Revised city budget includes additional money for summer jobs, custodians and libraries

An additional 200 summer jobs for youth and 42 Boston Public Schools custodial jobs would be saved under the new budget Mayor Thomas Menino released on Tuesday.

The new version of the $2.3 billion budget for fiscal year 2011 includes $300,000 saved through “administrative efficiencies” within the Boston Youth Fund, allowing for 200 additional summer jobs for teens.

The budget also includes $650,000 for branch library operations, delaying the closure of four libraries. The four libraries, including one in Lower Mills, were originally due to close down later this summer. The new funds will keep the libraries open for at least another nine months as Boston Public Library officials figure out what to do about the library buildings, which could become vacant if closed.

State lawmakers and some City Council members, pressing to keep the libraries open, said yesterday the delay wasn’t good enough.

The city budget requires a vote of approval from the 13-member City Council.

The City Council receives a briefing on the updated budget at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall Wednesday morning.

The full release, from the mayor's press office, is below:

Mayor Menino Resubmits $2.3 Billion FY 2011 Budget Providing 200 More Summer Jobs for Youth
Budget also saves 42 custodial jobs in Boston Public Schools

Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino resubmitted his $2.3 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2011. Administrative efficiencies within the Boston Youth Fund will free up approximately $300,000 for summer jobs, supporting the employment of nearly 200 additional teens. The resubmitted budget will allow for the Boston Public School Department to retain 42 custodians who were previously slated to be laid off.

Additionally, the budget affords the Boston Public Library an additional $650,000 to keep all branch libraries open through at least the winter in an effort to provide more time for planning the repurposing of the buildings and the delivery of library services across the city. The City is committed to keeping these assets open and available to the community.

The revised budget sustains the City of Boston’s firm financial footing and focuses on the Mayor’s priorities of building a comprehensive youth development strategy, enhancing government’s personal connection to the neighborhoods and fostering job creation for all job types and income levels. The FY 2011 budget shows efficiencies and service improvements from all corners of city operations.

“This revised budget shows that with collaboration and a willingness to work together there is always room for improvement,” said Mayor Menino. “Just as in the originally submitted budget, these revisions show a responsible recovery from one of the nation’s darkest economic periods while making sure we can provide for our kids and working families.”

The $2.3 billion recommended FY 2011 Operating Budget features a modest 2.2-percent growth over FY 2010 and includes an allocation of $45 million from the reserves. While new revenues in the form of a new .75-percent meals tax and a 2-percent increase in local hotel tax will bring the City approximately $28 million in new revenues, revenue growth for the City has been offset by significant reductions in net state aid (more than $110 million over two years) and program grants ($24 million over two years).

“This budget continues the work of transforming and strengthening our libraries and community centers, focusing not on the number of physical buildings they occupy but what goes on in them,” said Mayor Menino. “Through consolidation of city resources, partnerships with nonprofit agencies as well as capital investments, we will make the best use of our physical assets as we strive to offer quality services to the residents of Boston.”

The City’s $1.5 billion five-year capital plan is also supported with $131 million worth of new project authorizations. Some Capital projects slated for funding in FY 2011 include:

· Supporting Boston’s Youtho Several school libraries and media labs will be renovated.
o Lab classrooms will be added at the O’Bryant School for Math & Science.
o A new computer system will be implemented to integrate administrative systems for each BPS student, such as grades, attendance records and health records.
o The Boston Schoolyard initiative will partner on projects at six new sites.

· Improving Boston’s Neighborhoodso Playgrounds will be renovated, courts in nine parks will be resurfaced and we will begin the design of a new branch library for East Boston.
o Nearly 20 miles of new bike lanes will be added to the City’s roadways.
o Improvements will be designed for the Flaherty and Draper pools.
o Park improvements will be made and construction of East Boston Stadium finished.
o Fire Department apparatus replacement will continue with the delivery of two ladder trucks, three pumpers and a rescue unit.

The FY 2011 proposed budget reflects Mayor Menino’s efforts to present a responsible plan that positions the City of Boston to provide the best city services for its residents well into the future.