Mayor Michelle Wu and the Office of Budget Management (OBM) on Feb. 10 announced a series of listening sessions in partnership with the Boston City Council to both educate residents and solicit public feedback on the FY2023 Operating Budget and FY23-27 Capital Plan, ahead of the Mayor submitting each to the City Council. At the sessions, OBM will outline the budget process and highlight changes made through the recent ballot initiative vote. Through its pas-sage, it alters the City Council’s role in approving the budget and calls for the creation of a participatory budgeting model. The City will solicit public feedback to inform the annual budget, federal recovery funding from the American Rescue Plan, and the new participatory budgeting model.
“This came about after the leadership of community partners, along with City Councilors, to assure the City Council would have a larger partnership in ensuring our City’s dollars are equitably allocated according to the needs, interests and visions of our residents,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “The community listening sessions represent an opening up of the process to residents from the very beginning.”
“It is critical that we develop a budget for the City of Boston that addresses our long-standing needs, such as housing affordability and stability, public health, public and pedestrian safety, climate resiliency and sustainability, and equitable access to city services,” said Boston City Council President Ed Flynn. “Thank you to Mayor Wu and her team for working with the City Council and providing this opportunity for neighbors to offer feedback on the best use of tax-payer dollars that will continue to help move us forward in Boston’s economic recovery.”
“With great enthusiasm, I look forward to the commencement of the Budget Listening Sessions on the horizon,” said Boston City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Ways and Means. “These sessions offer our city an opportunity to help inform, through the power of the purse, what policies we want to pursue and community enterprises we want to platform. I look forward, as Ways and Means Chair, in playing an integral role in the decision making processes that will distribute our city’s resources in an equitable and progressive manner.”
The budget is the most direct way the City of Boston invests in its residents’ quality of life. Community engagement ensures that the City is spending its resources equitably and that the process is accessible for residents. Each listening session will be dedicated to collecting the public’s input, including through a survey.
“It is crucial that we educate constituents about the City of Boston’s budget and the process in which these resources are allocated,” said Chief of Community Engagement Brianna Millor. “Engaging our constituents empowers them to vocalize their needs and ensure that their City is working to address them.”
“OBM looks forward to sharing information on the annual budget process and welcomes collaboration with the Boston City Council and the residents of Boston to establish budget priori-ties for the next fiscal year,” said Budget Director Jim Williamson.
Residents are encouraged to share feedback at one of four virtual listening sessions, organized by City Council district:
• Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 6 – 7pm | Districts 5, 6, 8
• Saturday, February 19, 2022, 1 – 2pm | Districts 1, 3, 4
• Wednesday, February 23, 2022, 6 – 7pm | Districts 2, 7, 9
• Friday, February 25, 2022,10 – 11am | Councilors-At-Large
The Mayor will submit the recommended budget to the City Council on April 13. A series of Council hearings will follow in May-June. The Council will vote to adopt, reject, amend, or re-duce the Operating Budget by June 8, and the budget will be resubmitted by June 15. The new Fiscal Year starts July 1.
Interpretation services can be requested for the Zoom listening sessions upon registration. CART will be provided on February 15, 19, and 23. Feedback can be submitted in any language through the survey at bit.ly/3myT0LG, at the listening sessions, or by calling 311. For more information on how to participate, visit boston.gov/budget.