By Beth Treffeisen
Mayor Martin Walsh, along with representatives from Boston City departments and other elected officials joined together on Friday, June 30, in Kenmore Square to sign the $3.15 billion fiscal year 2018 budget that was approved earlier in the week.
As part of the event, members of the City’s graffiti buster’s team removed graffiti from the side of an abandoned building at 482 Commonwealth Ave., highlighting the value and need for expanding the team to meet the current tagging.
The FY18 budget will include two additional graffiti busters employees to ensure Boston’s neighborhoods remain clean. Through CityScore, Boston saw an increase in demand for graffiti removal beyond what current staffing levels could remove on time.
“This budget invests in our broadest vision of the future and in the details that support quality of life everyday,” said Mayor Walsh. “Behind each line in the budget is a person and a neighborhood benefiting from these city services. It reflects the voices and the values of the people of Boston, and it is one that we can be proud of as a City.”
In addition, the budget will double the capacity of the Mobile Sharps Team to pick up more improperly discarded hypodermic needles, due to an increase in requests submitted through 311. The team collected over 20,000 needles in 2016.
There will be changes to the way the City deploy Emergency Medical Technicians to Boston Common and the Recovery Road area in the South End to improve patient outcomes. Four new mental health clinicians will be added to the Boston Emergency Services Team.
“With this new commitment we will triple the number of clinicians in this program,” said Kate Walsh, President and CEO of Boston Medical Center. “That means we will significantly expand and significantly increase the number of people we can help. It’s a win, win situation.”
The budget also includes adding, a full-time hokey, who paints the lines on the streets, in every Public Works District, to revitalize markings and crosswalks to ensure that City streets are clean and safe.
Investments in major park renovations will ensure Boston’s parks are of the nation’s most accessible and equitable and a rotation of small renovations to neighborhood ball fields to keep them safe and playable.
Finally, there will be additional investment into Vision Zero, that will launch five Neighborhood Slow Streets projects in FY18, adding 7.75 additional miles of separated bike lanes through 11 projects underway in the capital plan, increase Boston’s bike racks by almost 10 percent and improve Vision Zero outreach and implementation capacity.
“As the Chair of the City Council Committee on Ways and Means, I was honored to lead the Council’s review of this year’s budget with a focus on providing a responsible and sustainable financial blueprint for our city,” said City Councilor Mark Ciommo.
He continued, “In an era of gridlock and divisiveness at the federal level, and financial uncertainty in our state government, the City of Boston’s duty to provide a stable fiscal outlook has never been more important. I have always said that a city’s budget reflects its priorities; this year’s budget showcases Boston’s commitment to its students, seniors, and safe streets for families across the city.”