Balanced, Responsible Budget Will Support Worker Cooperatives, Strengthen the City’s Commitment to Veterans, Combat Human Trafficking, Extend Library Hours, Expand High School Athletic Programs and Provide Free Breakfast and Lunch to Thousands of City Students
City Hall – City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Council Members and Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a balanced, early and fiscally responsible Budget Agreement for Fiscal Year 2016 that will make New York a more fair and just City and will uplift New Yorkers in every neighborhood across the five boroughs.
Balancing the City’s finances with smart investments that will prioritize public safety, protect vulnerable New Yorkers and bolster job creation, the FY 2016 budget includes funding to hire 1,297 more NYPD officers to the beat and provide free breakfast and lunch to tens of thousands of students. Additionally, the FY 2016 Budget Agreements expands access to critical City services for veterans, seniors, immigrants and youth, and establishes a Citywide bail fund to save New York City millions of dollars in incarceration costs.
The FY 2016 Budget Agreement is the culmination of a comprehensive review conducted by the City Council, including dozens of hearings and hundreds of hours of public testimony, to assess the needs of all New Yorkers and City agencies.
“This early, fiscally responsible budget will uplift New Yorkers in every neighborhood across the five boroughs,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “From establishing a Citywide bail fund, to creating new jobs for young adults, to strengthening the City’s commitment to veterans and hiring 1,297 more NYPD officers to keep us safe, our budget makes New York City a better place to call home. I thank Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and all the New York City Council Members for their staunch advocacy throughout this process and Mayor Bill de Blasio for working with us to put forth a budget that moves this city forward.”
“This Council has remained committed to a more progressive budget process that stresses inclusion and transparency,” said Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. “Under Speaker Mark-Viverito’s leadership, every individual council member has provided considerable insight and, as equal partners with the Mayor’s Office, we have kept laser focus on responsible spending that addresses the needs of all New Yorkers. Many of the priorities we, as a body, have championed will be included in the adopted budget and these victories are shared by everyone, including the City Council, the Mayor and every New Yorker.”
“This budget is a reflection of the responsible, progressive, and honest process we’ve built over the last year and a half. Our productive dynamic with the Council allows us to move forward programs that tackle income inequality, keep families safe, and lift up New Yorkers across the five boroughs, all while protecting our City’s fiscal health,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re strengthening the NYPD’s ranks, devoting new officers to counter-terror work and neighborhood policing, while securing vital fiscal reforms in overtime and civilianization. We are also making critical investments in our renewal schools, libraries, and so much more. Thank you to Speaker Mark-Viverito, Chair Ferreras, and all of their colleagues in the Council for their partnership as we reached this agreement.”
The $79 billion Budget Agreement reached by the City Council and the Mayor includes $280 million in Council initiatives that will support New Yorkers throughout the City.
Specifically, the FY 2016 Budget Agreement will:f
Expand NYPD and Hire 1,297 NYPD Officers to the Beat
The City Council has led the charge to increase NYPD headcount to strengthen community policing and to keep New Yorkers safe. By limiting overtime spending and civilianizing an additional 415 jobs, the City Council secured $170 million to hire 1,297 additional officers and return 415 more officers to the beat.
“This budget represents months of hard work by the Mayor, Council, and Speaker. By funding critical projects that serve the best interests of all New Yorkers, we have crafted a comprehensive plan based on many of our priorities including senior services, public housing, youth services, and youth employment,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. “This year we have prioritized our community’s safety, successfully secured funding for 80 more school crossing guards , designated money to civilianize our able bodied officers currently doing administrative work, and significantly increased our uniformed head count. This is a tremendous win for the quality of our policing and the safety of our streets. As this process comes to a close, I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, and Council’s finance staff for guiding us through another successful budget season.”
Increase Funding for the City Council Unaccompanied Minors Initiative
Last year, the City Council launched a landmark program to provide every unaccompanied minor in New York City with a lawyer. The FY 2016 Budget agreement includes an additional $500,000 to expand the Council’s Unaccompanied Minor Initiative to provide immigrant adults with children in the surge docket with legal services, health care, education and social services.
“I believe it is the responsibility of Government to provide all New Yorkers with access to affordable, quality and culturally competent healthcare, and this includes immigrants,” said Corey Johnson, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Health. “It is our duty to ensure that every one of us has access to this basic human right. We know that we must reach those New Yorkers who need us the most, and I am proud that this budget includes funding for this purpose. This initiative is another testament to the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito.”
