The New York City Council Votes to Adopt the FY 2020 Budget

The $92.8 billion budget aims to improve quality of life for all New Yorkers, protect those in need and safeguard our City’s future wellbeing

City Hall, NY – Speaker Corey Johnson, Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm, Capital Budget Subcommittee Chair Vanessa L. Gibson and members of the New York City Council voted on Wednesday to adopt the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget, the second under Speaker Johnson’s leadership, is the result of a committed and unified Council advocating for the needs of their constituents, as well as the City as a whole. The Council’s overarching goal throughout was to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers, protect those in need, and safeguard our City’s future wellbeing.

Because of the Council’s advocacy, this budget includes:

  • $250 million in budget reserves
  • $40 million for U.S. Census outreach
  • $33 million for libraries
  • $43 million for Parks
  • 285 school social workers, a total increase of 200 compared to last Fiscal Year
  • Double the amount of funding for litter basket pickup

“A budget is always an expression of priorities, and today we are showing New Yorkers that they are our top priority. This budget is for everyone, with historic investments in the parks, libraries and schools we all depend on. It is also a fiscally responsible investment in our future which includes $250 million in budget reserves. As a Council we were united in our advocacy for our constituents and our City, and I am proud and grateful at the end result.  I thank Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm, Capital Subcommittee Chair Vanessa Gibson, Finance Division Director Latonia McKinney and the entire Council staff for all of their hard work,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

“The FY 2020 budget is a progressive and responsible budget that will move our city forward. It is the culmination of many months of hard work and a statement of our priorities. From increases in funding for our parks and LGBTQ community services to an allocation for additional school social workers, this is a budget that will uplift all New Yorkers. By adding $250 million to city reserves, the FY 2020 budget helps fortify our city against any future economic downturn that might occur. I want to acknowledge Speaker Johnson for his incredible leadership in successfully shepherding us through this budget season. It has also been a pleasure to work alongside Mayor de Blasio, Capital Subcommittee Chair Vanessa Gibson, Council Finance Director Latonia McKinney and the entire Council Finance team on this important effort. We have managed to advance our priorities while looking after the long-term fiscal health of the city. For that, we should all be proud,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Finance.

“Today, my colleagues and I passed a budget all New Yorkers can be proud of. Under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson and Finance Chair Daniel Dromm we’ve put ourselves on a path towards pay parity for early childcare workers, public defenders and the district attorneys, which is critical for recruiting and retaining qualified and talented individuals. In our schools, we’ve added $30M for additional Social Workers and another $857K to add Title IX Coordinators, as well as invested $12.8M to support the Fair Futures campaign for our foster youth, the first program of its kind in the nation. For the first time, there are significant baselined investments in critical citywide services including libraries at $19M, COMPASS at $14.2M, and $10M for senior congregate and home delivered meals. Additionally, we’ve invested $26.7M in Cultural funding and $43M in Parks! Successes such as these can only be possible through a persevering partnership between advocates and the New York City Council. I thank the Finance Division for their commitment to achieve these results for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Chair of the Subcommittee on Capital Budget.

More highlights of the FY2020 budget include:

Investing in Our Schools

  • Social workers. The Adopted Budget will increase the number of social workers from last year by 200.  $30 million in related funding is newly baselined at Adoption. The 200 social workers include 115 from Bridging the Gap, and 85 specialists working within Thrive who are focused on the mental health needs of students, paid for by $10.9 million in savings taken from Thrive.
  • Promote Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives. The Administration has agreed to provide $2.2 million to support diversity and inclusion initiatives at DOE.
  • COMPASS. An additional 4,000 slots will be created with $14.8 million in baselined funding, bringing the total number of slots to 51,000.
  • Title IX coordinators. Seven new Title IX coordinators will be hired due to $803,500 in baselined funding.
  • Teacher’s Choice. This long-time Council initiative will finally be baselined at $20 million.
  • LGBTQ Curriculum. The Adopted Budget will include $1 million for this inclusive curriculum, including a family engagement component.

Protecting New Yorkers in Need

  • Foster care initiatives. The Adopted Budget will provide $12.8 million to fund Fair Futures, a first-in-the-nation, long-term, comprehensive support system for foster youth, from middle school through age 26, and recommendations from the Foster Care Taskforce.
  • Senior meals. The Department for the Aging’s budget will include $10 million, growing to $15 million next year, baselined to improve senior center meals and support wage increases for kitchen staff. The Council also added $500,000 for emergency, take-home meals for seniors.
  • Transgender healthcare. At Health + Hospitals, $390,000 will be baselined for transgender healthcare training.

