Revised Boston city budget accounts for $65M lost revenue from COVID-19 pandemic, cuts to police overtime

BOSTON — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday resubmitted a revised budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The revised $3.61 billion spending plan comes after the mayor held more than 30 meetings with city councilors.

The budget now includes plans to cut the Boston police department’s overtime budget by 20% — about $12 million. That money would then be reallocated to other programs, including the Boston Public Health Commission, organizations that support minority and women-owned businesses, and programs that work to end youth homelessness.

Walsh announced the plan on Friday after declaring racism a public health crisis in Boston.

The recommended budget also indicates the city is expecting to lose about $65 million in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. Back in April, the mayor initially expected a $30 million loss in revenue from the pandemic.

To account for that loss, the mayor is proposing a six-month hiring freeze on all vacant, non-essential positions. He is also looking to revise fixed costs like debt service and snow removal appropriations based on updated projections for average actual spending.

“With this budget, we have an opportunity to seize the moment that is before us to make investments that are grounded in equity, inclusion and that are intentional about directing funding to places where we know it will have the greatest impact in benefitting our residents,” said Walsh.

Other budget highlights include $1.26 billion for Boston Public Schools — up $80 million, or 7%, from the current spending plan. Some of that money will be used to address the challenges posed by COVID-19.

More than $106 million will go to the Boston Public Health Commission.

“This level of investment will ensure a fully funded BPHC, Emergency Medical Service and Office of Recovery Services for next year, continue to fight the effects of COVID-19 and fund the first costs associated with the Mayor’s recent declaration of racism as a public health crisis,” a city press release stated.

You can read the full budget proposal at budget.boston.gov.