Mayor Janey proposes forward-looking budget and capital plan centered on Boston's reopening, recovery and long-term renewal
Mayor Kim Janey today proposed her Administration’s recommended $3.75 billion Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) operating budget and $3.2 billion Fiscal Year 2022-2026 (FY22-FY26) Capital Plan, providing the resources for the city’s continued robust public health response to COVID-19, making strategic investments in Boston’s neighborhoods and residents, and setting the stage for Boston’s equitable reopening, recovery and long-term renewal. As a result of continued strength in the local economy and a significant infusion of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, the FY22 operating budget proposes a year-over-year increase of $142 million, or 3.9 percent over FY21, and the Capital Plan represents a $200 million increase, the largest capital plan ever, allowing the City of Boston to make meaningful investments in supporting the local economy and improving city services, infrastructure, and quality of life issues for Boston residents.
“During the past year, Boston has come together like never before, and we must take that spirit of inclusiveness and compassion and translate it into real investments for the City of Boston and our residents. COVID-19 has brought on unprecedented economic and social change for our city, and this budget proposal meets the moment and makes targeted investments to ensure that as we emerge from this public health crisis we are not going back to normal, but going forward better than before,” said Mayor Janey. “I am proud of this budget and the enormous work that goes into running our City government and providing the services Bostonians need and rely on. No one can be left behind as Boston recovers from COVID-19, and looks forward to the future.”
“Despite an unprecedented year in Boston and around our world, Boston’s strong financial foundation ensured we had the resources we needed to care for our City,” said Emme Handy, Chief Financial Officer for the City of Boston. “As we plan for the next fiscal year and beyond, City Hall will continue to invest in the people of our City, and maintain the financial prudence necessary to ensure we can continue to educate Boston’s children, create homes for those that need them, keep our City safe, and build a City that invests in all.”
“This year’s operating budget and capital plan provide the needed resources for our continued response to COVID-19, and sets the stage for our City’s equitable recovery,” said Justin Sterritt, Boston’s Budget Director. “This responsible budget builds upon decades of proactive fiscal management and will provide a financial roadmap for recovery as we look to respond to the economic, health and social upheaval brought on by the pandemic.”
Following the creation of the Office of Equity and Inclusion in 2020 that was charged with embedding equity and racial justice into all City planning and operations, the City of Boston Office of Budget Management (OBM) worked to introduce an equity framework to the budget process this year that formalizes an analysis conducted to ensure equitable investments across Boston neighborhoods. The City collected data on which specific groups were impacted by budget proposals, if those groups had been brought into the conversation and what, if any, unintended consequences there could be. Departments funded through the operating budget will develop implementation plans that will contain performance metrics to gauge their success, especially as it relates to equity. This approach is part of a larger partnership between the Administration & Finance cabinet and the Office of Equity and Inclusion to collaborate on future operating, capital and federal investments to ensure those investments are rooted in equitable procurement practices.
To help recover from the financial and economic impacts of COVID-19, the city is expected to receive an estimated $215 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act for use over the next year. While the City awaits the formal award from the federal government, the city proposes to dedicate $100 million of this initial funding over the next year to offset local revenue declines during the pandemic. This offset will provide flexibility, stability and fiscal resiliency in city services, while making near-term investments to Reopen, Recover and Renew Boston by creating or expanding vital city programs. Since the start of the pandemic, the City of Boston has redirected resources to respond to the global public health crisis, including moving to a remote workforce where possible and developing protocols for safe delivery of in-person services where required. The City also built the Boston Hope emergency field hospital, created COVID-19 testing sites, created distance learning curriculum and deployed new technology to BPS students, supported small businesses, and provided rental relief to residents.
The FY22 Budget includes over $40 million in new investments to create a more resilient city government and set the stage for Boston’s recovery, reopening and renewal. New investments will provide needed assistance for our most vulnerable and training and support for those individuals and industries hardest hit during the pandemic. As the city reopens, the budget addresses immediate needs and expands services for post COVID-19 programming including in Arts, Parks, Youth, and Age Strong. This budget is also centered on renewal and working towards a more equitable future.
