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Press Release


City Hall
New York, NY 10007
                                                                                                                                                                            (212) 788-7116
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**                                                                                                             
June 19, 2014

Contact: (212) 788-7116
Release #: 69-2014

Balanced, Responsible Budget Preserves 57 NYCHA Community and Senior Centers, Supports Job Growth and Legal Services, Expands the Council’s Crisis Management System and Delivers Results to Uplift All New Yorkers

City Hall – City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members and Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a progressive, balanced and fiscally responsible Budget Agreement for Fiscal Year 2015 that fulfills the Council and Administration’s vision for a City that helps and uplifts all New Yorkers.

Balancing the City’s finances with forward thinking initiatives to keep New Yorkers safe, healthy and secure, the FY 2015 Budget Agreement will create and expand access to vital City services, increase policing on City streets and extend free lunch to all Middle School students, all while ensuring City agencies are empowered to plan ahead for upcoming years.

“This budget process was substantive and thorougfh and the result is an on-time and balanced budget that reflects the needs New Yorkers face in public safety, employment, education, health and infrastructure,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Through the Council’s advocacy, NYPD will very soon have more cops on the beat to help keep New Yorkers safe and thousands of children will have access to free lunch through an important pilot program aimed at keeping our children healthy and focused on learning. This was a collaborative effort among all 51 City Council members who put in hundreds hours of hard work at meetings, hearings and briefings to create a budget that truly benefits the five boroughs.” 

“A budget agreement is where rhetoric meets the road – and we’ve delivered a fiscally responsible, progressive, and honest budget that will have an enormous impact on New Yorkers across the five boroughs while protecting our city’s fiscal health,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is one of the earliest agreements in recent history, a result of the productive dynamic we’ve developed with the Council that ends the cynical budget dance and delivers results for New Yorkers. I’m grateful to Speaker Mark-Viverito, Chair Ferraras, and all of their colleagues in the Council for their partnership as we reached this historic agreement.”

"As Finance Chair, I am proud to say the FY15 budget process has had a level of unprecedented transparency and inclusion within the City Council,” said Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras.  “Under Speaker Mark-Viverito’s leadership and with the help and input of every single member of the City Council, we, as a body, were able to provide considerable insight and fight for our constituents’ needs with specificity and detailed knowledge. Each decision was made with great calculation and reflects our desire to close the growing inequality gap affecting so many residents in our City. After dozens of hours of budget hearings, which I was proud to Chair, our Council Committees heard from over 50 agencies about how this budget affects their ability to perform their core services. We also heard essential testimony from the public, whose needs never ceased to escape our minds as we spent hours in negotiations. I am pleased to see that many of the priorities we had championed throughout this process will be included in the adopted budget. These victories are shared by everyone, including the City Council, the Mayor and the public."

"Today’s budget handshake represents a victory for the people of the City of New York," said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. "From increased police protection of NYCHA residents to employment opportunities for young people, the City Council has pushed forward a progressive budget that is balanced and responsible. As Chair of Cultural Affairs and Libraries, I am proud to have led the fight for the permanent restoration of over $175 million for libraries and the arts. In addition there are significant increases in cultural funding that will benefit every neighborhood in the City. Millions are included for capital funding that will strengthen our cultural organizations city-wide. This also includes a nearly 40 percent increase in the Cultural After School Adventure program which brings the arts into our schools. In addition I am proud to have sponsored a new cultural initiative that will provide funding to emerging arts organizations in every Council district across the City expanding access and building bridges among our immigrant communities. I am also pleased that funding for the Coalition of T‎heaters of Color was increased. And while we still need to make more progress, funding for our public libraries will be increased for the first time in six years."

The FY 2015 Budget is the culmination of months of extensive, substantive budget hearings that pinpointed the resources the City needs to effectively serve New Yorkers in all five boroughs.
The Agreement reached by the City Council and the Mayor includes over $687 million total to support vital services, with $80 million to support programs highlighted in the Council’s Preliminary Budget Response, $15 million to create 14 new Council initiatives, $36 million in enhancements from the Council to increase services, $51 million to maintain existing Council programs and over $500 million in baselined funds.

Specifically, the Budget Agreement:

Increases Policing on City Streets

The City Council secured $6.2 million to hire 200 Police Administrative aides to free 200 Police Officers from desk jobs. These officers will immediately be deployed to patrol and enforcement functions, ensuring the NYPD will continue to have the resources they need to succeed.

“By civilianizing positions in the New York City Police Department, this budget agreement will make 200 more uniformed officers available to protect the safety of all New Yorkers – especially public housing residents – and is a valuable step toward reducing street crime and gun violence in our City,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Chair of the Council Committee on Public Safety. “Under this agreement 200 more civilians will be hired at the NYPD and I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and all of the staff who were truly committed to making this important agreement a reality.”    

Extends Free School Lunch to All of New York City’s Middle School Students

Beginning this Fall, the Department of Education will launch a $6.25 million pilot program in New York City Middle Schools to provide free school lunches to over 170,000 middle School students across the City.

