City Hall must work for people, it must be responsive to the needs and aspirations of the citizens of Baltimore.

Transparency is a core pillar of government integrity. Citizens deserve to know where our city services – from housing and sanitation, to schools and police – are doing well and falling short. To this end, we must invest in a broad range of systems and structures of accountability and transparency, including annual and timely audits of all city agencies.

City Hall must also lead city-wide efforts focused on innovation and industry incubation, aimed at supporting the skill development for a new generation of jobs.

Together we can:

  • Reinstate and strengthen a unified system for tracking/ reporting the quality of services and the performance of government agencies through a revitalized CitiStat that is focused on agency performance (inputs) AND on the well being of all citizens (outcomes).
  • Complete and make public the findings of scheduled agency audits, including internal school system audits.
  • Develop and implement management improvements and efficiencies that respond to audit findings.
  • Institutionalize racial equity by requiring racial impact analyses be conducted for all new city ordinances to ensure that city officials - and the public - are made conscious of the ways in which proposed policies would affect vulnerable communities.
  • Designate a portion of the City budget to be decided through participatory budgeting with a specific portion of the budget dedicated to be decided by Baltimore’s youth (Model: Boston Participatory Budgeting Project)
  • Extend hours of operation of re-entry, career, and recreation centers to be open when families need them, for example, during evenings and weekends.
  • Increase government transparency by making City Council voting records and pending bills public in an easily accessible, searchable format

Baltimore aggressively pursues innovation to yield measurable improvement in the well being of all of its citizens

Together we can:

  • Use the Mayor’s Office as a “R&D” unit for innovation – seeking solid advice from around the country about how best to expand opportunity, reduce racial disparities and dramatically improve citizens lives.
  • Seek the full partnership of the city’s civic and business leadership and our elected officials at the State and Federal level in implementing the strategies laid out in this platform and others that might emerge through future research and development.
  • Seek co-investment from these partners to incentivize the opportunity generating strategies laid out in this platform. (Examples: Safe and Sound Campaign/ Maryland Opportunity Compacts, federal incentive programs like Race to the Top and the Workforce Innovation Fund.)
  • Rigorously measure and monitor our progress in implementing these strategies. Use the baseline indicators contained in this report – and other measures as suggested by citizens – to gauge progress and guide future action.

Baltimore makes best use of every available resource to improve citizens lives

Improving our City’s fiscal health also requires expanding opportunity: Income from taxes will rise as more city residents gain employment and new residents are attracted to our schools and neighborhoods; costs for policing and other social service expenditures will fall – and together we can create a virtuous cycle of opportunity and growth.

While we generate this virtuous cycle of opportunity and growth, we can also:

  • Maximize existing revenues through increased efficiencies in public agencies resulting from transparent audits and financial reporting as per the above.
  • Aggressively pursue full use of federally funded entitlement programs to support Baltimore’s residents (see section above on Building Wealth).
  • Actively monitor and develop action teams to vigorously pursue discretionary federal and state grant programs that fit with the city’s priorities.
  • Engage in a complete review of the city’s revenues (including new casino impact funds) and expenditures (including the planned new expenditures laid out in this document). Based on this review, lay out a revised schedule for rationalizing city taxes, including property tax relief as feasible.
  • Advocate at the State and Federal level for deepened investment in Baltimore. Concentrated poverty, racial segregation and the flight of capital and residents are the direct result of previous local, state and federal policies. Their redress requires major new investments from all partners.