For Immediate Release:
May 23, 2013
D.C. Council Passes FY 2014 Budget Proposal
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously voted in favor of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request Act and the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Act. Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie (D – Ward 5) oversaw the budget of the Committee on Government Operations, and worked tirelessly to contribute to a balanced and fair budget as a member of the Committees on Human Services, Economic Development, Transportation and Environment, and Workforce and Community Affairs.
“Over the past several months the Council has worked collaboratively to deliver a solid budget. We made investments that will improve the quality of life for residents, strengthen our social safety net, and promote economic growth throughout the city,” said Councilmember McDuffie.
Councilmember McDuffie received, and incorporated, input into his Ward 5 budget priorities from residents via phone calls, e-mails, letters, hearings, and Community Engagement meetings. “I am particularly pleased to report that as a result of my work with the Council, the FY14 budget reflects many of Ward 5’s priorities,” stated Councilmember McDuffie.
The second and final vote on the Budget Support Act will take place on June 18th.
Highlights of Councilmember McDuffie’s FY14 Budget Priorities
Committee on Government Operations
As chair of the Committee on Government Operations, McDuffie oversaw a $590 million budget spread across eighteen agencies. Major components of McDuffie’s Government Operations budget include enhanced funding for the Board of Elections to acquire additional electronic poll books and voting machines, and increased funding for the newly created Board of Ethics. McDuffie also funded a long-overdue $40 million project to construct a proper District of Columbia archives to house important historical items dating back to eighteenth century (such as Frederick Douglass’ last will). Additionally, based on recommendations from the Mayor Vincent Gray’s (D) Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force, McDuffie also supported the allocation of over $2.5 million to build an Affordable Housing Data and Reporting System that will serve as a unified database of locally financed affordable housing units. Moreover, McDuffie and Councilmember Mary Cheh (D – Ward 3) worked together to support funding for the Department of General Services to expanded recycling programs at recreation centers, which will help reduce the problem of plastic bottles littering the city’s public recreation space.
McDuffie also delivered on a number of promises to the Ward 5 community.
Quality of Life and Human Services
McDuffie championed a number of budget initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life and supportive the human services budget for District residents.
- Councilmember McDuffie worked with the Mayor Vincent Gray (D), Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), and Cheh to fund his Supercans for Seniors proposal, and to expand the benefit to all city homeowners. Through this program $2 million has been allocated to the Department of Public Works to replace all Supercans and recycling carts without a cost to residents.
- The Councilmember transferred $300,000 to the Committee on Human Services for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program for homeless families.
- McDuffie also supported a package of significant increases to critical social programs in the Human Services Committee budget, including funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to exempt vulnerable families from restrictive time limits; Permanent Supportive Housing to help chronically homeless families, individuals and elderly residents; a pilot program to provide Emergency Rental Assistance to singles; and tenant-based Local Rent Supplement vouchers.
- Along with Councilmember Cheh, McDuffie supported the transfer of funds to the Department of Environment to hire more air quality inspectors to address the needs of residents who live near industrial areas.
- Working with the Mayor, McDuffie facilitated the allocation of over $2.5 million in funds to address flooding in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park through capital improvement projects, sandbag distribution, rain barrel and other stormwater retention incentives.
- McDuffie worked with the Committee on Transportation and Environment to fund additional Capital Bikeshare stations throughout the city and in Ward 5, and added legislative language requiring a study of expanding the Circulator into Ward 5.
Supporting Seniors and Students
“As a member of the Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs, I am extremely proud of the work we were able to do for seniors in the FY14 budget. Under Councilmember Marion Barry’s (D –Ward 8) leadership, the Council allocated nearly $24 million dollars to the Office on Aging – a 44 percent increase over FY13’s budget. The Council provided an additional $1.9 million to provide meals for 1300 home-bound seniors. Additionally, my committee transferred half a million dollars to the Department of Aging to support projects recommended by the Ward 5 Senior Advisory Council,” noted McDuffie.
In particular, McDuffie directed funding to sponsor the following programs for seniors:
- $165,000 to support the hiring of additional staff in Ward 5’s lead agency;
- $250,000 to the Office on Aging to support ward-based services for seniors; and
- $95,000 to the Washington Elderly Handicapped Transportation Service to expand transportation services for District seniors.
Another area of key interest for McDuffie is the Ward’s schools and libraries.
“I am very pleased to have worked with the Chairman and the Committee on Education to preserve funds for the FY14 modernization of Brookland Middle School and Spingarn High School, and to ensure that funds have been set aside to complete the FY14 renovation of Dunbar High School. I am also proud to announce that Langdon Elementary will now be modernized in FY14,” stated McDuffie. Fast-tracking Langdon’s modernization was a major priority for McDuffie as the school prepares to absorb additional students from the closing of Thurgood Marshall Elementary School.
Both of Ward 5’s libraries will also be renovated in the coming years; the full modernization of Woodridge Library is funded in 2014, and money is set aside in the 5 year financial plan for the renovation of Lamond Riggs Library beginning in FY15. “I am also delighted to have worked with my colleagues and the Mayor to fund a $10 million expansion of the city’s library hours on Sundays. My wife and I spend lots of time with our girls in Ward 5’s libraries; it will be a boon to all families to have library access on Sundays,” stated McDuffie.
Small Business, Economic Development, and Neighborhood Corridor Revitalization
Councilmember McDuffie made significant in-roads in investing in the economic vitality of Ward 5.
“From major development projects, to corridor enhancements and new Main Streets programs, we were very successful in the FY14 budget in securing funds to make Ward 5 a more vibrant place to live, work, and open a business,” stated McDuffie.
McDuffie’s major economic development achievements in the FY14 budget include:
- Sustaining nearly $50 million in funding for the McMillan Sand Filtration site redevelopment project in the financial plan over the next six years;
- $2 million in DDOT infrastructure funds to implement the Rhode Island Avenue, NE Small Area Plan, to be leveraged with additional federal highway funds, which will support streetscape design, improved sidewalks and pedestrian safety measures, tree planting and tree boxes, and other measures to make Rhode Island Avenue a more attractive corridor;
- $300,000 secured to support the expansion of the H Street Main Street to Bladensburg Road in Ward 5, and to create a new Rhode Island Avenue Main Street;
- New funds to support clean teams on 12th Street in Brookland and Bladensburg Road in the Trinidad/Langston-Carver neighborhood.
- Funding to kick off a Brookland branding initiative along 12th Street, NE in FY13;
- Retail Priority Area designation for Bladensburg Road, North Capitol Street, and Rhode Island Avenue; and
- $750,000 to fund the Workplace Fraud Amendment Act, which McDuffie moved through his committee when he was chair of the Committee on Jobs and Workforce Development. The law is designed stop the misclassification of workers in the construction industry, and creates penalties for employers who attempt to misclassify employees as independent contractors.