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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."

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Rodney C Burris February 13, 2013 at 03:55 PM
(..continued..) Secondly, we need to increase income. --Again, in household terms, we pickup a second job, or get a better one, or even sell avon/legalshield/amway/other to make ends meet ---In City terms, our income = Taxpayers. --Simply put, we need more of them. Easiest Way to Gain Taxpayers (ie, grow the population): COLLEGE STUDENTS. There are approximately 200K college students in Baltimore Metro Area that cycle through ea/year. We dont have to attract them, they are already here! Every year we get thousands more. ...and we allow thousands more to leave, evaporate... If we retained 10-20% of these folks, each year, in the City itself, we would see a drastic increase in our population/taxpayer base in just 3-5 years. NEED THREE THNGS: 1) Housing (ton of it around, in the city) 2) Jobs (tech & construction industries) 3) Nightlife (more of it) If we focused on these three, and agressively/proactively marketed to this group to STAY, we could feasibly address our issues as a municipality. -RCB www.RodneyBurris.com
Sean Tully February 13, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Able, let us stipulate that no one knows the details as of yet. So, since this story is off the front page it will be impossible to follow any debate (Patch - your forum stinks!). I will certainly be writing a blog on the Trash Tax (oh, sorry, fee) as soon as more is known.
Sean Tully February 13, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Able, I detect a circular argument coming up with you over what "welfare" is and who actually pays for it. Will you at least agree that Baltimore aid to the poor and other needy people is paid for, at least in major part, by taxes, whether they be federal, state, or local? Can we agree on that?
Able Baker February 14, 2013 at 03:51 PM
If you're making the claim that City services and City tax dollars are being consumed by people specifically moving to the City to consume those services, you should be able to articulate what they are. Federal taxes are irrelevant to the argument.
Sean Tully February 14, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Able, I am not making any claim other than our taxes (local, state, and, yes, despite your misgiving, federal) pay for social programs that often fall under the heading of "welfare".

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