Baltimore's Fiscal Resilience: Navigating the 2025 Budget Amidst Bridge Collapse Fallout

Posted on 04/02/24 | News Source: WMAR2NEWS

Baltimore, MD - Apr. 2, 2024  -  The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse is on everyone's mind as the city shares its 2025 budget.

Mayor Brandon Scott unveiled the fiscal year's 2025 preliminary budget. He says it's too early to tell if or how much the Key Bridge collapse will impact the city's plans.

"At this stage in the process, we did not make any adjustment to this preliminary budget as a result of last week's tragedy. It should also be noted, in the days following the collapse, the S&P reaffirmed Baltimore, AA rating and a stable outlook in the recent incident which is an extremely important note for the support of our city's fiscal health," said Mayor Scott.

The city continues to brace for the long term impacts this unthinkable tragedy will have moving forward.

The budget planning process started with a $107 million shortfall. That gap has been balanced with no service reductions or layoffs.

Some steps they did to balance the budget include utilizing new license plate reader technology and eliminating 89 positions that have been vacant for an extended period of time.

Identifying efficiencies within agency budgets that save the city 20 million annually.

"We're putting forward a budget that completely covers the gap without furloughing employees, without closing any fire stations or rec centers and without cutting city services. Or turning our back on the priorities of Baltimore moving forward," said Mayor Scott.

Despite this years $4 billion budget plan down 6%, city leaders feel they are in a strong position heading into 2024.

"The overall budget plan is down year over year. That is primarily driven by a reduction in federal state and special fund appropriations. What we've done is, we've changed our practice of how we are budgeting for grants. So under the previous approach, we budgeted based off of what we anticipated to receive. What we're doing now is we're budgeting, based off of known grant awards. This change does not reflect a loss of any grant funding," said Laura Larsen, Budget Director for City of Baltimore.