesterday, and to make sure that the appropriation of further federal funding is transparent and well-targeted. But for today, I want to close by expressing my great gratitude to Council and City department staff— and to my colleagues for their hard work and resolve on behalf of the people of Boston.
Chair, Ways and Means Committee
Councilor, District 8