- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2006

The D.C. Council yesterday unanimously approved a $9 billion fiscal 2007 budget that includes $7 million to hire 100 more police officers and a 0.41 percentage point increase in the deed and recordation tax.

The funding set aside to hire the officers is part of a program to increase police presence on the streets. It will move 65 police officers from desk jobs to patrol positions, which will result in 165 additional officers in city neighborhoods.

The money for the new officers was not included in Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ proposed $7.5 billion budget. At a budget hearing yesterday, the council added the money from a $15.5 million fund for rent subsidies.

“Year after year, after year, after year the thin blue line that protects our city has been stretched,” said council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat who is running for re-election in the fall. “I don’t want to hear any more of this. I think we should have more police presence. If we have the police presence, things will be different.”

Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat who is running for council chairman, objected. She proposed an amendment that would give the $7 million to the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Just throwing money at the police department does not solve problems,” she said.

The council killed the amendment in a 12-1 vote. Mrs. Patterson was the only council member who voted in favor of it.

The 2007 budget also includes $8.5 million for rent subsidies and $2 million to enable the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency to meet court-mandated performance standards by December.

Also yesterday, the council increased the deed and recordation tax from 1.1 percent to 1.45 percent, and exempted from the increase homes that are sold for less than $400,000. Mr. Williams had asked to increase the tax to 1.5 percent. The tax affects the closing costs associated with property sales and purchases.

The increase would bring the District about $80 million in additional revenue next year. The revenue will be used to fund programs, including affordable housing services.

The budget will be sent to Congress for approval.

The District’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

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