Mayor Menino Submits FY 2014 Budget to City Council

Mayor Menino Submits FY 2014 Budget to City Council

Focuses on delivery of quality services that lift up all neighborhoods

“This is the twentieth Proposed Budget of my Administration and it shares a most important trait with the prior nineteen: it pushes us to try new things.” – Mayor Thomas M. Menino

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today presented his $2.6 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2014 and five year $1.8 billion Capital Plan, including $196 million in new FY 2014 project authorizations. The FY 2014 budget includes initiatives that keep Boston at the forefront of reinvention: changes at Boston Public Schools to increase access to quality, new housing to meet the needs of young professionals and middle-class families, and online learning for Boston’s neighborhoods. At the core of the budget is a desire to continue to build neighborhoods, provide residents an unparalleled quality of life, and support neighbors as they help one another.

“This year’s budget invests in our most valuable assets: our people and our neighborhoods,” Mayor Menino said. “Today we are proposing a sound financial plan. It builds on our long history of achieving balanced budgets and at the same time improves delivery of high-quality services that Boston residents expect and deserve. The city’s resources are for all people, not just some, and so in this budget as in the nineteen before it, we invest to raise up every neighborhood.”

The $2.6 billion recommended FY 2014 Operating Budget features a 5.6-percent growth over last year’s budget, an increase of $138.7 million. Property taxes continue to be the City’s largest source of revenue, along with hotel, meals and other excise tax revenue. The City’s second largest source of revenue, net state aid from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is expected to decline by approximately $16 million from FY 2013 budgeted levels. This perpetuates the loss of state aid incurred over the last seven years, now estimated to be about $152 million lower than FY 2008.

The $934.6 million budget for Boston Public Schools for FY 2014 represents a $60.8 million increase over the current year’s budget and builds on the Mayor’s continued efforts to provide high quality schools, close to home, for all of Boston’s families. A new $30 million Quality Improvement Fund will help the Boston Public Schools invest in upgraded school facilities, technology, and teacher quality as the district puts its new home-based school choice plan into place.

The FY 2014 budget focuses on lifting up all of Boston’s neighborhoods through:

  • Meeting the housing needs of residents: Mayor Menino’s Housing Boston 2020 initiative will launch, creating 20,000-30,000 units of housing by the year 2020 to accommodate the city’s growing population and its changing needs. Additionally, one million square feet of City-owned real estate will be made available to small builders at below-market prices in 2013 and 2014 to increase homeownership among middle class families.
  • Supporting young women: Boston Centers for Youth & Families will designate “Girls Only” time at sites citywide and engage teenage girls in programming that promotes leadership, civic engagement and skill building. Through a partnership with the WAGE project, the City will host negotiation workshops to teach young women the skills required to negotiate for fair pay.
  • Engaging youth: For the first time, the City will set aside $1 million for youth to participate in a year-long budgeting process. Through participatory budgeting, young Bostonians will identify projects in their communities, vet those projects and consider trade-offs in making funding decisions.
  • Modernizing the resident experience: Digital learning will serve as a central theme for Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Libraries, and Boston Centers for Youth & Families. Initiatives will result in 10,000 more mobile computing devices for students, blended learning courses for residents at community centers, and the launch of an iPad lending program for residents. The nation’s first City Hall to Go truck will transition from a pilot to an initiative with a set schedule that allows it to visit every neighborhood in the City at least once a month.
  • Sustaining progress and healthy growth: As the City continues to prepare for impacts of climate change, the Environment Department will update its Climate Action Plan. Boston Public Schools will triple their recycling rate to 20% by June 2014, and 170 new BigBelly trash and recycling receptacles will be added throughout the City and its parks.

The City’s $1.8 billion five-year capital plan features $196 million worth of new project authorizations in 2014. The capital plan’s theme, Cities are Neighborhoods, recognizes that the City draws its core strength from its neighborhoods. Significant capital projects slated for funding in FY 2014 include:

  • Mayor Menino will continue his investment in the revitalization of Dudley Square, a $115 million development project that will revitalize the historic Ferdinand building and bring new people, businesses, and economic opportunity to Dudley Square. The project broke ground in Spring 2012 and is expected to be completed in Fall 2014.
  • Work will begin on a new park for children with physical disabilities in the Charlestown Navy Yard, as well as an overhaul of recreational facilities at West Roxbury High School.
  • The Boston Public Library will begin construction this year on the transformation of the Johnson Building at the Central branch. This project will open the main floor to Boylston Street, improve and expand the Children’s room, and upgrade the Rabb lecture hall. Construction will continue at a stunning new library in East Boston, set to open its doors this fall.

In January 2014, Mayor Menino’s administration will transition to the next one. The FY 2014 budget provides funds for a smooth and stable transition. Resources are provided to be used in the time period before the November election to lay the groundwork for a transition and, after the election, for the Mayor-elect to begin to assemble an administration.


(Photos by Isabel Leon, City of Boston)