Mayor Reiterates Commitment to Schools, Property Tax Cuts
Patch will be live blogging Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's State of the City Address on Monday afternoon.
During her State of the City Address on Monday Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reiterated her intentions to increase the city's population by 10,000 people in 10 years, increase the city's contribution to school construction and reduce property tax by 20-cents by 2020.
She also announced a proposal to extend the Purple Line of the Charm City Circulator—the free bus that currently runs between Penn Station and Federal Hill—north to 33rd Street.
The mayor also braced residents for the possibility that some schools could be closed, consolidated or expanded as a result of recommendations included in a facility assessment being prepared by school CEO Dr. Andres Alonso.
"Nostalgia has the power to make the past a priority over the present," Rawlings-Blake said in her speech.
She also said that as part of the city's commitment to the Better School Initiative she would be presenting a plan that includes increasing the city's bottle tax to five cents to the City Council next Monday.
(Updated 3:22 p.m.): Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announces a new plan to harness the energy of social networks by using a new crowd sourcing website to launch in 45 days.
(Updated 3:19 p.m.): Rawlings-Blake also announces the full funding of the city's Main Streets program as well as a small fleet of new MadVac streetsweepers.
(Updated 3:17 p.m.): The mayor also announced a proposed extension of the circulator's Purple Line north to 33rd Street from Penn Station that will serve Charles Village and Johns Hopkins.
(Updated 3:15 p.m.): Mayor touts proposal for a 20-cent tax cut by 2020. Calls it the responsible way to provide tax relief without slashing city services. She said other proposals for property tax cuts are unrealistic.
(Updated 3:12 p.m.): Mayor praises new leadership installed in the Baltimore City Police Department.
(Updated 3:11 p.m.): The mayor announces there will be a stronger police presence along Greenmount Avenue.
(Updated 3:08 p.m.): She makes the case for increasing the city's bottle tax. Said opponents are special interests without a solution for the city's financial problems.
(Updated 3:05 p.m.): Mayor says some schools may be merged or closed. Warns against sentimentality. Said that new revenues—such as an increased bottle tax—are necessary to address city schools.
(Updated 3:03 p.m.): Mayor calls for better teacher pay, more charter schools and better conditions for city schools. She said that she is embarrassed by the conditions of some schools.
(Updated 3:00 p.m.): Mayor said the city needs to stop paying for some things that "feel good," and also adds a call for greater personal responsibility, especially from parents. Doesn't specify what those feel-good items are.
(Updated 2:59 p.m.): Councilman Nick Mosby, who represents parts of Hampden, will introduce a resolution to increase the number of families by 10,000 families in 10 years. Rawlings-Blake calls for support for that resolution.
(Updated 2:58 p.m.): Mayor reiterates her determination to grow the city by 10,000 families in 10 years.
(Updated 2:55 p.m.): Mayor also mention Monica Gaines and the effort onMcCabe Avenue to renew that block.
(Updated 2:55 p.m.): Mayor mentions Arthur Grace and Jessica Martin who moved from Cecil County to Old Goucher, "an emerging market."
(Updated 2:51 p.m.): The mayor praises firefighters and said the city experienced its lowest number of fire related deaths since 1938.
(Updated 2:49 p.m.): Mayor is also touting the city's dropping crime statistics. Urges realism but said it's not a time for cynicism.
(Updated 2:47 p.m.): Mayor Stehanie Rawlings-Blake is striking an optimistic tone at the opening of the speech. "We need to get Baltimore growing again and this is our time to lead," she said.
(Updated 2:42 p.m.): The escort committee has been sent to bring the mayor into the council chambers.
(Updated 2:34 p.m.): Session is underway with an opening prayer.
(Updated 2:17 p.m.): Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is scheduled to give her State of the City Address at 2:30 p.m. Members of the City Council and dignitaries are starting to fill the Du Burns Council Chambers.