Balanced, Responsible Budget Increases Police Numbers on City Streets and Extends Free Lunch to City Students

City Hall – Today, the City Council today voted to adopt a balanced and fiscally responsible Budget 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 creates and expands access to vital City services, increases policing on City streets and extends free lunch to all Middle School students, all while ensuring City agencies are empowered to plan ahead for upcoming years.

Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget include:

Increasing Policing on City Streets
The FY 2015 budget includes $6.2 million to hire 200 new civilian Police Administrative aides to relieve 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.

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

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

Beginning this Fall, the Department of Education will eliminate lunch fees for all students in district and charter middles schools. Council funding will support the free lunch initiative in Fiscal 2015 and the administration baselined the program to make free lunch a permanent program for middle schools.

Keeping NYCHA Community and Senior Centers Open
This budget will protect New York City’s growing aging population by securing $17 million to keep 57 NYCHA Community and Senior Centers open. This could be changed to focus on NYCHA security and improvements overall – BDB put in $19 million for a variety of NYCHA programs like cornerstones, out-reach, probation’s Arches program. Plus the police initiative will immediately boost police resources around NYCHA developments experiencing high crime.

Creating Merit Based Scholarships for CUNY Students
The budget provides $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 and FIT. In FY 15 scholarships of approximately $400 per semester will be available to first-year students.

Investing in New York City’s Parks
The FY 2015 budget includes $5 million to hire 80 PEP officers. Additionally the budget will provide funding for New York City’s parks maintenance, and fund tree stump removal. Additionally the budget will provide $8.75 million to hire approximately 150 additional gardeners and parks maintenance staff, $1 million to increase the tree pruning budget, and an additional $750,000 to remove more tree stumps. A new $750,000 Parks Equity Initiative will support the creation of small parks conservancies’ and support community programming in local parks throughout the city.

New York City Immigrant Family Unity Project
The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (FIYUP) pilot was created by the Council last year at budget adoption for Fiscal Year 2014, and was funded at $500,000. At creation, it was the nation’s first government-funded legal representation program for detained immigrants. This initiative pays for lawyers for indigent people detained facing deportation. The FY 2015 Budget expands access by providing $4.9 million to FIYUP.

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.

Council will also provide $236.7 Million to sponsor new initiatives and services to help New Yorkers in areas including:
• Children’s Services
• Criminal Justice Services
• Cultural Affairs
• Domestic Violence
• Education
• Environmental Initiative
• Food Initiatives
• Government Officials
• Health Services and Prevention
• Homeless Services
• Housing
• Immigrant Services
• Legal Services
• Libraries
• Mental Health Services
• Parks and Recreation
• Public Safety
• Senior Services
• Small Business Services and Workforce Development
• Tax Commissions
• Veterans Services
• Youth and Community Development

“This budget doesn’t just reflect the priorities of 51 members; it reflects the needs of 8.4 million people in all five boroughs,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.”By working together, we created a process in which every member was heard and every member had input. Every community in New York City had a seat at the table, and every community stands to benefit.”

“Today is great day for the City of New York,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “As Finance Chair, I am proud that the fiscal year 2015 budget process has had a level of unprecedented transparency and inclusion within the City Council. The budget we approved today is the product of months of substantive dialogue and thorough debate. Each decision was made with great calculation and reflects our desire to close the growing inequality gap affecting so many residents in our great City. We spent more than 100 hours in budget hearings with our Committees to hear testimony from our City’s agencies to learn how the budget could affect their ability to perform core services for the public. We also heard from New Yorkers, whose needs never escape our minds as we spent days negotiating the best outcomes for our City. I am pleased to see that many of the priorities that my colleagues and I championed throughout this process have made it into our adopted budget, a true indication of the level of inclusion and collaboration amongst our members under the leadership of our Speaker. These victories are shared by everyone, including the City Council, the Mayor, and the public.”

“Today’s budget is not just a funding plan, it is a roadmap to a brighter future – one that is more progressive, equitable and just for all New Yorkers,” said Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “We have baselined and increased funding for libraries, significantly increased funding for cultural access and cultural programming, provided free meals to all middle schoolers, put more police officers on the street and expanded the Summer Youth Employment Program. I commend Speaker Mark-Viverito, Finance Chair Ferreras and all of my colleagues on a budget that offers a big step in the right direction for the people of the City of New York.”