“This budget sends an important message to our immigrant community: we have your back,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. Our commitment to immigrants and their families is unwavering. We are focused on empowering the whole person, and therefore, we are paying attention to the universe of issues facing our immigrants. Our commitment to wraparound services for undocumented minors memorializes that we are clear in our path to further normalize the lives of all New Yorkers, and to make sure that every person is able to live without fear, and in the light.”
Establish a Citywide Bail Fund and Make New York City More Just For All New Yorkers
The City Council is committed to making New York City more fair for all New Yorkers. The City Council will provide $1.4 million to establish a Citywide Bail Fund to keep those accused of non-violent, low-level offenses out of jail. The Council’s Bail Fund will provide bail of up to $2,000 and will save the City millions of dollars in incarceration costs and will help make the City’s criminal justice system more just.
“The NYC bail fund will keep New Yorkers out of Rikers who shouldn’t be there, and will save millions of taxpayer dollars at the same time. The fund, championed by Speaker Mark-Viverito, will bring New York back to the forefront of bail reform where our city belongs,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman, Chair of the Courts & Legal Services Committee.
Additionally, the City Council will increase accountability and oversight at Rikers Island by expanding the Prisoner Rights Law Project and providing an additional $780,000 in funding to the Board of Correction.
“This funding is a great first step in improving our jail system across the board,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. “A significant expansion to the Board of Correction as well as more Legal Aid attorneys to address prisoners’ rights will help stem the culture of violence on Rikers Island. It will allow for more independent monitors to be available around the clock, to ensure inmates know their rights and that they have a trusted advocate in their corner.”
Support New York City’s Veterans
The City Council honors and respects New York City’s veterans. Working with the Administration, the Council will provide nearly $2.8 million to support New York City’s veterans.
In addition to doubling funding for the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs and increasing support for homeless veterans, the Council will also provide funds to assist with job placement, legal and mental health services and to enhance the Council’s Veterans Initiative.
Create Year Round Jobs for Youth and Expand the Summer Youth Employment Program
The City Council is committed to creating and expanding job opportunities for high school students. The Council will provide $12 million to establish a new year round jobs program for 6,000 young adults and $21 million to provide approximately 50,000 students with Summer Youth Employment jobs.
Additionally, the Council will add 950 summer youth jobs through the anti-gun violence initiative.
“As an alumna of the Summer Youth Employment Program, I experienced first-hand what a meaningful job can do for a young person, especially a young person of color,” said Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland “For this reason, I proposed and vigorously defended the need to expand Summer Youth Employment and create a year-round employment program. New York City is making a sizeable investment in jobs for youth because their future and this city’s depends on it and, I am proud of my colleagues at the City Council for working with me to make this a reality.”
“The Summer Youth Employment Program is the first step for many into the professional arena as well as the first source of income over the summer months to cover additional academic expenses,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. I thank Mayor De Blasio Speaker Mark Viverito and SYEP champions Councilman Mathieu Eugene and Finance Chairwoman Julissa Ferreras. I look forward to expanding this program to bring together public and private investment to permanently enhance this crucial program.”
Expand Senior Services and Support Holocaust Survivors Living In Poverty
The FY 2016 budget includes a total of $25,185,585 dollars to expand services to New York City’s aging community. This funding includes $1.27 million to create new City Council initiatives that will support healthy aging, $3.8 million for all types of naturally occurring retirement communities and $1.5 million to assist Holocaust Survivors Living in Poverty.
“I thank the Mayor and Speaker for making a serious investment in our seniors,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “Today, we’ve made a commitment as a society to provide services for the 500 low-income, homebound seniors who have been waiting for homecare, and we’ve taken real steps to expand elder abuse prevention and intervention programs in our city. And our Mayor has advanced his affordable housing agenda to include safe, affordable homes with social services for seniors.”
“On the same year that we recognized the 70th year since the liberation of Auschwitz, I am proud to agree on a budget that addresses the need to support 30,000 Holocaust survivors living in poverty in the City of New York. As a son of Dominican Immigrants, the story of how the Dominican government opened up its borders to those fleeing persecution during the Holocaust and provided them with relief, inspired me as an elected official to lead the initiative in New York City to ensure survivors are given access to high quality food, social services, and healthcare. I, along with the speaker and my colleagues, feel strongly that these residents have endured enough pain and suffering in their lifetime and we must commit to provide resources and programs that will ensure their remaining days will be lived in dignity. I consider this a first step towards ensuring survivors of genocide living in New York City are able to access the critical services they deserve, ” said Council Member Rafael Espinal.