Keeps NYCHA Community and Senior Centers Open
The Budget Agreement reached by the City Council and the de Blasio Administration will protect New York City’s growing aging population by securing $17 million to keep 57 NYCHA Community and Senior Centers open.

"NYCHA operated community centers are vital to the thousands of seniors and youth that turn to them every day for services and support,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Council Committee on Public Housing. “The council's decision to allocate funding to continue these critical services for another year demonstrates a strong commitment to essential social services, and an investment in our public safety and long-term wellbeing,"

"I'm beyond pleased that the voices of public housing residents across this city have been heard loud and clear, and that our NYCHA senior and community centers will remain open," said Council Member Margaret Chin, Chair of the Council Committee on Aging. "Simply put, this was the right thing to do, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for working with us to come to this agreement. These NYCHA centers have made a truly positivef impact on the lives of thousands upon thousands of children, seniors and whole families -- and now, thankfully, they will continue to do so."

Creates Merit Based Scholarships for CUNY Students
The City Council will provide $11.1 million for the implementation of the City Council Merit Based Scholarship program, to provide merit based scholarships to New York City High School graduate who maintain at least a B average at CUNY.

Supports Worker Cooperatives
The City Council secured $1.2 million in funding to support the expansion of worker cooperatives throughout the City to help low-income and minority New Yorkers become business owners.

Invests in New York City’s Parks
The FY 2015 budget includes  $5 million to hire 80 PEP officers. Additionally the Council will provide funding for New York City’s parks maintenance,and fund tree stump removal.

Expands Legal Services and English Classes for Immigrants
The City Council will provide $10.3 million to significantly expand services for New York City’s immigrant population. The Council will provide funds to support legal services and English classes for immigrants and $1 million to support the CUNY Citizenship Now! Hotline.
“This budget is a win for all New Yorkers, including our immigrant New Yorkers,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Council Committee on Immigration.  “Our progressive city budget scales up the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project from a small but impactful pilot program to one that will now provide deportation defense counsel for thousands of indigent immigrants in deportation proceedings in New York City. The budget also provides a large increase for Adult Literacy programs at a time when attaining a high school equivalency degree is far more challenging.”

Creates and Supports Job Growth
The City Council will expand Industrial Business Zones to create new manufacturing business opportunities and support job growth across the City.

Secures Funding for Summer Youth Jobs and Summer Camp
The City Council will support 10,700 summer jobs for youth and will invest $17.5 million to create 22,000 slot for summer out-of-school time programs. 

"As unemployment persists at high numbers across our city, the City Council is taking a big step toward tackling it by providing thousands more job opportunities to our youth,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Expanding the Summer Youth Employment Program will pay major dividends for years to come as our young people will learn the skills necessary to thrive in professional environments across all fields. With Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's leadership and my colleagues' support, we are able to increase the chances that unemployment will drop, as we progress out of the deep recession we faced just years ago."

Expands Child Care Vouchers for Low-Income Families
The City Council will invest $10 million to create thousands of additional child care vouchers for low-income families to ensure parents have access to high quality child care.

“This budget represents a new era in New York City,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chair of the Council Committee on General Welfare.  “I am proud to have worked with my colleagues and the administration on reaching an agreement that reflects our values and priorities. Thank you to Speaker Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio for achieving this historic agreement and ensuring our budget meets the important needs of every New Yorker.”

"We have made great improvements to the budget process under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito,” said Council Member David G. Greenfield. “Not only is our budget on time and the negotiations transparent, but we are finally assuring city funding for the essential programs New Yorkers used to have to fight tooth and nail for. I am especially pleased that we have restored significant funding for priority 5 vouchers, and after-school program that is vital to thousands of low income families.  This is the first time in years that we have increased funding for priority 5 vouchers, which sends a clear message that we have realigned our priorities in New York City.”

Supports Educational Programs
The FY 2015 Budget Agreement maintains strong support for educational programs, including Urban Advantage and chess in school and will increase funding for Teacher’s Choice by 35 percent.

Supports Small Schools Athletic Leagues
The City Council will invest $825,000 to support athletic leagues in small schools. This first of its kind investment will ensure schools that serve a more diverse student population can participate in sports programs.

Expands the City Council’s Crisis Management System
Through a partnership with the City Council and the Administration, the FY 2015 Budget will include funding to expand anti-gun violence initiatives and the City Council Crisis Management System to high need neighborhoods.

Supports and Expands Legal Services
The City Council secured funds to support and expand legal services for New Yorkers, including $2.7 million to support those facing eviction and additional funds to help low-income people and individuals with HIV/AIDS.

Reduces Senior Case Management
The Budget Agreement will reduce case management loads for Senior Case Managers from 80 to 65 per worker, ensuring New York City’s aging population will receive needed support.

Increases Transparency in the Budget Itself with New Units of Appropriation 

The FY 2015 Budget increases transparency within the budget itself by creating new units of appropriation in the expense budget to better track spending in individual City agency budgets.