Photo Courtesy of Michael Appleton/ Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the FY 2018 Preliminary Budget is balanced, totaling $84.67 billion. City Councilman Eric Ulrich said it fails to tackle any of “the real problems facing our city.
By Michael V. Cusenza
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has not officially entered the mayoral race. However, some would say that starring in a potential television series documenting his personal and political lives, hosting three fundraisers for the exploratory committee “Ulrich 2017,” all while keeping the current mayor in his crosshairs with consistent, pointed public critiques of Mr. de Blasio and his policies, amount to a tacit declaration of candidacy.
And on Tuesday, Lily’s dad didn’t exactly quell the whispers.
Minutes after Hizzoner presented the Fiscal Year 2018 Preliminary Budget, Ulrich blasted de Blasio and his $84.67 billion plan for the Big Apple.
“Mayor de Blasio’s budget uses smoke and mirrors to mask the real problems facing our city,” Ulrich said. “The Mayor is obviously more concerned with his reelection and raising his own political profile than addressing the homeless epidemic, tackling the affordable housing crisis, and improving the quality of life in every borough.”
De Blasio noted that his fourth economic agenda is balanced, with three pillars shoring up its fiscal foundation as it:
- Allocates resources to critical areas including public safety, investing in our infrastructure, improving our public schools and increasing affordability.
- Maintains reserves at unprecedented highs and continues to build on the Citywide Savings Program with another $1.1 billion in savings and a goal of $500 million more in the FY18 Executive Budget.
- Makes targeted investments, such as $6.3 million in expense funds for 200 new school crossing guards and 100 school crossing guard supervisors who will ensure the safety of our children, and $571 million in capital funds to ensure a state of good repair on our bridges through FY25.
De Blasio highlighted some of the “targeted investments that touch the lives of New Yorkers across the city”:
- Street regrading projects in Southeast Queens to address flooding issues – an additional $162 million in capital funds from FY19-FY24.
- Installing bullet-proof window inserts in NYPD vehicles – $5.2 million in FY17 and $5.2 million in FY18 – and upgrading the Rodman’s Neck Firearms Training Facility, a capital investment that will total $275 million over FY18-FY19.
- Allocating an additional $317 million in capital funds for Vision Zero for FY18-FY23 to fund new investments to reduce pedestrian fatalities, including pedestrian and traffic safety street reconstruction projects, signal improvements and street lighting at intersections.
Going by his statement, Ulrich did not seem encouraged by the budget, characterizing it as “a reflection of [de Blasio’s] values; it rewards the special interests at the expense of the taxpayers.”
Ulrich later pledged to do “everything I can between now and the budget adoption to ensure our seniors don’t get shortchanged, our veterans get the property tax relief they deserve, our children who are at risk are protected, and the plight of the middle class does not go ignored.”