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Young tackles crime, taxes, education at City Board of Estimates meeting

Young doesn't want higher taxes after latest school funding proposal
Posted at 1:22 PM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 14:49:40-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — From education to crime and taxes, Baltimore City Mayor Jack Young tackled several hot button issues facing the City at Wednesday's Board of Estimates meeting.

One of the major questions posed to Young, was his reaction to Tuesday's vote by the Kirwan Commission, that recommends the City spend $330 million more on education over the next 10-years.

Young said he hasn't yet read the report, but doesn't want to raise taxes, all while saying the City would need to come up with the money somehow.

Overall, the panel recommended $4 billion in public education reform throughout the State by 2030.

RELATED: Kirwan Commission votes on $4 billion school funding proposal

Of that total, the state would be responsible for picking up $2.8 billion of the cost, while Baltimore City and the state's 23 counties would have to pay $1.2 billion .

The commission is set to meet again on October 30. After that, state lawmakers and Governor Larry Hogan will have the chance to review the recommendations and decide whether or not they're signed into law.

Meanwhile, City Council President on Wednesday announced that he's sent a letter to Young, proposing the $34 million surplus from the 2019 City budget be used to pay for heating and air conditioning in City Schools.

On Wednesday, the City's Board of Estimates also approved spending $835,000 on a $20 million cyber security insurance policy.

This follows a crippling cyber attack, that held the City and a large portion of its computerized resources hostage back in May.

The policy would cover any expenses associated with the loss and recovery of data in any future hack.

Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison also spoke at the meeting on recent calls for the department to reinstate a controversial surveillance plane amid an increase in city violence.

Harrison says he's in support of reducing crime off evidence based solutions, and that he sees the plane as more of an experiment.

READ MORE: Call for surveillance plane cameras over Baltimore

The ACLU has pushed back against the plane as well, saying it would violate the fourth amendment rights of citizens.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Greater Baltimore Committee seemed to disagree with both Harrison and the ACLU's stance.

"Critics have objected to the technology as invasive of constitutional rights to privacy. While those concerns are worthy of consideration, the GBC Board does not believe that the application of the aerial surveillance technology serves as a threat to individual privacy any more than the daily utilization of cameras that are prevalent in our society today. Others suggest that Baltimore should reject the program until it has been proven as an effective tool to support law enforcement activities elsewhere. The GBC disagrees with this position and points to the fact that all successful programs, tactics, or products must go through a “proof of concept” stage of initial implementation and evaluation," the GBC.

Also on hand at the meeting was Baltimore Transportation Director Steve Sharkey, who announced the return of the Youth Snow Program.

Registration is open through November 15 for senior citizens or people with disabilities who will need snow shoveled this season.

Residents from the ages 14 to 21 can apply to shovel, and earn up to $500 this winter.

Anyone interested in the program should call 311 for information.