Effective Budgeting for Better Governance

  • Parks. The Adopted Budget will include a historic $43 million in the City’s parks. Funding will support 50 new Urban Park Rangers, 80 Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, 150 maintenance workers and gardeners, forestry management, and the Green Thumb program.
  • Transportation. Capital funding of $57 million to fund an increase in the number of accessible pedestrian signals to assist visually impaired walkers, and $262.8 million that will allow for the resurfacing of 1,100 lane miles.
  • Libraries. The three library systems will receive $33 million in additional funding, including the restoration of the libraries’ PEG, $19 million of which will be baselined.
  • Cultural organizations. These vital City resources will see an increase of $26.7 million and the Weeksville Heritage Center will be put on a path to be designated as a Cultural Institutions Group.
  • Litter basket pickups. The Adopted Budget will fund additional trash pickup of corner litter baskets with an $8.6 million investment.
  • Property Tax Assessors. The Department of Finance will have an additional $250,000 baselined to hire an additional four tax assessors.

Safeguarding Our Future

  • $250 million in budget reserves, with $150 million going in the general reserves and $100 million in the Retiree Health Benefits Trust.
  • $40 million for U.S. Census outreach, including $14 million in Council initiative funding, will be included in the Adopted Budget for outreach, advertising, and community engagement.

Ensuring Fairness in the Justice System

  • Transitional housing. Male defendants with mental illness will benefit from a $5 million investment to create 100 new beds.
  • Supervised release. This program will be expanded with the inclusion of $7 million.
  • Civilian Complaint Review Board. The board will be able to hire additional headcount with an additional $1.5 million for new investigators.
  • Post-arrest diversion. Pre-arraignment programs will be expanded with $3.9 million to provide restorative services to individuals charged with low-level, non-violent crimes.

Maintaining Current Programs

  • One-time funding from Fiscal 2019. All of the nearly $158 million in one-time funding will be restored for Fiscal 2020, including $19.7 million for Work, Learn, Grow, $15 million for Summer SONYC, $1.7 million for the beach and pool season extension, $2.8 million for senior centers, $1 million for tree stump removal, and $640,000 for poll site translators.
  • PEG Restorations. While many of the PEG savings represented efficiencies, many were unacceptable cuts to core services. The Council fought to restore $6 million for Breakfast in the Classroom, $1.9 million for lot cleaning staff, and $432,000 for NYC & Co.

Supporting Wage Equity and Human Service Providers

  • Pay parity across the early childhood education system. Because of the Council’s advocacy, the Administration is in negotiations with providers to ensure pay parity across the system for all early childhood education employees, both teachers and non-teachers, with funding to support that agreement to be added to the budget after adoption.
  • Pay parity for public defense and civil legal service providers. The Administration has committed to providing initial funding in Fiscal 2020 that addresses the immediate recruitment and retention challenges and attempts to slow down the high rate of attrition and inability to recruit experienced staff. At the same time, they will work to build a four-year, full implementation plan to reach pay parity with the Law Department by March 2020 for inclusion in the Fiscal 2021 Executive Budget.
  • Support for human service providers. The Administration will fund individual community-based organizations’ requests for documented, indirect costs above the current ten percent ceiling with actions to be reflected in the November Plan.

Council Initiatives

  • The New York Immigrant Family Unit Project. The Council will provide $16.6 million to this initiative for legal representation for immigrants detained and facing deportation who cannot afford an attorney.
  • Criminal Justice Initiatives. Collectively, the Council will allocate $27.2 million to criminal justice services such as alternatives to incarceration, post-arrest diversion programs, and supports for people involved in the sex trade.
  • Public Health Funding Backfill. This initiative will backfill $6 million in public health funding cuts in six core services areas: community health assessment, family health, communicable disease control, chronic disease prevention, environmental health, and emergency preparedness and response.
  • LGBT Community Services. A total of $3.7 million will be allocated to support coordinated delivery of health and human services for the LGBT population and their families.
  • Alternatives to Incarceration. This initiative will allocate $13.5 million to support programs that provide individuals involved in the criminal justice system with intermediate sanctions, such as community service and substance abuse counseling, as an alternative to pre-trial detention, a jail sentence, or prison.
  • Access to Healthy Food and Nutritional Education. The Council will provide $2.3 million to support the expansion of access to healthy food and improve understanding of nutrition and wholesome food choices. A portion of this funding will create a pilot program at the City University of New York to increase food access for food insecure college students.
  • Foreclosure Prevention Programs. This initiative will receive $3.3 million for programs such as the purchase of distressed mortgage notes, foreclosure prevention counseling and referral services, legal assistance, outreach, education, and advocacy around sub-prime lending and mortgage foreclosures.
  • Day Laborer Workforce Initiative. This nearly $3 million investment will support the expansion and development of day laborer centers.

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