How Do I?

What is BBMR’s role in agency budget decisions?

The Bureau of the Budget and Management Research (BBMR) operates in an oversight role for agency expenditures, conducting quarterly projections and approving contracts or purchases. BBMR works with agencies to assess budgetary needs, identify efficiencies, and right-sizing budgets to reflect actual spending needs. While BBMR facilitates the budget process and provides recommendations and analysis of proposals, the Mayor and their senior team make all final decisions.

How much funding does the City provide to Baltimore City Public Schools?

Baltimore City Public Schools currently operates as a separate entity from the City and about 73% of funding for City Schools comes from the State. Currently, the City is required to contribute to City Schools per a mandated formula calculation called Maintenance of Effort (MOE). In Fiscal 2020, that amount was approximately $275 million, covering the base MOE, retiree health benefits, and teacher pension. The City contributed an additional $100.4 million, resulting in a total contribution of $375.57 million.

Since Fiscal 2001, the City has met or exceeded the required funding levels since Fiscal 2001. You can learn more about the City’s support for Schools here and about the Schools budget here.

What causes high overtime rates for Fire and Police?

There are several reasons why the Police and Fire Departments are currently facing overtime deficits. One reason is that there are staffing models within public safety agencies that require a fixed number of personnel per shift and per vehicle. When there are staffing shortages, overtime is required to fill the gap.

The Baltimore Police Department has taken a number of steps to minimize these costs, including negotiating a more efficient schedule, directing more call for service to telephone reporting, better utilizing light-duty officers, and reducing staffing requirements for non-core specialized units. The new contract with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) puts into effect a new schedule that should provide more consistent coverage and less reliance on overtime--we expect to see $5 million of overtime savings in Fiscal 2020. The contract also includes pay increases and Patrol incentive pay, which should help with recruiting efforts to fill vacant Police positions that result in the need for overtime coverage.

BBMR is working with the Fire Department to review Fire’s scheduling practice. There has been growing demand for medical services, which has put extreme pressure on the agency. They are working to reduce this impact by implementing the community paramedicine program, which works to minimize repeat calls, and the two-tier model, which sends appropriate resources based on the call (e.g., either a Basic Life Support unit or an Advanced Life support unit).

What has caused the Police budget to increase so much since Fiscal 2012?

Prior to Fiscal 2013, the City budgeted pension and building rent costs centrally, which made it unclear to agencies and the public how much was being spent per agency on these areas. In Fiscal 2013, these costs were allocated to the agencies, which resulted in budget increase of approximately $54 million. Since Fiscal 2013, the budget for Police has grown mainly from increased personnel costs due to pay raises and hiring of new positions, as well as changes from contract negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). In Fiscal 2018, the budget increased due to costs from compliance with the Department of Justice consent decree. When Police spending has exceeded budgeted amounts, the City has been required to use other surplus revenues to cover the costs.