Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott outlined the city’s priorities—including a series of budget requests and policy initiatives related to reforming the annual tax sale, public safety, and local traffic enforcement—ahead of the Maryland General Assembly session beginning this week, Adam Willis and Emily Sullivan report for the Baltimore Banner. This session marks the first for Governor-elect Wes Moore, who has previously expressed support for the city’s needs.
What are the specifics of Scott’s requests?
Scott is asking for a total of $497 million, about $10 million more than he requested last year. Previously, the city only received about half of that amount. Housing initiatives top the city’s funding priorities, including $100 million for rehabilitation loans, a redevelopment fund, and a contribution to the Baltimore City Community Land Trust to address vacancies. Among other requests are $20 million for the Baltimore Police Department; and $50 million to build new police facilities in the Northeast and Northwest districts, as well as funds to bolster victim services and other public safety initiatives.
Scott also outlines some prospective tax reform policies, including one that would protect properties occupied by their owners and allow the city to intervene in the tax sale process by granting payment plans or canceling the annual tax sale, among other actions. Other proposed policies include a provision that would allow properties with liens to be transferred to heirs, and another that would allow the city to acquire more vacant properties through an expanded new legal process.
Anything else I should know?
In addition to its usual budget commitments, the state can also tap into its $2.5 billion surplus and a $3 billion Rainy Day Fund.
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