Budget season is in full swing! These are your taxpayer dollars, so please check the budget hearing schedule and budget office website to see when agencies and issues you care about will come before the Council. If you cannot make a hearing in-person and want to share your thoughts with me, please feel free to call my office or email me directly. Either way, remember that this is your time to let me and my colleagues know what investments matter most to you.
It’s officially spring! Sure, there’s the spring equinox yesterday and the soon-to-be-blooming cherry blossoms, but at the Wilson Building spring means budget season! In fact, Mayor Muriel Bowser released her proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget yesterday, which officially kicks off the Council's budget discussions over the next two months. Thank you to the many residents who offered testimony at the Council’s performance oversight hearings in February and March. Your insights and recommendations help shape our priorities for the budget next year.
If you didn’t get a chance to share your input at performance oversight hearings—and even if you did—I have good news! You get another bite at the apple during budget hearings throughout the rest of March and into April. Make sure to look at the budget hearing schedule and new budget office website to see when committees will be reviewing agency budgets and taking a closer look at whether funding is being put to its best use. These are your tax dollars. Tell us how you think they should be spent.
D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) applauded the launch this month of a new assistance program for District seniors who are at risk of foreclosure due to unpaid property taxes after taking out a reverse mortgage. The program was created out of the Reverse Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2017, a bill that Councilmember Silverman introduced last council period and worked to fund in this year’s budget.
“This program means that a senior is no longer at risk of losing their longtime home simply because they were unaware or unable due to declining health to pay property taxes and other home related expenses,” said Silverman.
I am amazed we are already in mid-February!
This year, our office is celebrating Black History Month both at the Wilson Building and in the community! I hope you’ll join us for one or both events. On Friday, Feb. 22, from 2:15-3:15pm, the Council will host its annual program at the Wilson Building. Then on Sunday, Feb. 24, from 2:00-3:30pm, I invite you to join me at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum for a docent-led tour of the museum’s latest exhibit, A Right to the City. The exhibit takes an in-depth look at how Washingtonians have shaped and reshaped six neighborhoods over the last five decades, with a special lens on the African-American experience. The tour will be followed by a reception and a DC Strings performance of notable works composed by African-American writers. It’s a great way to celebrate Black History Month, learn more about our city, and build community while enjoying music and munchies. I hope you will make plans to join us!
Silverman Introduces Bills to Lower Student Loan Debt and Increase Oversight of Affordable Housing Development
D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) yesterday introduced legislation that would help District residents afford higher education by making low-interest student loans available through a new D.C.-backed finance authority, as well as a bill to shine more light on how D.C. government decides to spend taxpayer dollars on affordable housing development.
“Lowering student loan debt not only makes higher education more affordable, but it also helps our residents save and work toward other life goals, such as renting or buying a home,” Silverman said. “These bills might not seem related, but they are: We need to make sure when residents work hard in school and get a job they want, there’s housing in this city that they can afford.”
On Wednesday, January 16th, at 1pm, the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hold its Council Period 23 organizational meeting in Room 123 of the John A. Wilson Building, to consider the following items:
Happy New Year!
Thanks to all who started 2019 with me and my staff at my swearing-in and office open house! I’m excited to serve residents and businesses across the District for another four years!
Before I get to details from the D.C. Council’s first full legislative meeting of the year, I want to extend TWO FREE ticket offers so you can make good on resolutions to take advantage of the great arts and entertainment events in our city:
Silverman Night at Studio Theatre: I’m excited to host my third community night with Studio Theatre and invite you to their latest production, Admissions, on Thursday, January 17, at 8:00 pm! Studio Theatre continues to be a wonderful local partner in making sure the arts remain accessible to District residents. I have 50 free tickets available to District residents that can be reserved here. Tickets are first come, first served with a limit of two per person. The form will stay open until all tickets have been distributed! See you at the show!
D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) today introduced a bill that would establish an independent agency to assist District taxpayers with navigating and resolving complex tax problems.
“Taxes can be notoriously complicated to navigate, and problems with taxes even more so,” said Silverman. “This bill helps District taxpayers decipher confusing tax issues and ensures they are resolved quickly and efficiently.”
Today, D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) re-introduced a bill that would strengthen protections and recourse options for homeowners whose property is damaged by negligent construction at a neighboring site. The bill was co-introduced by Chairman Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) and eleven councilmembers.
“I've heard horror stories from District homeowners about cracked foundations, flooded basements, and years of battling contractors who refuse to take responsibility for careless work,” said Silverman. “Homeowners must have reliable protections against property damage.”
We’re in the final days of 2018! Thank you for your continued support and engagement throughout this year. Every call, email, and visit to the Wilson Building has helped me better understand what is important to District residents, and I’m honored to continue working on your behalf to achieve a more equitable, accessible, and affordable city.
On to 2019!
Start off the new year by joining me at two events on January 2:
Swearing-In: You are welcome to come to the swearing-in of the newly re-elected leadership of the city. The ceremony takes place Wednesday, Jan. 2, at the Convention Center beginning at 9:30 a.m. No tickets are needed.
- Inauguration Open House: Following the swearing-in, join me from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. for an open house in my D.C. Council office (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 408) and help kick off my second term! We’ll have some delicious nibbles from Each Peach in Mount Pleasant!
Keep reading for a few updates from our final legislative meeting of 2018.