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NEW YORK, NY 10007
(212) 788-7116
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**                                                                                                             
June 23, 2013

Contact: 212-788-7116
Release # 114-2013


Budget Agreement Keeps all Public Libraries and Pools Open, Restores Cuts to Child Care and After School Services

Council Prevents Layoff of Hundreds of NYCHA Employees and Stops Closure of Community and Senior Centers at NYCHA Facilities

Quinn: City Negotiations for 2014 Budget Proof Positive That Brinkmanship and Gridlock Should Take a Back Seat to Delivering for New Yorkers 

CITY HALL – Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Finance Chair Domenic M. Recchia Jr. and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced an agreement on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget that maintains vital services, despite significant challenges presented to City through federal sequestration cuts. The budget keeps all public libraries and community pools open, restores cuts to child care and after school services, and protects the jobs of more than 300 NYCHA employees who faced possible layoffs. The budget also ensures that senior and community centers in NYCHA properties stay open.

Speaker Quinn and the Council negotiated with the Administration to reach an agreement on its eighth consecutive, on-time balanced budget, and avoided cuts to vital programs and prevented layoffs. Through responsible budgeting, the Council was able to also provide additional funding for programs that help seniors and legal services for immigrants on a path to citizenship.

Federal sequestration presented significant challenges to the City’s budget this year, particularly to the city’s public housing facilities, but working with the Administration and NYCHA, Speaker Quinn and the Council were able to mitigate much of the damage that other large municipalities throughout the country are facing. The negotiations resulted in the prevention of 325 layoffs for NYCHA employees as well as the closure of more than 60 senior centers and community facilities.

Additionally, the recent court ruling ensures the City will have new revenues from the sale of taxi medallions, removing a significant risk. An improving New York City economy has allowed us to keep existing programs and services at their current levels - some even with modest enhancements - without relying on non-recurring revenue.

“This budget process should serve as an example to our colleagues in government throughout the country, that if you focus on delivering and check the grandstanding at the door, you can accomplish a great deal – and that’s what this is all about,” said Speaker Quinn. “While the Council and the Administration came into this budget with different priorities, we both had a willingness to negotiate in good faith and in the end, arrived at a budget without the bickering and confrontation that is unfortunately too often associated with government. By working together, we’ve ensured that libraries and pools will stay open, parks will be maintained, and preserved both vital childcare seats and after school programs that middle class families depend on. Not only does this budget maintain or enhance services throughout the city, it leaves the next Council, the next Administration and all New Yorkers with the peace of mind that their government was able to work together to protect vital services.”

“We came a long way over the course of this budget process. This year, our City’s finances were faced with two primary obstacles—one natural, Superstorm Sandy, and one manmade, the federal sequestration,” said Council Finance Chair Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “Recognizing our shared predicament, elected officials and agency leadership put in a lot of hard work and tough negotiation towards producing what I can confidently say is a fair and responsible budget that provides both core services to New Yorkers and lays the groundwork for needed investments into the City’s future. Many thanks to the dedication and hard work from the staff of the Council and Administration, Speaker Christine Quinn, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and of course the public, many of whom wrote letters, made phone calls, and waited in line hours to testify and meet with their Council Members. Together, we’ve continued to move our City forward on sound financial footing.”

“As the City Budget process draws to an end, I am thrilled to report that the final budget will not require the closure of any NYCHA run Senior and Community Centers or any other NYCHA-run facilities, which are essential to the most needy in our City,” said Committee on Public Housing Chair Rosie Mendez.

Restoring Childcare and Youth Services:

Speaker Quinn and the City Council have again demonstrated their commitment to protecting child care and after school programming by successfully preventing the loss of tens of thousands of slots. As a result of the Council’s efforts and the strong advocacy from numerous organizations and community members, these services will continue to meet the needs of working families for quality educational opportunities. Specifically, the Council has restored $143.6 million for Early Childhood Education and After School Programs, which includes:

• $60 million for early childhood education, including an additional 3,500 seats in contract childcare centers and 900 Family Child Care network slots. 
• $72 million for after school programs, restoring a proposed $10 million cut to DYCD’s Out-of-School Time (OST) program – equivalent to a 21% across-the-board cut, or 3,000 to 5,000 students – and $51 million for an additional 30,000 slots, bringing the total number of OST program slots to over 50,000.
• The Council also maintained funding for all 66 City-funded Beacon programs throughout the City and for the NYCHA Cornerstone Programs.  Beacons are housed in public schools and serve the surrounding communities to provide a broad range of services and programs.  Seven Beacon programs were threatened with closure. The 25 NYCHA Cornerstone programs provide educational, recreational and cultural programs at NYCHA community centers.
• Other After-School programs funded in the Budget include The After School Corporation (TASC; $3 million); Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, ($1 million); New York Junior Tennis League ($800,000); and the YMCA After-School Program ($350,000)