Combat Human Trafficking
The City Council will provide $750,000 to provide services to survivors of human trafficking in specialty courts.
Eliminate Disparities in Health Care for Immigrant New Yorkers
The City Council will provide $1.5 million in funds to launch the Immigrant Health Initiative, designed to eliminate disparities and increase health care services for immigrant New Yorkers.
“It is an unfortunate reality that immigrant New Yorkers are among the least served by our healthcare system,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “As Chair of the Committee on Immigration, I fight hard to address this glaring injustice, and am proud to have advocated with my colleagues and our Speaker for funding to support greater access for immigrant New Yorkers. The Immigrant Health Initiative is going to help put us on the right track to providing life-saving services to some of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors. The truth is that one’s immigration status cannot inform their ability to be healthy–not in our City.”
Provide Free Breakfast and Lunch to Tens of Thousands of Students
FY 2016 will include a joint investment from the City Council and the Administration to provide all stand-alone middle schools with free lunch and to provide breakfast in the classroom to thousands of students at 530 elementary schools across the City.
Expand High School Athletics
The City Council and Administration will invest $2,400,000 to expand physical education programs and support athletic leagues in small schools. This investment will ensure schools that serve a more diverse student population can participate in sports programs and brings schools into compliance with physical education requirements.
Implement Universal 6 Day Library Service
New York City’s libraries are community hubs that serve all New Yorkers. The Council and the Administration will provide $39 million in FY 2016 to increase access to libraries and implement 6 day library service in every library across the City.
“Today’s budget agreement represents a major victory for our public libraries and the people of our great City who rely on them every day,” said Majority Leader and Chair of the Committee on Libraries and Cultural Affairs Jimmy Van Bramer. “By investing nearly $40 million to implement six day service in every community library, we offer hope and opportunity while striking a blow against inequality. Libraries are a lifeline to so many but they must be open to perform their life enhancing work. I thank the Mayor, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Finance Chair Ferreras-Copeland and all of my colleagues for making libraries a priority again in this City.”
Extend Beach Season and Support the Parks Equity Initiative
The City Council will provide $1.65 million to support the Parks Equity Initiative to bring greater equity to City parks.
“I am thrilled that the City Council has restored funding for gardeners and maintenance workers–saving 150 vitally needed jobs, and protecting a critical resource for parks in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. I am also excited that we will be extending the beach season, allowing countless New Yorkers to enjoy these resources for a week past Labor Day,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “I am disappointed the budget does not provide additional funds for community gardens, playground staff, mid-sized parks, and other important needs our park system faces. I look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor and my colleagues in the Council to bring greater resources to a park system that has been underfunded for far too long.”
Provide Funding for Legal Services for New Yorkers Facing Eviction
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.
“The New York City Council is stepping up to the plate and providing the funding needed to enact the plan to end AIDS in New York,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health and New York State’s only openly HIV positive elected official. “Our budget is more than just numbers. It is a reflection of our values. Given recent advances in the fight against HIV/AIDS, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, government is committing the resources needed to get us there. I want to thank Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito for her leadership on this issue, one of the defining struggles of our time.”
Increase Funding to Support the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative
The Council will invest an additional $2.1 million to expand the Council’s successful Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative and create 22 new worker cooperatives.
Hire Additional School Crossing Guards
The City Council and the Administration will hire an additional 80 school crossing guards to keep New York City’s streets safe for students.
“By increasing the school crossing guard headcount in this budget, we can fmove toward NYC’s Vision Zero goals to eliminate preventable deaths from traffic crashes, ensure a safe Pre-K expansion, and do more to keep all our kids safe,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “Our goal is to make sure that every dangerous intersection that needs a school crossing guard, gets a school crossing guard, and I’m very proud of the efforts of our Speaker and my colleagues to work with the Mayor to take this important step today.”
Increase Special Education Assessment Teams
At the Council’s urging, the Administration will increase resources for Special Education Assessment Teams. FY 2016 includes $7.5 million to expand K-12 by 30 teams and $5 million to add an additional 6 UPK Special Education Assessment Teams.