In addition to dedicating $100 Million of federal funding to programs through the City Budget, Mayor Janey is proposing the creation of Boston’s Equitable Recovery Coordinating Committee to ensure the equitable, effective, and efficient coordination of stimulus resources for the immediate and long-term benefit of Boston residents and neighborhoods, especially those who have been hurt most by the pandemic. This first of its kind committee for the City, will help design and steer these resources in an equitable way, through feedback and dialogue with the community. The committee will be composed of stakeholders from across city government who will consult with external partners and stakeholders.
The City of Boston entered the COVID-19 pandemic with a stable financial position thanks to years of strong fiscal management, which earned the city seven straight years of AAA bond ratings. In addition, the City of Boston was named by Moody’s in 2019 as one of the best prepared cities to handle a national recession. As a result, the City has been able to continue making strategic investments in priority areas, and has been able to increase the size of the Capital Plan by over $1.4 billion since FY14, about 80% or 7 percent every year.
The City’s $3.2 billion FY22-FY26 Capital Plan is the largest in history and represents a deep commitment to investing in vital and cherished public spaces and in the local economy and getting Bostonians back to work. By growing the capital plan, the City is able to invest equitably in new public spaces like parks, libraries and schools, and better transportation for all modes of travel, while also stimulating the local economy at a vital time.
High-Quality Education for All Students
Mayor Janey has made high-quality education for all students in Boston a top priority, and this budget represents a commitment around fully reopening schools that are clean, safe, and welcoming; assessing student needs, and bolstering support and tailoring interventions to improve outcomes; and reimagining the district to provide the academic and social-emotional support structures students deserve. The FY22 budget proposal fulfills the second year of the historic three-year $100 million funding commitment to Boston Public Schools with $36 million in new classroom funding dedicated to the district, which is further supplemented by an additional $123 million in funding from the federal government. In Boston, public education spending remains over 40% of the entire city budget, and this year per-pupil spending at BPS will reach $23,500, an increase of $1,700 over last year. With this budget proposal, total public education spending, including support for our charter school students, will increase by $66 million, representing 42% of all new city funding, the highlights of which include:
BPS Operating Budget
- Overall budget of $1.29 billion, with $36 million in new investments for schools and classrooms to facilitate a safe return to our school buildings and support our students and school communities through post-COVID-19 recovery;
- $18.5 million to enable schools to maintain existing programming and services, regardless of enrollment declines;
- $16.9 million to provide a social worker and family liaison in every school, building on last year’s investment to build a coordinated, multi-tiered system of support for students and families;
- $1.4 million for the addition of 20 daytime custodians to ensure cleanliness and sanitation of school facilities as buildings reopen;
BPS Capital Plan (BuildBPS): $736 million for FY22-FY26, $166M for FY22, 29% increase over FY21
- $137 million for Boston Arts Academy to design and construct a new facility that supports the robust academic and performing arts needs of the student population.
- $193.5 million to design and construct a new facility for the Josiah Quincy Upper School
- $5.2 million to upgrade school kitchens to expand the implementation of an innovative fresh food program at an additional 19 schools
BPS Federal Funding
The BPS budget will be supplemented by $123 million of funding from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which will fund additional FY22 investments, including:
- $10.4 million to aid return-to-school efforts, ranging from school building maintenance, to online learning and engagement, to ensuring a bus monitor on every bus;
- $13.9 million for expanding the Hub Schools initiative and implementing academic supports and interventions focused on high needs students;
- $20.1 million to fund innovative efforts to support closing achievement and opportunity gaps.
Health, Safety and Wellness in our Recovery
Mayor Janey has prioritized the health, safety and wellness of all Bostonians as the City continues recovering from the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help accomplish this, she is proposing the following investments:
- $4 million in new funding to expand capabilities and services provided by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), bringing BPHC’s total operating budget to $111 million in FY22. This new level of investment will allow BPHC to build sustainable capacity in its infectious disease bureau and conduct an after action report on COVID-19.
