Mayor’s Budget Funds Work at DC Jail, Sports Complex at RFK

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DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) speaks during her announcement of the Mayor's Budget for FY23.

On Wednesday afternoon, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) hosted a press conference to announce her fiscal year 2023 budget and submit the budget to the DC Council.

Bowser said the $19.5 billion proposed budget reflects increased investments in public safety, housing affordability programs and city services.

Impacting the Hill

Of interest to Hill residents: the budget includes $60 million for an “indoor sports complex” on the RFK Stadium Campus. Bowser noted that RFK Campus has been through an extensive public process and the budget provides for facilities for families to participate gymnastics and indoor track within the District.

“This is us putting down our down payment,” Bowser said. “We will still need the Congress to deliver, because we will still need to extend our lease in order to make these investments.”

There’s another $18.5 million for new bridges to Kingman Island.

Allen praised the investment in transportation, especially in additional crossing guards. Allen called the funding for RFK Campus “a big deal.” During comments after the Mayor’s presentation, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) “Creating this kind of space is just going to be a wonderful investment for our families.”

$251 million has been set aside to build a new annex to the District’s Correctional Treatment Facility (CCTF), billed as a major step towards closing the aging Central Detention Facility and moving all residents to CTF. There’s also $25 million allocated to “maintain safe, secure and humane conditions for inmates at the CDF” until the annex is completed.

Allen, who also chairs the DC Council committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, said he looked forward to working further with the Mayor on ways to fully-fund on all aspects of public safety, including violence interrupters and prevention.

Allen said that the funding for the new DC Jail an “incredibly significant event.” saying it is “It really provides an opportunity for that type of investment in a rehabilitation-focused system that makes our city safer.”

With the budget, Mayor Bowser said she hopes to address residents’ concerns about public safety, providing $30 million for recruitment, hiring and retention to bring the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) force back to 4,000 sworn officers. $6 million is dedicated to violence prevention and diversion among youth; $3.9 million of that is intended to expand out-of-school-time programs.

Challenges

Bowser emphasized the tremendous challenges that the past two years have presented to the District and said she hopes that the budget will help continue the progress made before COVID and strengthen the city.

“We all look forward to working together on the comeback that accelerates the work we were doing before COVID-19 to build a fairer, more equitable and more affordable DC.”

Bowser said she is proud of the work that has been done on the budget and believes that it is investing in the important things the District needs.

“I’m incredibly proud of the budget we are submitting and I believe that when our  residents have the opportunity to learn about these investments, they will be proud too.”

Bowser will officially present the budget to the DC Council today, Friday, March 18.

Budget Breakdown

The $19.5 billion budget will be distributed across the wide variety of needs of the District.

$5.72 billion will be allocated to health and human services, $4.12 billion will be allocated to public education, $2.74 billion will be allocated to enterprise and other funds, and the remaining funds will be allocated to public safety initiatives, operations and infrastructure, government support and planning and economic development.

The most significant increases in investment were made to education, affordable housing, human support services and facilities maintenance.

In affordable housing, Bowser’s proposal includes $500 million in funds to the Housing Protection Trust Fund and an additional $41 million for project-sponsor vouchers in an effort to make housing more affordable for low-income Washingtonians.

In education, Bowser’s proposal allocates funding for stability to schools in the Pandemic Supplement Fund, replacement and preventative maintenance of HVAC and broiler systems, mental health supports for students and the modernization of parks and recreation centers.

You can learn more about the 2023 budget and see the Mayor’s presentation here.

Sarah Payne is a general assignment reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.