Photo by: Arthur Pollock
By O’Ryan Johnson
Mayor Martin J. Walsh told business leaders yesterday that he wouldn’t use rainy-day funds to balance the Hub’s budget or use one-time revenues for ongoing expenses — despite a looming budget shortfall — as he outlined his agenda for economic development in the city.
“I will present a balanced budget to the City Council that advances my priorities and also continues to serve our residents here in the city of Boston,” he said yesterday at the New England Council breakfast. “We’re at the early stages of a monthslong budget process and over the next three months, I’ll be working with every city department to implement new ideas that will drive efficiencies … I don’t believe we should use reserve funds to balance the budget. I don’t want to use one-time revenues for ongoing expenses.”
The city has about $200 million in cash reserves, but is also facing a $30 million budget gap that is expected to grow thanks to an arbitrator’s award of a 25.4 percent pay increase to city patrolmen. All departments except the schools have been asked to trim their budgets 1 percent.
During his talk at the Boston Harbor Hotel, Walsh said a key to putting the city on firm financial footing is enticing businesses to open in Boston and the region.
“It’s not Boston versus Cambridge versus Somerville. I’m going to work on what we can do in this region. I’m going to work to attract businesses to the city of Boston like medical device manufacturing firms, in the city and other neighborhoods,” he said. “And I’m going to work with our delegation and all of you to secure important federal research dollars.”
Walsh said while there are billions of dollars in development underway in the city, more can be done to encourage growth.
“Currently we have $4.8 billion in projects underway in the city of Boston,” he said. “Which is wonderful. We have another $2.2 billion under review.”
Walsh said he expects to appoint a search committee to find a new school superintendent next week.
“We have the greatest colleges and universities, you hear that all the time,” Walsh said. “Now, we need to make sure our young people have the same opportunities in our schools in Boston, in our grammar schools, in our middle schools, and in our high schools … We need to make sure when these people go into our high schools that we’re preparing them for college or to go on to a trade. If we do that, we will see an impact on the street.”
The mayor also spoke about the nine homicides so far this year in Boston and made a pitch to the business leaders to support the city’s summer jobs program for young people.
“We need to make sure we give young people opportunity so that they are not being arrested and put into jail,” he said. “We have to make sure they have a pathway to a career so that some day they can be sitting in this room.”
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