Council Passes FY 2017 Budget, Investing in New York City Youth, Supporting Immigrant Communities, and Building City Reserves

NEW YORK – Today, the City Council authorized New York City’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget. Budget highlights include investment in city youth, support for immigrant communities, and strengthening city reserves.

“With this budget agreement, this City Council has proven once again to be a champion for all New Yorkers in all five boroughs. Whether you are young person who will gain their first paid work experience through the expanded $42 million dollar Summer and Year Round Youth Employment Programs an undocumented New Yorker who will have access to free, comprehensive legal assistance and adult literacy services, or a struggling parent who will have an easier time putting food on the table with help from the Emergency Food Assistance Program, this is a budget for everyone. I thank the Mayor de Blasio, Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, my Council colleagues, and all the New Yorkers who made this equitable, responsible budget possible,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“The budget we are agreeing upon today is the result of an extensive process. We have examined all aspects of the City’s spending, listened to residents from around the city, and considered the priorities of the Administration and this Council. A budget is a moral document, and today I can say this budget reflects the values of this Council of addressing inequality through responsible budgeting,” said Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

Ensuring Opportunities for Youth

“The Summer Youth Employment Program gives teenagers and young adults in our city a chance to enter the workforce and start their careers. Young people in our communities desperately want to do something positive with their time and so it’s crucial to work together to ensure that every young person who wants to work is able to find a job. I’m proud to join together with my colleagues to advocate for the Summer Youth Employment Program. Youth programs must continue to be a priority in our city’s budget and I commend Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her hard work to secure a budget that will help young people in neighborhoods throughout New York City,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Chair of the Committee on Youth Services.

With nearly two million City residents under the age of 18, the City will provide opportunities for all of its youth by creating new programs and services, expanding existing ones, and at the same time making certain that the City is maintaining equitable access to such programs. The FY 17 budget will invest $100 million in programs that would offer valuable services to meet the needs of, and increase opportunities for, our youth population.

  • $38.5 million in baselined funding for Summer Youth Employment Program for a total of 60,000 summer youth jobs. One thousand of these jobs will be targeted for vulnerable and at-risk youth.
  • $16 million for 6,000 year-round jobs
  • The City Council and the Administration will create a joint taskforce on the Summer Youth Employment Program and year-round jobs to assess current needs and program effectiveness
  • $16 million to expand Comprehensive After School programming create 3,223 additional slots for elementary school children – this investment will bring the total expansion to 6,600 additional slots in 157 programs
  • $17.5 million to fund 26,000 after-school slots for middle-school youth in School’s Out NYC
  • $5 million to fund programming recommended by the Young Women’s Initiative
  • $8 million for the New York City Crisis Management System

Supporting Our City’s Immigrants

The FY 17 budget invests in programs that would offer valuable services to meet the needs of immigrants with limited English proficiency, complex legal matters, and those with inadequate access to health services – including major investment in adult education programs; providing support for complex legal services; improving access to comprehensive health services for immigrants.

  • $12 million ($6 million from the City and $6 million from the Council) to expand adult literacy services
  • $2.7 million to expand immigration legal services to serve an additional 1000 complex cases, increasing the program’s capacity to 5,000 total cases
  • $1 million to support and expand services for unaccompanied minor children in New York City

“We’ve fought hard to get our message heard: every New Yorker, regardless of immigration status, who wants to gain English literacy skills should have access to a class in their own neighborhood. Today, we thank the Mayor and his Administration for showing their commitment to adult education. But the struggle – ‘la lucha’ – is not over. Today’s victory is a down payment in the long journey toward universal access to education for all our families,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration.

Expanding and Enhancing Vital City Services

New York City grows and as we address the problems of inequality, the need for services increases. Accordingly, the FY17 budget expands and enhances key criminal justice, community support, and human services and libraries.

  • $22 million in baselined funding for District Attorneys, including the creation of an alternatives to Incarceration Unit and resources to reduce gun-related and other violent crimes
  • $1.8 million in baselined funding for the Department of the Aging to address its current waitlist of approximately 1,400 cases
  • An additional $4.9 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which will funding for the purchase of food by over 40 percent to support the increased demand at 450 food pantries and community kitchens for a total of $16 million
  • $43 million in baselined funding for improved library services
  • $10 million for cultural organizations
  • $2.5 million for Vision Zero education and outreach
  • $1 million for tree stump removal
  • $1.7 million to extend pool and beach season
  • $13.5 for Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) Emergency Department Renovation

“I’m thrilled that this budget restores and baselines $23 million for our City’s public libraries, making six day service permanent citywide. This is the first time we’ve had baselined six day service for libraries in over a decade. Gone is the budget dance that clouded our libraries’ futures each year. In addition, we will invest a record amount in much-needed capital upgrades for libraries so patrons can learn and read in modern, up to date facilities. In addition, I’m very happy to have helped fight for the first increase in operating funds to the Department of Cultural Affairs in over a decade. The $10 million added to the Department of Cultural Affairs budget will support numerous cultural organizations citywide. On top of the $10 million announced today, the City Council’s cultural initiatives are on target for record increases. With millions more allocated for capital projects at cultural institutions, this is a banner year for culture, arts, and libraries in New York City! I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and all my Council colleagues for fighting for this investment and continuing to stand for libraries, art, and culture,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Majority Leader and Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations.

