Tomorrow, the Mayor will deliver his Fiscal Year 2014 budget to the Council. Once the Council receives the budget, we will begin a month-long process of conducting budget oversight hearings for the District’s agencies.
The Government Operations Committee, of which I am chair, has oversight over 19 agencies, and will hold budget oversight hearings on April 11, 22, 25, and May 2. For a full listing of hearings, see the Council’s calendar.
I have heard from many of you about what you would like to see in this year’s budget for Ward 5. Over the last several months, I have outlined my budget priorities with the Mayor and various agency heads, related both to Ward 5 and the agencies under my committee. I presented them with realistic priorities that I feel would have the greatest impact on our Ward. Details of some of those priorities are listed below.
Over the next two months my staff and I will work diligently through the Council budget process to ensure that we are improving the quality of life for Ward 5 residents, incentivizing economic development, and enhancing job and educational opportunities throughout our Ward.
Improvements for Rhode Island Avenue N.E. – The Rhode Island Avenue N.E. corridor has lacked the resources necessary to become a truly vibrate gateway into the city. In 2012 I introduced, and the Council passed, a bill formally designating Rhode Island Avenue as a Retail Priority Area. To realize Rhode Island Avenue’s full potential, my priority is to allocate funding for economic development incentives, walkable streetscape enhancements, a Main Streets program, and targeted assistance for small businesses along the corridor.
Spurring Economic Development Along Bladensburg Road N.E. – Bladensburg Road N.E. deserves the same resources and capacity-building assistance as H Street NE. To this end, I have been working to enlarge the boundaries of the H Street Main Street to include Bladensburg Road N.E., an expansion that would extend critical support to small businesses along the Bladensburg Road corridor. On a parallel track, I am advocating to designate Bladensburg Road N.E. as a Retail Priority Area, which will provide access to funds for larger-scale economic development.
Supercans for Seniors – Last year I introduced the Supercans For Seniors Act 2013, which provides free replacement 96-gallon trash cans and 32-gallon recycling carts to senior citizens within the District. I, along with my colleagues on the Council, have encouraged the Mayor to fund this bill, and to go further by allocating funding for replacement cans for all District residents.
Shaed Elementary Conversion – For many years, the residents of the Edgewood community have asked for a new recreation center that meets the needs of their growing community. To address this need, I have asked the Mayor to consolidate the Shaed School and the Edgewood field house into a state of the art community service center and sports facility.
Langdon Elementary School Modernization – As Langdon Elementary School prepares to absorb students from other schools, I have heard from many Ward 5 parents about the need to modernize the school in the FY 14 budget year. Therefore, I am advocating for improvements to the facilities over the summer, in advance of the upcoming school year. I am also requesting a FY14 modernization that includes a new gym, auditorium, and cafeteria.
McKinley Tech Middle School Cafeteria Enhancement – As we move towards opening the new STEM middle school at the McKinley Tech campus, we need to ensure that students have the facilities to make the best out of their learning experience. The current cafeteria configuration is not adequate for McKinley’s needs. To address this issue, I have requested funding to convert the courtyard into an expanded cafeteria for McKinley’s students.
Lamond Riggs Library – Ward 5 deserves not one, but two great libraries. That is why I have requested a full modernization of the Lamond Riggs library similar to the Woodridge library modernization plans.