Ward 8 Residents Cast Wary Eye on City’s Budget Proposal

Tempers flared during an emergency meeting Thursday at the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center in southeast D.C., as Council member Trayon White gave an update on the proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year to Ward 8 residents wary of getting the short end of the stick.

In detailing the $13.8 billion budget, which was tentatively approved by the council on May 30, White told a packed room of community members, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, business owners and local activists that he’s consistently gone to bat for his constituents, even if the results weren’t always favorable.

“We’ve been having a lot of meetings from January [until] now, pushing, pulling, tugging, arguing, debating, negotiating, trying to get things for Ward 8,” he said.

In the initial proposal, the Ward 8 council member requested nearly $48 million to be invested into various areas in need of funding, including food accessibility, entrepreneurship, job development and violence prevention. While funding was approved for each area of interest, the allocated funds for some programs were less than anticipated.

“We’re going to be asking for a little bit more. It’s not where we want it to be, but it’s a good start,” White said.

But residents fumed during a question-and-answer session, particularly against the proposal’s lack of funding for safety initiatives, affordable housing and health care.

Although government officials consider the budget progressive, some residents of Ward 8 feel otherwise.

The budget is set for a second and final council vote on Tuesday, June 13.

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