Newsletter: The Budget Shot Clock is Counting Down!
It’s an exciting time in our city, with the Wizards in the playoffs, the Nationals on a hot streak, and, well, the Capitals had a great season. There might not be thousands of cheering fans at the Wilson Building, but there are hundreds of advocacy calls and emails I’m receiving—which are even more important in helping me and my staff keep focus through the final budget vote.
Agency budget hearings are a wrap! The Council’s budget process is moving into its final stages with the conclusion of public hearings last week. So, what’s happened so far and what do we have left before the finish line? Since early April when Mayor Bowser transmitted her budget proposal for FY18 to the Council, my colleagues and I have been holding public hearings to learn from agencies and residents where we need to adjust spending, re-evaluate our current approach, or continue building on success.
Over the last three weeks, my Labor and Workforce Development Committee held budget hearings for eight independent agencies, including the Department of Employment Services, Workforce Investment Council, and Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity. This means I heard from both residents and agency heads on the “when, where, why, and how much” of funding needed for next year. Each of these budget hearings was shaped by hours of public testimony from hearings earlier this spring on each agency’s performance, and the testimony from those performance oversight hearings is available on my website.
This week, I’ll present my budget proposal for each agency at a committee mark-up. Then at the end of the month, I’ll reconvene with my colleagues to discuss the final budget proposals, which are wrapped into a Local Budget Act and Budget Support Act, for next fiscal year.
As I said in my initial outline of budget priorities, funding for paid family leave, childcare expansion, more affordable housing, safer public transit, and more robust public safety measures remains critically important to me. I’ve also heard from many of you on additional needs for our public schools, parks and recreation facilities, senior services, and environmental programs. My staff and I are continuing to work with other offices to find practical ways to distribute resources equitably and provide additional funding wherever possible. As always, I welcome your thoughts by email or phone.
As I meet more new parents and residents hoping to build families in the District, a few issues remain top of mind: paid family leave, child care, and making sure our schools have the adequate funding they need. Thank you to the many residents who testified on the need for an increase in school funding from Mayor Bowser and the Council. Thank you also to those who testified on the need for a fully funded paid leave program. We know that paid leave relieves enormous burdens on individuals and families, and funding for the program’s start-up costs and implementation are critical to putting our new paid leave law into effect.
Providing Affordable Childcare to Working Families: Affordable and accessible childcare is also essential to providing more holistic support for working families across the District. That’s why I was thrilled that my colleagues unanimously approved the Child Care Study Act of 2017 earlier this month on the first of two votes—a bill that I originally introduced as the Non-Traditional Child Care Needs Evaluation Act of 2017. The legislation requires an assessment of citywide need for non-traditional child care providers by ward and industry of employment, as well as an evaluation of available and accepted child care subsidies and recommendations on how to incentivize more child care providers in the District to include non-traditional hours.
This is a first step toward ensuring every worker needing child care outside of standard working hours (7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) has access to safe, consistent options across the city. I thank my at-large colleague David Grosso for his leadership on moving this bill through the Education Committee and look forward to working with State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang to get the study started as soon as possible.
WHERE I’VE BEEN
Building Career Pathways: I recently attended the Temple of Praise Employment Ministry’s 2017 Job Fair in Ward 8 and was encouraged by their community-lead effort to address unemployment, returning citizens’ needs, and the importance of a physically and mentally healthy workforce. Thank you to Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White for co-sponsoring the event. I was pleased to see a number of government partners and look forward to continuing to increase and support employment opportunities for residents, especially those East of the River.
New Red Top Meter Enforcement: The Department of Transportation (DDOT) began enforcing Red Top Meter restrictions on Monday, May 8. Red Top Meters are for exclusive use by individuals with disabilities within the Central Business District (CBD), providing reserved and accessible on-street metered parking. Vehicles with placards or plates parking at meters in the CBD must pay the meter fee and park for the time posted on the meter or sign. You can find more information about Red Top Meters here.
Making DC More Bike-Friendly: DDOT is working on streetscape improvements for the corridor from Florida Ave east to Bladensburg Road to improve pedestrian and cyclist connections and safety along New York Avenue. DDOT is accepting comments through an online survey until May 17. You can find out more about the project here and read the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s project recommendations here.
Take a look below for a list of other activities and events coming up across the city:
- Bike to Work Day: Friday, May 19, with 24 pit stop locations stationed across the District.
- Deanwood Day: Saturday, May 20, from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at Deanwood Recreation Center (1350 49th St. NE)
- POW! WOW! Art Festival Kickoff: Saturday, May 20, from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. at Storey Park (1005 First St. NE)
- DC Local Women Meeting: Sunday, May 21, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at Francis Gregory Neighborhood Library (3660 Alabama Ave. SE)
- Taste of North Capitol Main Street: Thursday, June 1, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. at the NPR Atrium (1111 North Capitol St. NE)
- Glover Park Day: Saturday, June 3, from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at Guy Mason Recreation Center (3600 Calvert St. NW)
- 2nd Annual Peace Rally: Saturday, June 3, at 11:30 a.m. in front of KIPP DC (4801 Benning Rd SE)
As always, thanks for reading.