Fenty proposes $8.9 billion budget
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty proposed an $8.9 billion budget blueprint Thursday that he said does “more with less,” eliminating hundreds of jobs and freezing employee pay raises.
To close an estimated $500 million gap, Fenty would raise hourly parking meter rates in some areas by a quarter, increase the city's 911 fee and impose a one percent tax on hospitals.
Applications for residential parking permits would increase from $15 to $25. Parking meter rates in some areas would also from 75 cents to $1 an hour.
The increase does not appear as if it will impact downtown parking rates, where it already costs up to $2 an hour to park. Those rates increased last year.
The budget calls for cutting 385 full-time positions; about half of those are vacant. Another 200 or so jobs would be eliminated through buyouts or attrition.
Fenty’s proposal, presented to the D.C. Council at a briefing, sticks to his pledge not to raise general taxes and increases per student spending for the public schools system.
The plan sets the framework for one of the city's most challenging budgets in a generation, a debate that will stretch through mid-June as the council puts its stamp on how the District spends tax dollars and raises revenue.
The mayor’s plan also relies on millions from a reserve fund that elected officials have increasingly tapped to help balance the books during the recession.
Chief financial officer Natwar M. Gandhi, who attended the briefing, urged Fenty and the council in a letter "to take steps to augment, or at minimum, replenish the General Fund Balance that has been depleted during the current year."
-- Nikita Stewart and Tim Craig
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