Brief Overview from Mayor Gray’s Ward 1 Budget Town Hall

(Click for slide deck from Ward 1 Budget Town hall meeting)

(Click for slide deck from Ward 1 Budget Town hall meeting)

Mayor Gray held his seventh Budget Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, May 6th, for Ward 1 residents. For a general overview of what Mayor Gray presented, I have scanned my copy of the handout and provided access to is to the right (click on image).

Overall, the presentation went about as I expected. I’ll highlight a few areas that I think are noteworthy for the community in particular.

1) The budget continues  to invest in education. According to the Mayor, an additional educational investment of $116M is in the budget. There is also $1.6B in the budget for citywide school modernizations.

In FY2015, $404 million is in the budget for modernization projects. The money breaks down like this:

  • High Schools – $173.8M
  • Middle Schools – $20.4M
  • Elementary Schools – $115.7M
  • General Improvements – $94.4M

There are no Ward 1 schools in the modernization budget for FY2015 … however the following Ward 1 schools are in the five year budget projection:

  • Banneker HS – $67.1M
  • Bancroft ED – $35.4M
  • Marie Reed ES – $45.5 M (this building would be razed and completely rebuilt)
  • Tubman ES – $11.2M
  • Adams ES – $12.2M
  • Washington Metro ES – $949M

2) Beyond schools, the following items also struck me as noteworthy:

  • $100M to Affordable Housing — including a $1M increase to emergency rental assistance, a $1M increase to rapid rehousing, and a $1M increase in home purchase assistance;
  • A $2M increase in funding for Senior Wellness Centers (I know this is greatly needed and hope to see the Ward 1 Center on Georgia Avenue benefit from this);
  • Funding for a police force of over 4,000 officers; and,
  • Funding for the streetcar system ($810M), a Circulator bus garage ($41M), and $49M to purchase more Circulator buses.

What I didn’t See

The most conspicuous omission from the Budget — including the five year projection — was funding for the final phase of the modernization of the historic Park View school building. The school was originally scheduled to be modernized in three phases falling in fiscal year’s 2012, 2016, and 2018. The 2012 modernization included a lot of work beyond a normal phase one, so while I was disappointed to see the 2016 phase removed from last year’s budget, I wasn’t surprised either. However, the complete removal of the school from the projected five-year budget this time around was unexpected.

To this point, Councilmember Graham attended a few minutes of the Mayor’s Town Hall at the beginning of the evening and brought up the absence of Ward 1 schools from the FY15 budget along with the removal of the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View work entirely. At the end of the presentation, I also sought clarification on the modernization issue during the question portion of the meeting at the end of the program.

In response to my query, Director Hanlon of the Department of General Services mentioned that the final phase for the Park View school is now scheduled for 2021. Mayor Gray added that if there were any urgent issues at the school that there might be an opportunity to have them addressed through other programs and encouraged me to send him a list of priorities.

As of the time of this writing, I have already obtained and submitted the school’s list of priorities, and am in the process of setting up the appropriate meetings to see where we get. I’ll keep all informed I make progress.

Happily, an elevator and two lifts have already been approved to address the school’s need to be in ADA compliance with work beginning this now.


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2 Comments on “Brief Overview from Mayor Gray’s Ward 1 Budget Town Hall”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Thank you for following up on this Kent! I have to say I can only laugh at Director Hanlon’s suggestion that BMPV is in the “2021” budget. As much of a joke as the 5-year planning budget is (because it is so easy to be in one year, gone the next), it has to be the pinnacle of all empty promises to propose that a place has been saved for us in a budget that has not even been created yet.

  2. Damiana Says:

    thanks for this summary, i thought that funding to replace the old boilers for the heating system has also been included for this year along with some of the ADA compliance no?

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