“Our library systems are a mainstay of New York City education and research; they preserve our vast history and diverse cultures; and, they empower us all with the knowledge we need to improve ourselves and our society. That is why I am very pleased that Mayor de Blasio has acknowledged that all of our library systems provide an invaluable array of services – from GED studies, to employment services, to housing for homeless — that have help improve and save the lives of countless New Yorkers. I commend Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito for not only including, but allocating a historic capital budget for library services which will ensure the continued existence of the six-day service program and, most importantly, provide hundreds of jobs for the dedicated librarians and other library staff that work very hard to keep our libraries functioning at a high level. As the Chair of the Subcommittee on Libraries, I am elated with what we’ve accomplished for all of the New York City library systems,” said Council Member Andy King, Chair of the Subcommittee on Libraries.

“This funding is a step in the right direction towards permanently ending waitlists for case management services. I thank Mayor de Blasio for acknowledging that no senior should ever languish on a waitlist for vital city services, and for partnering with the City Council to provide consistent and stable funding so that elderly New Yorkers can age with dignity. I would also like to thank the Speaker and Chair Ferreras-Copeland for increasing funding for several important Council initiatives to encourage healthy aging, support cultural activities for seniors, and provide much needed services for elderly immigrant New Yorkers. While I am encouraged by these funding commitments, we still have a way to go to restore aging funding to pre-recessionary levels in order to address the needs of the growing number of seniors in our City,” said Council Member Margaret Chin, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging.

“From the beginning, our message was simple: ‘No New Yorker should have to go to bed hungry.’ The increase in EFAP funding to $15.9 million will empower food pantries and soup kitchens to provide assistance to the hungry, and not turn away our most vulnerable residents. Forty-Eight Council Members united behind a commitment to provide critical emergency food assistance, and I thank the administration for hearing us and fulfilling a promise to feed our City’s most needy,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chair, Committee on General Welfare.

“Adequate funding for the City’s prosecutors is essential to keeping dangerous criminals off of our streets, ensuring our laws are enforced efficiently and fairly, and restoring the public’s faith in the justice system. As Public Safety Chair, I am incredibly pleased that the work we did to advocate on behalf of the distict attorneys was heard by the Administration. By fully meeting the DAs cumulative $22 million request New Yorkers can expect safer streets and swifter justice. Because of this investment, Bronx residents will now have a DA who has the resources to run an efficient, vertically integrated office and can create needed specialized units that will address domestic violence and violence on Rikers Island. Staten Islanders will benefit from a DA committed to creating a Community Partnership Unit and who can now efficiently run his office with an updated case management system. Our Manhattan DA will be able to create a dedicated Alternatives to Incarceration unit, enhancing successful diversion programs. I am thankful for the support of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, and my Council colleagues in securing funding that protects the public safety of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Chair, Committee on Public Safety.

“Through productive partnership, the Council and the Administration are stepping up in a big way by ensuring the Vision Zero public awareness campaign remains intact for the coming fiscal year,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation. “Since we began this initiative, drivers have become acutely aware of how important it is to drive safely on city streets. By picking up the funding this year, we’ll be able to further the necessary culture change around driving in NYC, stressing calm, collected driving over the rush that too many have become accustomed to behind the wheel. I want to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Mayor de Blasio and my colleagues for their support and understanding the imperatives of safe streets in New York City.”

“New York City’s beaches and outdoor pools have always served as powerfully democratizing institutions. For millions of New Yorkers who can’t afford to vacation in the Hamptons or take a cruise in the Caribbean, these resources offer exceptional summer recreation opportunities right here in the five boroughs–accessible for the price of a MetroCard, free to enter and open to all. I am thrilled that this budget includes a $1.7 million, allowing all New Yorkers to enjoy our City’s beaches and pool s for an additional week past Labor Day” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation.

Safeguarding the City’s Programs and Services through Budget Stability

The City’s tax revenues vary with the ups and downs of the City’s economy, especially with the ups and downs of Wall Street. However, the needs of City residents for public safety, education, housing and social services don’t decrease just because tax revenues are down. To manage this mismatch between revenues and needs, it is necessary to prepare when revenues are strong for the time when revenues are weak.

  • With the addition of $250 million to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust, total reserves equal around $8.76 billion, or around 10.25 percent of the adjusted Fiscal 2017 expense budget.