Council and Mayor Reach Budget Agreement
January 6th, 2011
After nearly two months of negotiations, the City Council and the Bloomberg adminsitration have reached a deal on $585 million in mid-year budget cuts, which will stave off nighttime closures at 20 fire companies and save nearly 200 positions at the Administration for Children’s Services.
While it’s good news for some city agencies (the Department for the Aging and Department of Youth and Community Development included), the council could not save everything — including adult homeless services and a 5.4 percent cut to libraries.
“We recognize the difficult times we face and the council has worked incredibly hard to ensure that any cuts that are made are done in the most thoughtful and responsible manner,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn in a press release. “We worked to secure funding for programs that serve the most vulnerable New Yorkers and to find alternative savings in order to reach a fiscally responsible budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers.”
Later this month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will release his preliminary budget, which is sure to slash spending even more.
Here the full press release from the council:
As a result of extensive negotiations over the past six weeks, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Finance Committee Chair Domenic M. Recchia Jr. today announced that the Council and Administration have reached a budgetary agreement on the Fiscal Year 2011 financial plan. The agreement will achieve the same level of spending reductions proposed by Mayor Bloomberg in the November financial plan, but will restore certain cuts that the Council believed would be particularly harmful.
The Council proposed alternative cuts and sources of savings in order to pay for its proposed restorations. Together, the alternative cuts and identified savings achieve the Council’s goal of reducing spending while preventing cuts to programs that serve New York City’s most vulnerable groups.
“We recognize the difficult times we face and the Council has worked incredibly hard to ensure that any cuts that are made are done in the most thoughtful and responsible manner,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “We worked to secure funding for programs that serve the most vulnerable New Yorkers and to find alternative savings in order to reach a fiscally responsible budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers.”
“Under the leadership of Speaker Christine Quinn, and thanks to the passionate advocacy of my colleagues in the City Council, I’m proud to say that this deal protects vulnerable New Yorkers from devastating service cuts, while still implementing $585 million in smart, targeted spending reductions for this year,” said Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Chair of the Finance Committee. “We have a budget to balance, and we can’t do that without making tough decisions, but the challenge of this economic climate is to tackle our deficit with new ideas and innovative thinking, without harming vulnerable populations. This deal achieves that goal. I would like to thank the Bloomberg administration for coming to the table and working with the City Council so we can maintain important protections for our seniors, our children, and for all New Yorkers.”
The Council’s efforts were successful in preventing proposed budget cuts including:
• Fire Companies – proposed nighttime company closures have been deferred in the November Plan but this and other savings options will be further evaluated for FY 2012. The Council recognizes that additional cuts, including to the Fire Department and other uniformed services, may be necessary and will work to ensure that any further cuts have the least possible effect on public safety.
• The Administration for Children’s Services – the Council restored funding for nearly 200 ACS staff positions in the areas of child welfare and child protective services. These workers serve on the frontlines of protecting New York’s vulnerable children.
• Senior Services – case management services will be fully restored. Case management services are a vital resource seniors depend on, the gateway to services that they turn to when they are in need of any assistance from finding food programs and delivery to health benefit programs.
• Youth Programs – runaway and homeless youth programs, serving youth who often have nowhere to turn for help, will be fully restored. Additionally, the number of available slots in other afterschool programs will be preserved.
• Parking Meters – increases to parking meter rates outside of Manhattan and above 86th Street in Manhattan have been deferred.
• Recreation Centers – membership fees will remain at their current rates this year, and will not double as was proposed.
“Case managers link homebound seniors with all city services, including Meals on Wheels, homecare, and food stamps,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin, Chair of the Committee on the Aging. “These workers provide access to the hot meals and help that literally keep frail seniors alive and in their own homes. Without this help, thousands of seniors could end up in nursing homes, hospitals, or worse. I am pleased we were able to restore these funds to the Department for the Aging and protect some of our most vulnerable seniors.”
“The jobs, services, and programs saved under this budgetary agreement will have a direct and positive impact on the welfare of children in the care of the Administration for Children’s Services including the most vulnerable and at-risk,” said Council Member Annabel Palma, Chair of the General Welfare Committee. “Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Quinn and Council Member Recchia, and the hard work of the finance staff of both the Council and the Administration, we have lessened the impact of some of the more draconian cuts proposed in the mid-year budget.”
“On behalf of the 3,800 runaway and homeless youth who sleep on our City streets every night, I say thank you. Restoring the cuts to shelter services for these kids, the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, is a huge win for those who care about children. Our ability to restore some measure of the cuts to after-school services reflects the Council’s priority supporting the care and education of our children and the importance of these programs for our future,” said Council Member Lewis Fidler, Chair of the Council’s Youth Services Committee. “Special thanks to Speaker Quinn, Finance Chairman Recchia and the Council staff for banging out this deal in a fiscally responsible way.”
“Last year was the busiest in the FDNY’s history and no matter how bad the budget is, we cannot afford to cut our emergency response services. I’m pleased that the Administration has put public safety first by agreeing to keep our fire companies open,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, Chair of the Fire & Criminal Justice Committee.
The Council, fully recognizing the need for budget reductions, identified responsible means of funding the programs and services that were protected. Over the past several weeks, the Council has examined each agency’s spending and proposed alternative cuts or sources of savings in the City budget. After weeks of negotiations between the Council and Administration, the two sides agreed on a package of alternative cuts and identified savings to fund the restored services. Included in the Council’s budget reductions are:
• $4.5 million reduction in Department of Education contractual services, including IT consultant contracts and professional development services contracts
• $200,000 reduction in spending on evaluation of Center for Economic Opportunity programs
• $16 million in underspending; including tuition payments for City students enrolled in upstate community colleges; worker’s compensation payments; and mental health hearings to determine competency to stand trial, among others
• $4.5 million in additional agency personal services budget savings.
The FY11 Financial Plan was released on November 18th. The Council held hearings on the cuts presented in the plan, totaling 13.5 hours of public testimony and questioning. Negotiations with the Administration continued throughout the following weeks, resulting in the agreement announced today.By Courtney Gross on January 6, 2011, 11:26 am
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