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Ward 1 Update: We can do hard things.

Photo of Councilmember Brianne K Nadeau in pink raincoat posing with Director Cheilee Walker in front of banner for Africa on the Avenue at stage for event

Africa on the Avenue was a great celebration of the vibrant African immigrant community along Georgia Avenue NW. Thank you to hosts District Bridges and Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street, and to all of the organizers, including Director Chellee Walker, for your dedicated efforts to bring the community together through fun and creative events all year long!


Hello neighbors:

This week, the Council gave our initial approval to the District’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget. I was proud to support the proposal that reinstates vital programs and generates much-needed revenue to support many of the services that are key to how we live in our city.

We have an obligation as a government to do more than simply reconcile our accounts and produce a balanced budget. We are obligated to take care of our neighbors, to keep our city safe, to enhance our quality of life. To serve people and meet their needs. 

When we compare the Council’s budget to the proposal we received from the Mayor earlier this spring, we are in a remarkably better place. The Mayor’s proposal shirked responsibility, balancing the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable residents.

We have heard time and again that this is a tough year. But we can, in fact, do hard things. We can, and did, rise to the challenge, meeting a substantial budget gap by finding ways to generate revenue to support essential programs for our residents.

There is more work to be done between now and the final vote, however, and over the next year.

Here are some of the things I am focused on over the next two weeks:

  • Rapid Rehousing/Vouchers/ERAP: We’ve been successful at ending homelessness for thousands of our neighbors through major investments in permanent housing, emergency rental assistance, and rapid rehousing. If this funding pipeline is decreased in the FY25 budget, we will not be able to keep that forward progress.
  • Pay Equity: We are still $17 million short of the full amount needed for this essential fund to prevent cuts in salary and benefits for early childhood educators.
  • SNAP: We need to make sure seniors can continue to live in our city, and with one of the highest rates of senior hunger in the country, that means we need to increase SNAP benefits.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Improving educator wellness and increasing retention rates can help us achieve the stable, secure, and productive school environment all D.C. students deserve.

We have work to do. And there’s also so much good that’s already been done in this budget:

  • Public safety: A police budget increase of $70 million fully funds the chief’s request for additional officers. I also made funds available for new mobile police cameras in the 3rd and 4th police districts to contribute to neighborhood safety. And I contributed funds to support positions in the city’s crime lab to help solve cases.
  • Home Visiting Reimbursement Amendment Act: I am thrilled to see funding for my legislation that will expand access to evidence-based home visit programs for expectant parents.
  • Office of the Ombudsperson for Children: This small office, which I created through legislation in 2021, has a significant impact on the lives of children, especially those simultaneously involved in foster care and the juvenile justice system.

Balancing a $21 billion budget requires making cuts in one place to add in another and considering all revenue sources. I strongly support the Chairman’s property tax increase on homes with assessed values over $2.5 million, in a way that does not negatively impact multifamily properties. I was proud to be part of this change and thank the Chairman for working with me and other councilmembers to make this happen.

I have long believed that the District’s wealthiest residents should be asked to do the most for those in need and an increased tax on the highest value homes is much needed. The District’s property taxes are currently the lowest in the region by a wide margin – that will remain true even with this proposal.

For the first time, we are adding progressivity to the property tax, which currently disproportionally burdens lower-income residents.

This budget’s tax changes are necessary and good and put us on the right path. What should come next is fleshing out a fuller vision of revising the tax code – led by the commission we appointed to do so.

As I noted in my remarks at the budget hearing this week, I look forward to the work ahead between now and the final vote as we produce a budget that supports the rights, health, and wellbeing of residents, protects vulnerable people, including children, enhances livelihoods, and keeps the District a clean, safe, and livable city.

Brianne's signature

COUNCIL UPDATE

Pilot Holds Scofflaw Drivers More Accountable

The city has prioritized towing high-dollar scofflaw vehicles to hold owners accountable. The Department of Public Works & Operations Parking Enforcement division identified and towed nearly 70 vehicles with $600,000 in unpaid tickets and booting another 700 vehicles with over $1.5 million in unpaid fines.

I’m thrilled to see this program in action. Last year I added close to 40 new parking enforcement, booting and towing positions to make this possible. In next year’s budget, I’ve added funds for license plate readers on DPW tow trucks. License plate readers have played a significant role in the current pilot, allowing parking enforcement to quickly identify the highest-offending vehicles and prioritize them. Here’s the story from WUSA9.

I’ve worked with DPW on prioritizing the most egregious scofflaws for booting and towing. Director Timothy Spriggs and his team have done a great job getting booting and towing staffed up and operating efficiently.

