BOSTON — Shall this city approve the charter amendment proposed by the city council summarized below?
SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHARTER AMENDMENT
The proposed amendment to the Boston City Charter would change the City of Boston’s budget process in several ways.
Under the proposed amendment, the Mayor and City Council would hold budgetary powers together, with the power to modify and amend appropriation orders. As is the case now, under the amendment only the Mayor may initially submit a budget or appropriation order. Currently, the City Council can adopt or reject a budget, or reduce specific items in a budget. Under the proposed amendment, the City Council would have the ability to amend the budget by reallocating funds among existing or new line items. The total amount of the City Council’s amended version of the budget, however, could not exceed the total amount of the budget proposed by the Mayor. The Mayor could accept or reject the City Council’s version of the budget, or amend any line item in the City Council’s version of the budget. The City Council would have the ability to override the Mayor’s veto or amendments by a two-thirds vote. In addition, the Mayor and City Council would also be able to amend the Boston Public School budget, subject to existing laws providing that only the Boston School Committee may originate a school budget or allocate spending within a school budget.
The proposed amendment also requires the City Council and Mayor to create by ordinance an independent Office of Participatory Budgeting, including an external oversight board, to further public engagement with public spending. Under the proposed amendment, the office could create and oversee an equitable and binding decision-making process open to all Boston residents. The structure of the office and oversight board, and the binding decision-making process on the budget, would be described in the future ordinance enacted by the City Council and Mayor.
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