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Scott touts record, reflects on term in fourth State of the City Address

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Posted at 10:38 PM, Mar 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-25 23:11:33-04

BALTIMORE — In many ways, the 2024 State of The City Address was a retrospective of Brandon Scott's term.

But the speech was also about high-impact issues still facing the city: public safety, vacant homes, and education.

"There is still so much work to do," Scott said in one of his speech's opening lines, "but we must acknowledge how far we have come in just a few short years."

The mayor touched on the pandemic his mayorship started with and spoke at length about the violence affecting thousands. He said his plan to prevent it, introduced in 2021, is working.

"We've built a plan that supports our community violence intervention ecosystem, established a nationally recognized 9-1-1 diversion program that resolved over 600 incidents with community-based responders rather than police, and expanded our victim services work," Scott said.

Mayor Scott touted the largest drop in homicides in roughly a decade and worked to seize thousands of illegal guns.

A handful of people in the crowd interrupted the mayor. As security escorted them out, others in the crowd chanted, "Four more years!"

"We support everyone's right to protest... but as we always say, there's decency in order," Scott said.

Later in the speech, the mayor revealed he's calling for a charter amendment to raise the maximum civil penalty for illegal dumping. He also teased his upcoming budget, for which he says the city was staring down a $100 million deficit.

"I am proud to report that the budget we will put forward completely covers the gap," Scott continued, "without furloughing employees, without closing rec centers or fire stations, and without cutting city services or turning our back on the priorities moving Baltimore forward.

Among the mayor's other points: weekly recycling returned, and squeegee-related incidents went down. Scott mentioned the city has the 8th-fastest-growing economy in the country.

"We've stabilized a city government that, for nearly 15 years, had only known instability and scandal," Scott added.

Scott is up for re-election this year; the primary for his party's nomination is this May 14th. Scott's challengers for the Democratic nomination include former mayor Sheila Dixon, Bob Wallace, Wendy Bozel, and Thiru Vignarajah.