“Today's budget agreement is another hard-won victory for low income New Yorkers. Under the leadership of Speaker Quinn, my colleagues and I made sure that this budget protects key services for working families who rely on child care and those suffering from HIV/AIDS,” said Committee on General Welfare Chair Annabel Palma. “Through nearly $60 million in restorations from the Council, this budget helps spare cuts to tens of thousands of families who rely on child care and after-school programs while providing approximately $5.3 million to HASA for vital services that people living with HIV/AIDS depend on.  Despite the challenges posed by the Mayor's executive budget the Council has once again proved that it is committed to helping working New Yorkers. I want to thank Speaker Quinn for her continued leadership throughout these negotiations and my Council colleagues for sparing these vital programs and sending the message that this City's children are a top priority.”

“We were completely successful in maintaining current levels of service for our children,” said Council Member Lewis Fidler. “The proposed cuts to after school programs would have been particularly devastating, creating a new generation of latch key kids, dumbing down educational outcomes, causing working parents a nightmare, and leading to more mischief---and more---on our streets. This renewed investment in our children will pay us dividends for years to come.”

Keeping Libraries Open:

The FY 2014 Adopted Budget provides $106 million in funding to ensure that New York City’s three public library systems continue to provide the full range of important services to New Yorkers – from reading and research, to after-school programs and literacy classes, to acting as a community center. Libraries strengthen neighborhoods and enhance the educational and cultural lives of New Yorkers.

“I'm proud to have worked closely with Speaker Christine Quinn and the Administration to agree on a budget that will restore a record amount of funding for New York City's libraries as well as our cultural institutions and organizations,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair Council Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries. “Not only will we keep every New Yorkers local library branch open to continue a steady provision of free programming and services but we will also save over 1,500 jobs and maintain service hours throughout the five boroughs. Our cultural sector will also receive essential funding necessary to maintain New York City's prominence as a world class mecca known for its renowned arts and culture. I thank Speaker Quinn for working closely with the Council, as well as the Administration, to provide New Yorkers with a budget that both preserves and
maintains all that is great about our City.”
“This budget is a huge win for the hardworking people I serve in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst,” said Council Member Vincent Gentile. “Once again we were able to keep all of our firehouses, senior centers, libraries and after-school programs open without raising taxes. I want to thank Speaker Christine Quinn for her leadership along with Finance Chair Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. and all of my colleagues in the Council for working with Mayor Bloomberg to deliver another balanced and on-time budget. Together we were able to agree on a plan that is fiscally responsible but also proves that we will never sacrifice the essential services that make New York City the greatest city in the world.”


Immigration Services:

The FY 2014 Adopted Budget also includes funding for programs aimed at helping the city’s growing immigrant population including legal services, Immigrant Opportunities and programs such as CUNY Citizenship Now!

“This is a progressive budget which takes into consideration the needs of our immigrant communities,” said Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Council's Committee on Immigration. “It is wonderful that we were able to increase funding for immigrant opportunities to $5.1 million dollars.  I am grateful to Speaker Quinn and Finance Chair Recchia for this increase and the smart fiscal stewardship they have shown through tough economic times.”

Keeping Swimming Pools Open and Parks Maintained:

The City Council has also successfully restored $32 million to maintain the City’s parks, keep all city pools open for a full season and ensuring funding for beloved and proven programs such as “Kids in Motion” which works to prevent childhood obesity during summer vacation.

“As we begin the summer, I am thrilled to report that all pools will stay open for the full season and that our city’s parks will not suffer any cuts to maintenance or public safety,” said Committee on Parks & Recreation Committee Chair Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Thanks to restorations from the City Council and negotiations with the administration, we have averted all of the cuts to parks proposed in the Executive Budget and we allocated funds for stump removal services. We have also preserved the Parks Opportunity Program, which is a job training program for public assistance recipients who work hard every day to help keep our parks clean and safe. I thank all of my colleagues for their support of parks, in particular Speaker Quinn and Finance Chair Recchia, as well as the administration for recognizing their important role in investing in our parks.”

Ensuring Fire Companies and Senior Centers Remain Open:

The Council also successfully prevented the closure of any fire companies and protected senior services including the restoring of funds for senior centers and home-delivered meals, as well as enhanced funding for case management services for home-bound elderly to reduce waiting lists and lower current caseloads.

“This budget reflects our city's commitment to older New Yorkers by keeping the doors open at NYCHA senior centers and restoring funding for other vital services and programs for the elderly,” said Committee on Aging Chair Jessica Lappin.

The City Council is expected to vote on the FY 2014 budget plan later this week.