D.C. reports $400 million surplus in 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) - District of Columbia officials are weighing how to handle an expected $400 million budget surplus from the 2012 fiscal year.

D.C. Councilman Jack Evans has said any surplus should be added to the district's rainy-day fund to build its balance toward $1.6 billion. The city already has $1.2 billion in cash reserves.

The Washington Examiner reports that adding another $400 million to the D.C. savings account would place the district among the top 10 in the nation, if it were a state.

Norton Francis, a researcher at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Institute says that balance is a little high for normal times, unless there's a serious threat to a state's revenue.

The reserve fund can help protect the city if there's a sudden downturn or cut in federal spending.

Residents have a few ideas on how the spend the money. One woman didn’t hesitate to point out the trash on the streets in the Navy Yard area of Southwest.

“Just look around and you can see what needs to be done. Look at the streets. It’s obvious to see,” says Rosario Hendricks.

One spending solution: improving education. On Friday, the University of the District of Columbia., a city-funded university, cut nearly 100 positions from its staff and faculty to save money.

Another top suggestion is refunding the money.

“That might help the economy because if they give the right people money, that will boost business a little bit,” says Chris Jacobs.

And you don’t have to go far to see someone in need. Latest federal government stats show 15,000 people are homeless in D.C., including about 1,000 families.

“Homeless people over here. There are a lot of homeless people over here, no jobs. That’s what they need to do,” says Rodriguez Gayton.

Topping the city’s wish list is giving $7 million to homeless services, $14.7 million to welfare programs and $9.5 million to education.