Hearing on D.C. budget cuts set for Tuesday
More than 160 residents, advocates and representatives of labor unions have signed up to testify Tuesday at the D.C. Council's hearing on $188 million in budget cuts proposed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D).
The outgoing mayor hit nearly every city agency with a reduction to close a budget gap for fiscal 2010, leaving the council led by chairman and Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray to decide whether to swallow his proposal whole or move money around to save programs.
During his town-hall tour of the city before election day, Gray repeatedly warned residents that the city faced tough financial decisions. He had a standard speech that said, "Go ahead and cut, but guess what? Don't touch this over here or touch that over there."
Fenty's proposal delays the start of the Healthy Schools Act, which requires schools to serve healthier meals to students. Fenty also proposes taking up the controversial idea posed by Council members Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) and Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) to reduce some welfare benefits and bring them in line with federal guidelines. The summer jobs program for youths would also be reduced, as encouraged by the council in the past.
Other social services are also taking hits, with Child and Family Services Agency bracing for nearly $6 million in cuts, including a 50 percent reduction to a subsidy to grandparents caring for children.
Dozens of vacant positions throughout the government would be eliminated under Fenty's plan. The outgoing mayor has already ordered a hiring freeze.
Under the plan, employees could expect little if any movement in their salaries. For example, the mayor's proposal anticipates about $657,000 in savings by delaying pay increases in Fire and Emergency Services. Representatives of the fire and police departments are scheduled to testify.
Give us your thoughts on what you would cut, save or raise to help close the gap.
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