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Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott releases action plan to mark first anniversary in office

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary since he was sworn in by releasing an action plan for his first term.

The plan, which Scott unveiled during a virtual address on Facebook, includes more than two dozen goals, many of which are part of work Scott has already begun as mayor or pledged to fund with money from the city’s $641 million American Rescue Plan allocation.

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The action plan priorities, which are categorized into five “pillars” that Scott said his administration has been built upon, focus on improvements to public safety, youth engagement and equitable neighborhood development as well as cleaner, healthier communities and more responsible use of city resources.

“I invite you to follow along with my progress,” Scott said during the 10-minute address, touting a data-tracking feature for the plan available on the city’s website.

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Scott’s first year in office has been marked by persistent violent crime in the city with homicides topping the grim 300 mark by the end of November, and his action plan focuses heavily on public safety. Mirroring goals set when he rolled out his crime plan earlier this year, Scott’s new action plan calls for better reentry services for those who have been incarcerated and an expansion of the city’s diversion efforts for 911 calls that do not require a police response.

The plan sets a broad goal of reducing violent crime. Scott pledged in July to reduce gun violence in the city by 15% every year for the next five years. In October, he committed $50 million in American Rescue Plan money to violence prevention efforts including a threefold expansion of violence intervention programs such as Safe Streets.

A data tracker for Scott’s action plan says an effort to use PoliceStat to “track, analyze and improve” the police department’s “core strategies” is “complete.”

Much of Scott’s first year in office has also been spent responding to the coronavirus pandemic, a battle reflected in the action plan. A goal of getting 80% of the city’s population vaccinated against COVID-19 remains in the “planning” stage, according to Scott’s data tracker. But efforts are “in progress” to provide assistance to small businesses recovering from the pandemic and support populations vulnerable to the virus with employment training, apprenticeships and subsidized work.

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About $55 million in American Rescue Plan funds have been dedicated to employment programs by Scott, including the creation of an Economic Recovery Fund for small businesses, nonprofits, child care groups, artists and the hospitality industry in Baltimore.

Scott’s action plan sets a goal of closing the city’s digital divide, an effort he has also committed American Rescue Plan money to. A week earlier, Scott announced a $35 million allocation to the Mayor’s Office of Broadband and Digital Equity, $6 million of which will be used to run fiber to recreation centers and install 100 community wireless hot spots.

Youth were also a primary focus of Scott’s action plan which calls for increasing employment and mentorship opportunities for young people in the city as well as decreasing the number of teens and children in the criminal justice system. During his speech Wednesday, Scott touted his administration’s efforts to expand the number of recreation centers in the city — several have reopened under his watch.

Scott has also worked with a children’s cabinet since taking office and recently announced a pilot employment program for squeegee kids to offer an alternative to cleaning cars.

“My administration is planning a deeper investment in rec and parks which we look forward to sharing with you in the very near future,” Scott said Wednesday, teasing another potential American Rescue Plan funding announcement.

Scott’s action plan also touched upon quality-of-life issues in the city, setting goals that have often eluded past mayors of the city such as improving cleanliness of Baltimore’s neighborhoods and reducing public health disparities across the city.

The action plan calls for providing services to reduce housing insecurity and homelessness as well as ensuring every neighborhood has access to affordable food, reliable transportation and quality streets and sidewalks.

Scott touted his efforts to restore bulk trash pickup post-pandemic and the ongoing distribution of recycling cans to city residents as evidence of his progress. The recycling cans were promised as part of a $9 million program paid for by the city, the Baltimore Civic Fund and the nonprofit Recycling Partnership.

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