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Issue of the Week
 
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CAPITAL PLAN

6 Mar 00

THE LOWDOWN:

On January 27, Mayor Giuliani released the City Financial Plan for Fiscal Years 2000-2004. In his four year plan, the Mayor has appropriated $23.4 billion in capital funding to projects ranging from Jazz at Lincoln Center to the Bronx Criminal Court Complex. Critics, including fiscal watchdog City Project, have two complaints: 1) Many of the projects do not address the City's needs, favoring "legacy building" projects over the less-glamorous, more needed projects like housing; 2) The most worrisome aspect of the Plan is its provision that capital spending will exceed its debt-incurring power in FY 01. Critics object to the proposed solution: a change in the State Constitution to increase the legal debt limit.

THE PLAN:

"Mayor Giuliani announces NYC's Financial Capital Plan for FY 2000-2004" - The press release announcing the Mayor's four year financial plan, including capital investments. The bare bones, user-friendly version of the plan. Wonks may refer to a more in depth summary or the plan in its entirety.

The City Council From the Capital Budget Briefing document presented to the City Council; it includes a breakdown of the budget by agency and project type.

THE CRITICS:
"The City will be able to finance only 61 percent of its planned capital commitments in FY 01. But instead of reducing the size of the January 2000 Capital Commitment plan, the City plans to reschedule into FY 02 the capital projects it will be unable to finance in FY 01, without reducing the existing capital commitments in FY 02. Instead of addressing the problem... the City is delaying the problem to FY 02." Office of the City Comptroller.

Zachary Treuhaft describes how Giuliani is building a legacy to his mayoralty before his departure.

City Project - Their report on the Mayor's budget describes it as a "fantasy." They note that the Financial Plan for FY 2000-2004 includes "Huge capital expenditures [which] favor high-visibility, legacy projects - private museum subsidies and courthouses most prominently - over greater needs, like schools and housing."

Comptroller Hevesi's comments on the Financial Plan - The Comptroller is more concerned with what he perceives to be the fiscal recklessness of the plan, not the projects themselves. An analysis of the entire proposed plan is downloadable here.

THE PROJECTS:

Kingsbridge Armory Reconstruction - Read the Mayor's side and the report by the Daily News, which tells a different story. While the Mayor claims that the project will create 1,100 permanent jobs, and over 600 construction jobs, other contractors who had bid on the project question why the Mayor went with the most expensive plan, and one that didn't include school construction. Price tag: $30 Million.

St. George Ferry Terminal - Part of the recently-passed deal to build a stadium for the Staten Island Yankees. The much-criticized $71 million plan includes a complete makeover for the ferry terminal - including a waterfront plaza, new retail and restaurant space, and a walkway to the stadium.

Hudson River Park - The highly contentious park is moving forward, albeit slowly. Debate continues as to whether an environmental impact statement by the Army Corps of Engineers in necessary, or if construction can advance.

Brooklyn Stadium and Sportsplex - The Mayor wants a stadium for the minor-league Mets; Brooklynites, backed by the Beep, want the Sportsplex - a community sports facility. Mayor Giuliani has put the Sportsplex in a holding pattern, contingent upon the construction of the stadium. Golden and Giuliani have locked horns repeatedly over the issue, with no resolution in sight. Still, the Mayor has included $50 million in his preliminary Capital Plan for both projects.

In its Capital Budget Briefing document, the City Council expressed concern about the Stadium/Sportsplex project: "The Council is concerned that this [budgetary separation of the two projects] is further indication of the administration's unwillingness to proceed with the Sportsplex project."

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