The Council will restore critical services in the interest of protecting children, maintaining public safety and keeping libraries open
CITY HALL – Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg tonight announced an agreement on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 budget. Despite limited resources from the State, and a lack of stimulus dollars, the Council will adopt a timely budget. The City Council is expected to vote on the FY 2011 budget plan early next week.
New York City is still facing one of the most unprecedented, tumultuous economic downturns in its history. And in an effort to continually serve New Yorkers, the Council will restore the most critical services in the interest of protecting children, maintaining public safety and keeping libraries open.
“New York City’s budget is balanced, it is on time, and it is does not raise taxes,” Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said. “Without a State budget agreement, the end of federal stimulus funds, and a persistent economic downturn, this year the City had to make exceedingly difficult decisions. But we took this responsibility with the utmost seriousness and made an effort to ensure that every budget decision was thoughtful and deliberate. Despite these obstacles, the Council and the Bloomberg Administration forged a responsible agreement that will preserve the most critical City services without raising taxes.
“I am very proud of my Council colleagues, Mayor Bloomberg, and everyone who worked so professionally and diligently to arrive at this fiscally responsible budget agreement on time. This year’s budget, in many ways, is reflective of what New York City is known for — resilience and perseverance. I remain confident that after this year’s hardships, our City will emerge out of this downturn fiscally healthier and stronger than ever.”
“Throughout this process, we got lemons from the state, from the federal government and from the economic climate, but I’m proud to say that by working together with the Mayor, we were able to make budget lemonade,” Finance Committee Chair Domenic M. Recchia Jr. said. “It’s not as sweet as we hoped, but not nearly as bitter as many people feared. This budget spends responsibly without raising taxes. It makes smart, targeted cuts while doing the least harm to our most vulnerable populations. We were able to minimize the impact on emergency services and libraries, as well as prevent devastating layoffs in core service areas. I would like to thank Speaker Quinn for putting her trust in me to guide the Finance Committee. I’d like to thank my colleagues in the City Council for coming together to work toward the greater good of this city, and I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his commitment to working with us toward a successful budget.”
In an effort to serve our children, the Council has restored funding for more than 200 Administration Children’s Services positions, 3,000 preventive slots and 72 childcare classrooms. Every year, thousands of children from stressed families benefit from supportive services designed to keep them safe in their homes instead of removing them from their families and these restorations will continue to ensure the protection of those children.
“The tough job is always having ten good programs and the money to only pay for one or two,” Assistant Majority Leader Lew Fidler said. “I am pleased that my colleagues protected programs for our young people as cuts to those would have been at best penny wise and pound foolish.”
KEEPING POOLS OPEN
The Council will restore funding for all public pools to remain open across the five boroughs. Starting this Sunday, all pools will be open and available during all seasons.
“This was a very difficult budget,” Deputy Assistant Majority Leader Inez Dickens said. “With the state knowing that we were not going to get stimulus money this year and failing to pass a budget on time, Speaker Quinn and the council were forced to make very painful decisions but we worked hard to make sure that critical services were maintained. I believe that we did our best and will continue to work hard to protect and service all our citizens of our great city. I firmly believe that the speaker and the mayor worked diligently to ensure that our neediest citizens would not bear the full burden of these very difficult budget cuts.”
MAINTAINING LIBRARY SERVICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY
Library service, a long standing priority of Speaker Quinn and Council Members, will be preserved across the City at five days a week. This restoration will ensure that New Yorkers have access to critically important job training services during the economic downturn, in addition to preserving access to vital services such as literacy programs and increased access to technology.
The Council also successfully kept all proposed firehouses from closing to maintain public safety.
“Foremost, I want to thank Speaker Quinn and my colleagues for their leadership during these negotiations,” Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie said. “Despite the unfortunate fiscal climate in our state at this time, we have worked extremely hard in the last few weeks to preserve vital services in our City, especially for the most vulnerable in our community. I am confident that despite the tough choices we were forced to make in this year’s budget, New Yorkers will come together like we have in previous tough economic times and endure.”
“This year’s budget represents a real balance of the NYC’s priorities and the financial climate that we find ourselves navigating,” Majority Leader Joel Rivera said. “Protecting core city services that New Yorkers depend on is priority number one.”