- $9.1 million in new investments to reopen our city and address immediate needs and offer expanded services to lay the foundation for a more equitable, vibrant Boston. This includes new funding for:
- $2 million to expand services for post-COVID programming and services at departments including Arts, Parks, Youth, Age Strong, Disabilities Commission and Veterans
- $1.5 million to ensure we can reopen civic spaces, including polling locations safely
- $1 million to ensure continued robust technology supports and city services delivery
- $15.8 Million increase in Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) infrastructure, including a $10 million increase for the Mattahunt Community Center bringing the project total to $12.7 million, a $2 million increase for the North End Community Center bringing the project total to $5 million and $1 million each for BCYF Hyde Park and BCYF Roslindale
- $5.5 million increase for the EMS training facility, bringing the total investment to $14 million
- $1 Million for HVAC repairs at Police Training Academy
- $24.7 million to design and construct a new fire station at Engine 17 in Dorchester
- $23.5 million to design and construct a new fire station at Engine 52 in Roxbury
Creating and Preserving Affordable Housing, and addressing Homelessness
Mayor Janey recognizes the importance of making sure that residents of all incomes are able to access quality, affordable safe housing options that meet their needs. This budget helps support additional affordable housing opportunities, and puts in place investments to support homeless residents.
- $3.5 million supports housing and homelessness efforts to prevent displacement and expand housing opportunities for families of every income in all neighborhoods
- $5 Million to fully support the City’s commitment to City-Funded Housing Vouchers in partnership with the Boston Housing Authority, piloted in the FY21 budget
- $19 million for Phase 3 of the renovation of the Boston Housing Authority’s Orient Heights development consisting of 119 units of housing, a gateway park and community center
- $10 million to upgrade public housing units for older residents and residents with disabilities including Saint Botolph in the South End, Doris Bunte Apartments in Egleston Square, and Patricia White in Brighton
Expanding Opportunities for Prosperity and Equity
The citywide resiliency strategy aims to ensure every resident can reach their full potential regardless of their background, and to remove the barriers that hinder Bostonians from having access to opportunities. Under the leadership and coordination of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the City is proposing the following investments in areas of equity and prosperity:
- To operationalize the recommendations from the Boston Police Reform Task Force to improve accountability and transparency, this budget makes targeted investments in the Boston Police Department, while significantly reducing overtime spending, and includes:
- $21 million, or a 33 percent reduction, in overtime compared to the FY21 spending level of $65 million, making a $43.9 million proposal for FY22, which will be accomplished by:
- Growing the size of the sworn force by 30 officers to 2,288 total including two 125 member police cadet classes in FY22
- Increasing cadet recruits by 50 percent, from 40 to 60
- Increasing the Medical Triage Unit and clinicians to conduct more regular health screenings of officers out on injury leave
- $1 million for the new Office of Police Accountability and Transparency (OPAT) for 10 staff members, including the Executive Director and staffing for the Civilian Review Board and Internal Affairs Oversight Panel (IAOP), plus technology support to create dashboards and address technical needs.
- $1 million investment for racial equity training, included in the Task Force recommendations
- $2 million for additional Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST) clinicians to assist individuals experiencing mental health crisis
- $21 million, or a 33 percent reduction, in overtime compared to the FY21 spending level of $65 million, making a $43.9 million proposal for FY22, which will be accomplished by:
Investing in race & equity
- $3 million in investments to support the Equity & Inclusion cabinet, coordinating the efforts of seven equity-based departments, and supporting citywide wide efforts like the Office of Resiliency and Racial Equity department’s $1.3 million citywide rollout of racial equity and leadership training.
- $1.75 million investment in Health and Human Services to coordinate with Police, and other City and external stakeholders to engage the community, develop a plan for implementation in Boston and begin training once the model is fully developed.