“The formula that was used for the 51 districts to receive funding is one that will work to create a more equitable distribution of funds for services to communities that have historically been underserved,” said Council Member Inez Barron. I am glad to be a part of a body that is focusing on addressing the needs of those who have been traditionally underserved. I am voting for this budget because it restores scholarships for CUNY students, allows NYCHA community centers to remain open and supports a move towards more equity for Theatres of Color. This budget process has been one that has been inclusive of the members and more reflective of their concerns. I look to future budgets that will reduce funding of outsourced contracts and will increase funding for even greater support of youth jobs, scholarships (both academic and needs-based) and workforce development.”

“The collaborative negotiations for Fiscal Year 2015 represented a ‘budget dance’ in the most positive sense of the phrase — two sides moving and working together at every step in order to achieve a fantastic result for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Margaret Chin, chair of the Committee on Aging. “In particular, our progressive and balanced budget brings exciting new life to the Department for the Aging, an agency that was neglected and devastated by year after year of cuts under the previous administration. With $21 million in new funding for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, elder abuse prevention, LGBT senior services and numerous other important programs, I’m proud to say that DFTA can now make greater strides to support and enhance the lives of senior citizens in all five boroughs. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito for their steadfast leadership and their willingness to negotiate in good faith throughout this very successful budget process.”

“This budget is progressive, fiscally responsible and most importantly it helps all New Yorkers. I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito for ensuring an inclusive process that was not only open and transparent but substantive as well. As the Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services, I am especially proud that we were able to secure $33 million to combat violence and mental illness on Rikers Island. I am also pleased that we have secured a $200,000 enhancement for the Children Under Five Initiative and $50,000 for the Young Adult Initiative. Mental health is a serious issue and this funding shows that the City is serious about fighting this epidemic on behalf of these vulnerable populations,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of Council Sub-Committee on Libraries, said, “I commend Speaker Mark-Viverito, Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras, and all my City Council colleagues on the passage of this landmark budget. This budget will greatly benefit all New Yorkers and I am proud of all the new initiatives that have been included. After many years of budget cuts and decreased operations, there is not only baselined funding but also an increase for city libraries – a win for Library staff and programming. I look forward to working my Council colleagues and with our community leaders to implement Library programming and other special projects across the district.”

“After years of counterproductive ‘budget dances’ under the previous administration, our City has produced a budget deal that reflects the priorities of everyday New Yorkers,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. “I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in the Council on an historic budget that secures funding to put 200 more cops on our streets, provides free lunch for all middle schools students, and begins major reforms for the mentally ill at Rikers Island. I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras, and my colleagues in the Council for working together to addresses public safety, employment opportunities, education, health and infrastructure in meaningful and responsible ways.”

“I am proud of what my colleagues and I were able to accomplish over the past several weeks to pass a balanced budget that preserves critical services and programs both in the 35th Council District and for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo. “As Council Members and as a legislative body, we have met with and heard testimony from constituents whose input has weighed heavily throughout our negotiations to ensure that their needs are prioritized. I want to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her leadership throughout the budget process and look forward to working with the de Blasio Administration to serve the people of this great city.”

“The FY15 final budget reflects New York City Council’s commitment to working together in order to protect the vital services our constituents rely on, such as services for seniors and youth, more police on the streets, and additional funding to keep our neighborhoods clean,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “I commend Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Member Ferreras, chair of the Committee on Finance, for their effective leadership, as well as my colleagues for their diligent work.”

“As a member of the Budget Negotiations Team, I am glad that this body was able to agree upon a deal that provides New Yorkers with the services they deserve and need. From providing universal free lunch to our middle schools, to adding extra police officers, to saving our NYCHA centers, to expanding our city’s infrastructure and investing in employment opportunities- each and every part of this budget benefits our residents and builds upon the goals of this administration,” said Council Member Inez E. Dickens.

“Our city’s budget is only as good as the great programs that it contains. I am proud to be voting on a budget that puts 200 police officers back on the streets while increasing civilian staffing levels in police precincts,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “I am also elated that this budget secures $6.25 million in funding for all middle school students to enjoy free school lunches. I commend Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for forging a consensus that balances the pressing needs of a complex metropolis that is New York City”.

