Employee Cuts, Pension Shifts Highlight Mayor's Address
In the State of the City Address, the mayor proposed changing the employee pension plan, increasing firefighters hours and creating a trash collection fee.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced her intentions to pursue fundamental changes in the way the city does business during her State of the City Address Monday.
Rawlings-Blake announced she will try to shift new city employees to a 401(k) style retirement plan, as opposed to the current pension system, shift city firefighters off the 42-hour work schedule and create a new solid waste enterprise by implementing a trash collection fee.
"We cannot build the foundation of a growing city on the mud of a fiscal swamp. The status quo is unsustainable, and the price of inaction is clear. We must change to grow," Rawlings-Blake said in her speech.
She also pledged to reduce the number of city employees by 10 percent through attrition, reduce property taxes and vowed to work to support tougher gun laws.
The mayor also tried to frame her three years in office as challenging, but not without progress.
She touted the fact that violent crime has dropped, the retaining of the CSX Intermodal Facility and the demolition of 250 dilapidated residences through the Vacants to Values program, while handling a combined $300 million deficit, as proof of the success.
"Today we affirm that we have the power to create the future that we want for Baltimore’s families. We have the power to overcome the difficulties of economic and budget pressures," Rawlings-Blake said. "If we have the courage to use that power, our city’s lingering narrative of post-industrial decline will not be the story of our future."