I’m also working on additional legislation, the Fraudulent Vehicle Tag Enforcement Amendment Act of 2023, which is currently in committee, to hold drivers and vehicle owners accountable. The bill would give greater authority to tow cars with fake tags and go after sellers of fake tags.

And earlier this year the Council passed the STEER Act, which I co-introduced w/ Councilmember Charles Allen. It allows booting vehicles that rack up points for speeding and other traffic offenses, including those caught by traffic cameras. And it allows the D.C. Attorney General to sue repeat offenders, even if they live outside D.C.

Traffic safety is public safety. Working together with DPW, we are making it harder to be a dangerous driver in D.C.

BRIANNE IN WARD 1

I met with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to discuss package theft & mail robbery in Ward 1. We talked about trends in the District, reporting procedures between the agency and MPD, and resources available for the community. More to come as we work to address this serious issue.


I toured Jubilee Housing’s new Kalorama Road project this week, which includes 25 new affordable housing units and an expansion of the Sitar Arts Center. Since my first day in office, I committed to building more affordable housing in Ward 1, and it’s exciting to see projects like this expand economic opportunity and give more of our neighbors a chance to thrive.

COMMUNITY UPDATES

Columbia Road NW Bus Priority Project Pre-Construction Information Session

DDOT will host a virtual public meeting about upcoming construction on the Columbia Road NW Bus Priority Project on June 13 at 6 pm.

Columbia Road is a vibrant street serving many different types of users. Bus service and reliability must be improved and ensuring that has been one of my top priorities. I look forward to seeing a reimagined Columbia Road that protects vulnerable road users and works better for more people.


Smart Food Waste Bins are coming soon

Waste diversion is a primary objective for me as chair of the Public Works & Operations Committee. DPW will be installing 30 smart food waste bins this year, creating greater access to compost drop-off opportunities across the District. Help determine the bin locations by filling out the community engagement interest form.

IN THE NEWS

Screenshot of Washington Post story with headline D.C. Council chair's budget proposal further hikes taxes, staves off cuts with photo of Chair Mendelson, Councilmember Nadeau, and Mayor Bowser in the Council chamber

“The budget will probably change further in the coming weeks as lawmakers aim to direct funding toward remaining priorities and areas of concern. Nadeau, for example, said the extra $6 million for rental assistance was insufficient, considering Bowser’s budget reduced it $40 million from the previous fiscal year.”

“Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau said, ‘This is not a perfect budget, but we’re in a much better place than we were when the mayor proposed her budget.”

CALENDAR

LGBTQIA+ Flag Raising Ceremony  
Monday, June 3, 4 pm | John A. Wilson Building 

Public Works & Operations Public Roundtable
Wednesday, June 5, 1:30 pm | online and in-person 
The Committee will hold a roundtable on the Mayor’s nomination of Col. Charlette K. Woodard (Ret.) as director of the Office of Veterans Affairs. 

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1B  
Thursday, June 6, 6:30 pm | online  

Council Legislative Meeting 
Tuesday, June 11, 12 pm | in-person and online 

Council Legislative Meeting 
Wednesday, June 12, 11 am | in-person and online 
Final reading of the FY25 budget  

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A  
Wednesday, June 12, 7 pm | in-person and online 

Columbia Heights Day 
Saturday, June 15, 2024, 11 am – 5 pm | Harriet Tubman Elementary 
Annual one-day celebration of Columbia Heights! 

Committee of the Whole Meeting 
Tuesday, June 18, 11 am | in-person and online 

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1D  
Tuesday, June 18, 7 pm | in-person and online  

Council offices closed in observance of Juneteenth 
Wednesday, June 19 

Brianne on Your Block
Thursday, June 20, 6 pm | RedRocks, 1036 Park Rd NW 
Meet one-on-one with Councilmember Nadeau 

CONTACT US

Brianne K. Nadeau | Councilmember | [email protected]

Ariel Ardura | Committee Director | [email protected]

Abigail Boshart | Legislative Aide | [email protected]

Amanda Chulick | Legislative Analyst | [email protected]

Jerry Clark | Constituent Services Specialist | [email protected]

David Connerty-Marin | Communications Director | [email protected]

Kara Dunford | Communications Specialist | [email protected]

Estelle McKinney | Constituent Services Specialist | [email protected]

David Meni | Deputy Chief of Staff & Legislative Director | [email protected]

Maricela Nava | Deputy Chief of Staff & Scheduler | [email protected]

Sabrin Qadi | Legislative Assistant | [email protected]

Niccole Rivero | Chief of Staff | [email protected]

Related

Last week, the Committee on Public Works & Operations, which I chair, convened a hearing to identify missteps in the initial investigation of allegations of sexual harassment against Mayor Bowser’s former chief of staff and deputy mayor for planning and economic development and ensure that the DC government improves going forward.

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