Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
“We have no illusions about the real threats we face from D.C. and Albany,” the mayor said. “That’s why we’re investing in our people while maintaining historic reserves and safeguarding our city’s financial future.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday presented the Preliminary Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2019, noting that his administration’s singular focus in organizing the massive, $88.67 billion financial plan was on “making New York the fairest big city in America.”
“Every decision in this budget was weighed on whether it brought us closer to that goal,” he added. “We have no illusions about the real threats we face from D.C. and Albany. That’s why we’re investing in our people while maintaining historic reserves and safeguarding our city’s financial future.”
And, according to de Blasio, those targeted investments will help the City secure that mantle of fairness. Among the highlights:
• Accelerates the rollout of body-worn cameras for all NYPD patrol officers a year ahead of schedule totaling $5.9 million in FY18 and $12 million in FY19.
• $750 million in capital funding across the life of the plan to expand upon our commitment to build and preserve move affordable housing than ever before.
• Extends NYC Safe service to seven days a week for an additional $6.38 million in FY19 and out.
• Expedites the completion of exams given to criminal defendants that assess their mental competence to understand charges against them for an additional $430,000 in FY18 and $1.54 million in FY19.
• Basement apartment program pilot in East New York for $2.4 million in FY19.
• Services for incarcerated women and their families for $200,000 in FY18 and $5.72 million in FY19.
• Expands jail diversion health screenings for detainees for an additional $700,000 in FY18 and $4 million in FY19.
• Helps 4,000 seniors in five years via the City Department for the Aging Home Sharing program for $1.4 million in FY19.
• Expands 3-K for All with the addition of four new districts, bringing the total to 12 by 2020 for $46.4 million in FY21,
• Builds four additional Pre-K locations for $46 million in capital funding in FY18 and $26 million in capital funding in FY19.
• Expands anti-bullying efforts in schools for an additional $1.9 million in FY18 and $8.2 million in FY19.
De Blasio was blunt in his assessment of outside factors directly impacting NYC. The decisions made in D.C. and by the State Legislature will adversely affect the daily lives of residents in the five boroughs. Specifically: Late last year, President Donald Trump passed what de Blasio called “the most draconian tax law in recent history.” While the City is still analyzing the budgetary impacts, it seems that middle- and lower-class New Yorkers will pay.
“The federal situation is so aberrant we don’t know where it’s going and we don’t yet know what the impact will be on New York City,” the mayor said on Friday on “The Brian Lehrer Show” on WNYC-FM.
And the cuts in the State Executive Budget “are no less alarming,” de Blasio said. As a result, the City is facing $400 million in slashes and cost shifts for important programs, including: school aid not funded at historic levels; $144 million in charter school costs; $129 million to child welfare services; $65 million to special education; $31 million to juvenile justice programs; $9 million in rental subsidies for working families in shelters.