Job Training and Support:
- $4 million for 5,000 youth summer jobs and 1,000 school year jobs
- $4 Million total in job training efforts targeted at affected industries including, in arts ($1 million), hard hit industries ($1 million), green jobs ($1 million), Zero Waste and mobility ($1 million)
- $1 million to continue the All Inclusive Boston hospitality and tourism campaign
- $250,000 to expand the Childcare Entrepreneur Fund
- $500,000 to subsidize public transit options
Protecting our Environment
The City of Boston has been at the forefront of recognizing and addressing the risks of climate change, and protecting our environment. As part of the city’s Capital Plan, 10 percent of all new capital spending has been dedicated for resilience projects. The highlights of the City’s environment proposals include:
- $48 million for Phase 2 and 3 of Renew Boston Trust, which is designed to identify energy retrofit project opportunities in City owned buildings to create future energy savings.
- $5 million for a Climate Ready Boston Harbor study to support the development of a study that will examine the feasibility of measures along and within the Boston Harbor to reduce vulnerability of coastal flooding due to sea level rise caused by climate change.
- $20 million to design and implement a signature, climate resilient waterfront park along the Fort Point Channel.
- $1.7 million per year for the ongoing program of street tree planting throughout the city
- $1.8 million to repave pathways at Dorchester Park
- $7.5 million to repave pathways at the Back Bay Fens to improve accessibility and site conditions
- $15.5 million to complete the park redesign at Copley Square to optimize resilience to high-traffic events and storm-water
- $9.4 million to redesign and construct a new Malcolm X Park through the City’s first Equitable Procurement Pilot program
Transforming the Future of Mobility
In recognizing that our economic strength is dependent on our ability to move people around our city to businesses, jobs and homes, this budget proposal invests in walkable streets, roadway redesigns to improve safety, bridge repairs, roadway resurfacing, dedicated bike and bus lanes, and accessible ADA ramps. Building on Boston’s long-term transportation plan, Go Boston 2030, the FY22 budget proposal makes targeted investments in public space and improved mobility, including:
- $1 billion for mobility improvements to implement Vision Zero through the Capital Plan, marking a 9 percent increase over last year
- $22 million for dedicated bus lanes to transform several corridors citywide for rapid bus transit, including the construction of dedicated bus lanes on Columbus Avenue and Warren Street, and Summer Street marking a $7.8 million increase over last year
- $17.9 million for roadway improvements in Nubian Square from Shawmut Avenue to Harrison Avenue including six key intersections. The scope of work includes geometric changes, new traffic signal equipment and timing, bike lanes, and streetscape improvements
- $9.9 million to design and construct neighborhood Slow Street zones throughout the city including Talbot-Norfolk Triangle Phase 2, Grove Hall/Quincy Corridor, Highland Park, Mt. Hope/Canterbury, Chinatown, Washington-Harvard-Norwell, Redefining Our Community, Dorchester Unified Neighborhood East, Dorchester Unified Neighborhood West, and West Selden
- $7.9 million to maximize usage in existing high volume bike lanes by construction bike lane extensions and connections with citywide bike corridors, and implement new bike corridors
- $6.5 million to design and rebuild Ruggles Street, between Washington Street and Ruggles MBTA station, adhering to Complete Street guidelines
Investing in the joy agenda
By prioritizing city services, programs and infrastructure needs that improve the quality of life for Boston residents, Mayor Janey has made the joy of residents a strategic focus throughout this budget. Investments that reflect this focus include:
- $15 million for the Percent for Art program, which sets aside one percent of the City’s annual capital borrowing as a budget for the commissioning of long-term public art projects
- Permanently waiving late return fines at the Boston Public Library (BPL), a tool to increase equity in service delivery
- Eliminating BCYF membership fees at all sites for Boston residents, thus lifting financial barriers for entry and opening all sites to all residents, regardless of residential neighborhood - #BCYFree
- $200,000 for programming at the Strand Theater in Dorchester, $250,000 for expanded programming for BPL & Parks, $500,000 for expanded programming and Summer Olympics at BCYF, $250,000 for the Youth Development Fund
- $500,000 to support Open Streets, a new program to encourage safe outdoor activity on public streets
- Investing in our neighborhood library branches, with $6 million slated for the Chinatown branch, $11.5 million for the Roslindale branch, $18.3 million for Adams branch, and $12.1 million for Egleston Square
For more information on the budget proposal, please visit budget.boston.gov.