The D.C. City Council's Housing and Community Development Committee approved yesterday an additional $10 million in current-year spending, with about half the funds earmarked for emergency repairs and improvements and the removal of lead-based paint in public housing projects.
The funds were sought by Mayor Marion Barry as part of a fiscal 1985 supplemental budget submitted to the council May 6.
Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), chairman of the committee, supported the mayor's proposal, but noted that the improvements in public housing will be made just as Barry gears up for his 1986 reelection campaign.
"These are very necessary repairs coming just in time for the election," Jarvis said.
About $1.4 million of the $5.1 million in additional funds for public housing improvements will be used to remodel units, replace roofs and correct sewer problems in the Carrollsburg, Frederick Douglass, Fort Lincoln, Sheridan Terrace, Park Morton, Greenleaf Addition and Regency public housing projects.
The remainder of those funds will be used by the Department of Housing and Community Development for a lead-based paint removal program and to replace windows, doors and appliances and spruce up apartments in housing developments throughout the city.
The committee also approved the mayor's requests for an additional: $2 million for the Department of Employment Services, including $1 million for an expanded Summer Youth Employment program. The remainder would go for personnel costs and to establish a Latino Employment Center. $2.4 million for the city's Disability Compensation Fund to cover mandatory payments to D.C. government claimants who are injured on the job. Jarvis said she was surprised that the administration had so grossly underestimated the cost of this fund in its original budget request. She asked for an itemized accounting of the fund's costs. $103,000 for the D.C. Office of Business and Economic Development. $324,000 for the Washington Convention Center, to cover salary and fringe benefit costs. The committee cut the mayor's request by $176,000 and criticized the convention center for hiring 26 additional employes without first obtaining committee approval.
"With regard to the hiring of additional staff, there should be an appreciable relationship between increases in staff . . . and increases in convention center revenue," the committee said in a draft report.
Barry is seeking revisions in the 1985 budget based on a mid-year financial report that estimates the city will receive $41.3 million more than was anticipated in revenues for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
The proposed changes include increasing spending in some areas by $41.9 million, decreasing budget levels in some areas by $6.8 million and shifting $15.9 million in funding.
The mayor is seeking additional funds for such programs as drug abuse prevention and a continuing battle against potholes. The decreases are primarily in contributions to the teachers' retirement system resulting from new estimates on how much will be needed in future years to cover mandated benefits, which will not be affected, and reduced interest costs.