The people of Baltimore were given a sounding board on the preliminary 2019 budget on Wednesday night.
The annual Taxpayers’ Night gives taxpayers the chance to tell the Board of Estimates their thoughts on the budget.
The Board of Estimates is made up of Mayor Catherine Pugh, City Council President Jack Young, Comptroller Joan Pratt, City Solicitor Andre Davis, and Director of Public Works Rudy Chow.
The people made what they wanted loud and clear, less money for police and more for schools and everything else.
The funds are broken down into 5 pillars.
Public safety, education and youth engagement, accountability and transparency, quality of life, and economic development and jobs.
There were some loud opinions against how the cash-pie is getting split up.
“It’s a pity despite the murders and corruption by BPD you still see a need to invest in them,” said Lawrence Brown. “We will be creating a version of the budget that will provide a better outcome. We refuse to succumb to what appears to be the status quo. It’s time to left go of the norm and invest in us.
$905,804,687 for the public safety pillar.
That money will is to bring in the ROCA Program and add funds to the Safe Streets Program, both aimed at helping at risk youth.
Also money to hire 100 more police officers and for strategic decision centers to help get information to officers in the fields.
The city pays for about 96% of funding for police, while the majority of funding for city schools—65 percent— comes from the state.
“Our school budget is way too little,” said Jeremy Collins a recent Morgan State Graduate. “Our safe streets need to increase and there’s so many things that we need to spend our money on then Police.”
Eva Wingren moved to the Greenmount West about a year and a half ago.
Part of the reason she came to Baltimore was the accessibility to decision makers on nights like Thursday.
“The recreation centers and opportunities for youth, I think that’s the big thing,” said Wingren. “People are really upset that they used to have these amenities in their community and places for kids to go and learn and be engaged and they just don’t anymore and there’s just vacant buildings.”
The board of estimates will vote on the final budget May 2.
City Council will hold hearings through May and vote on a final budget in June.