“I am so pleased with the budget agreement that the City Council reached with Mayor de Blasio last week,” said Council Member Matthieu Eugene. “The new budget addresses the issues of education, housing, health, job creation, public safety and infrastructure improvement in a thoughtful and effective manner. As the Chair of the Youth Services Committee, I am elated that the budget will strengthen critically-needed programs and services for the city’s young people. There is no better investment than in our youth, and I commend the Mayor and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their inspired leadership and unwavering commitment to our children.”

“The budget allocates critical funds for infrastructure, and improves our ability to protect the city’s most vulnerable tenants,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “With significant deficits on the horizon, however, I expect that we will need to face more difficult choices next year.”

“Utilizing existing resources more effectively, this budget puts 200 more uniformed police officers out on the streets protecting the public safety of all New Yorkers – especially those living in communities that have been plagued by high rates of gun violence and street crime,” Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson (D-Bronx, 16th CD), the chair of the Council Public Safety Committee said. “Making these additional police available to enhance community policing is just part of the broader strategy envisioned in this budget and I am pleased that we are also expanding funding for programs that are so valuable for our youth such as the 22,000 slots for summer out-of-school time programs, jobs for 10,700 youth under our Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), funding 57 community centers and senior centers in NYCHA developments, and pursuing creative strategies to reduce homelessness. 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.”

“Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, we have passed a fair and balanced budget. This year’s budget process was a refreshing change from previous years when council members have had to battle to save indispensable services for children, seniors, and low-income families. I am most gratified that this year’s budget includes a significant restoration for Priority 5 vouchers, a child care and after school program that has been critical for thousands of low income families,” said Councilman David G. Greenfield.

“The Fiscal Year 2015 budget is a victory for New Yorkers, and sets the City on sound footing towards reducing income inequality,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “It is balanced and fair, and targeted towards helping those in need, like capping rents at 30% of a person’s income for people living with HIV/AIDS and providing free lunches for all middle school students. As Health Committee Chair, important programs the Council used to fight to keep funded were baselined in the budget, which gave us the opportunity to give additional funding to programs that reduce infant mortality and to HIV-affected communities of color and create a program to provide direct services and a provider network for HBV/HCV organizations. It was a collaborative and substantive process, of which I was proud to be a part.”

“This budget is one New Yorkers can be confident in. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark Viverito and Council Member Ferreras for a transparent budget process that gave each City Council Member a voice. As the chair of the Governmental Operations Committee, I am pleased to see government efficiency and transparency prioritized,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “The final budget will help New Yorkers by investing in infrastructure, including $35 million in much-needed funds to the East River Esplanade, and has empowered residents through participatory budgeting to support transportation improvements, NYCHA housing, senior centers and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.”

“This budget is proof that the Council and the de Blasio Administration are committed to standing up and fighting for everyday New Yorkers,” said Council Member Peter Koo. “This budget will positively affect the lives of just about everyone who lives and works in New York City in a variety of ways; it will allow students to eat free school lunches, will ensure that there are additional police officers on the city’s streets, will increase funding to support senior centers, will allow for us to upgrade our aging infrastructure, and will provide even more help in many other aspects throughout the city. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to get city funds to where they are needed most, and to pass this $75 billion budget under the leadership of Speaker Mark-Viverito.”

“The passing of FY15 Budget is one New Yorkers can be proud of and call their own. As we in the City Council came together under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the direction of Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras, our priorities took care of everyone from seniors, youth, housing, schools, to small businesses to help improve the economic conditions for the haves and have nots. This budget took care of everyone. I’m thankful to my colleagues in the City Council and the Mayor that we were responsible in putting in place and passing the FY15 budget early,” said Council Member Andy King, Co-Chair of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus.

“It was a fair and open budget process, and I think we did well for the people of the city of new York, which has always been our top priority. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito should be commended for the fine job she did on our first budget,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz.

“This budget moves the City forward in important ways, by adding more cops on the beat, providing middle schoolers with free lunch and ensuring summer opportunities for our kids,” said Council Member Rory Lancman. “The Council and the Mayor are honoring our commitment to a safer and fairer New York for all.”

“Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras deserve huge credit for leading a budget process of unprecedented transparency and inclusion,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “From many, many hours of hearings, briefings, and meetings to equitable member item distribution, this was a budget process that enabled every single member to share their insight and advocacy to the benefit of all our constituents. I am proud to have been a part of it. The result is a budget that creates opportunity, invests in infrastructure and strengthens neighborhoods for all new Yorkers.”

“This budget invests in our priorities and in the future of New Yorkers from every borough,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “It mirrors our progressive values and includes important funding items that New Yorkers depend on, including free lunch for middle school students, the restoration of low-income child care vouchers, and much more. I want to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito, Mayor de Blasio, and all of my colleagues on the City Council for working collaboratively and putting forward a progressive budget.”

“I’m very thankful that the budget process worked so smoothly, and that we have a progressive and inclusive budget that will take care of the city for the next year,” said Council Member Alan Maisel.

“This budget reflects the needs and values of all New Yorkers, including our immigrant communities, LGBT seniors, young people of color, and residents of underserved neighborhoods,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “The Council’s expansion of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project is truly historic. With $4.9 million dollars of funding, New York City will become the first jurisdiction in the country with a functioning public defender system for detained immigrants facing deportation. The budget also provides enhancements for adult literacy, which will unlock educational and economic opportunities for immigrant New Yorkers. Moreover, there is funding in place for important economic development programs like worker cooperatives and our Industrial Business Solution Providers, which promote economic empowerment across our City. I congratulate the multiple coalitions who have so inspiringly fought for the inclusion of these, and other, initiatives in this budget, and I commend the Speaker for her leadership in this collaborative process.”

“This is a thoughtful, progressive, and inclusive budget which will serve the needs of our entire City,” said Council Member Daneek Miller. “I am grateful for the level of transparency that has marked this process and thank both Speaker Mark-Viverito and Finance Chair Ferreras for their leadership throughout it. The Council and the Mayor have together delivered an intelligent budget through fiscal responsibility that is consistent with the peoples’ vision for this City.”

“I am proud to have been a part of a budget process that was inclusive of all 51 Council Members and which responds to the various needs felt by all New Yorkers. As a Council, we will continue to protect those entities that tirelessly make our communities stronger” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, 34th District Bushwick and Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Ridgewood in Queens.

“Last week, New York City took a giant progressive step forward,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Our 2015 budget demonstrates a much more inclusive way of thinking, where everyone in our city gets a fair shot. It increases funding for our schools, NYCHA safety initiatives and social services while also putting 200 more police officers on the street. Every public middle school student will now be provided free lunch, regardless of family income. Not only have we managed to finish early while accomplishing all of this, we have done so without any city worker layoffs or tax hikes. This budget agreement really shows how we are all essentially on the same page as we work towards the betterment of our city. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and all of my colleagues in City Council for their hard work on this progressive accomplishment.”

“I’m so proud to serve on the Budget Negotiating Team to play a role in bringing this $75 billion budget to fruition,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side. “The City Council priorities support tenants trying to fend off predatory landlords’ illegal evictions; provide homecare workers to halve the waitlist of seniors who could be cared for in their own homes in lieu of institutions; and support worker cooperatives to increase access to the job force for low wage workers. The budget also funds food for the growing lines of people at our food pantries as well as cleaner streets.”

“The budget we are passing today reinvests public dollars in programs and services essential to the well-being and resiliency of all New Yorkers. This budget further demonstrates our strong commitment to the safety of public housing residents by allocating $17 million dollars to keep NYCHA community and senior centers running, and $19 million toward enhanced security measures. I am proud to have worked in partnership with the Mayor, Speaker Mark-Viverito, and my colleagues in the City Council to champion such a forward-thinking budget.” Said Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Committee on Public Housing.

“Thanks to years of sound fiscal policy and smart decision making, the Council is adopting yet another on-time, balanced budget that expands vital city services, without raising taxes. I applaud Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras and all my colleagues for their hard work and commitment to improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Eric Ulrich.

“I am proud to have been a member of the negotiating team for this year’s budget process, which was as collaborative and inclusive as it has ever been. It was a pleasure to work with my colleagues in the City Council and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to reach a deal that will serve countless New Yorkers, whether it’s by saving the CUNY Prep program or closing the digital divide,” said Council Member James Vacca.

“I am pleased that my colleagues and I have passed a budget that is not only fair, but also does not increase taxes for the residents of New York City,” said Council Member Mark Weprin