Photo Courtesy of John McCarten/NY City Council
Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Johnson shake hands on a balanced, $92.8 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Friday announced that they have reached an early handshake agreement on a balanced, $92.8 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020.
“I am very proud of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget—a budget that bolsters our city’s reserves to protect future generations and improves the quality of life for all residents—while also ensuring citywide savings,” Johnson said. “This budget is a result of a united council fiercely advocating on behalf of our constituents and prioritizing initiatives that will benefit all New Yorkers.”
According to de Blasio, highlights of the latest Adopted Budget include:
• Placing 200 additional social workers in Department of Education schools, including mental health specialists, to help support students and provide necessary social and emotional support ($26 million).
• Investing jointly with the City Council in an expansion of criminal justice-related diversion programs, such as post-arrest diversion, supervised release and transitional housing.
• Installing low noise “rumbler” sirens on FDNY vehicles to help reduce noise pollution ($1.5 million).
• Funding for Vision Zero public awareness campaigns to educate drivers and support pedestrian and cyclist safety ($5 million).
• Launching NYC Care to guarantee healthcare access for 600,000 uninsured New Yorkers and enhance MetroPlus, NYC’s Public Option, by increasing enrollment and improving access to care, including mental health services ($25 million in FY2020, ramping up to $100 million in FY2022).
• Expanding 3-K for All by funding 1,900 new seats in the Bronx (District 8) and Brooklyn (District 32) for next school year. This investment brings 3-K to 14 districts and 20,000 children by September 2020, and includes the 10 highest-need districts in the city ($25 million).
• Increasing mayoral funding for 2020 Census outreach staff and public awareness campaigns to ensure a fair and accurate count that gives New York City its fair share ($22 million for a total mayoral investment of $26 million).
• Retrofitting City buildings as part of NYC’s Green New Deal ($60 million).
• Providing annual funding for the “Bridging the Gap” program that provides social services and academic support for students in shelters ($14 million).
Johnson and council leadership touted some of the quality of life improvements in the spending plan:
• Enhancing Library Funding: The biggest investment in libraries to date includes $16 million from the administration, $14 million from the council, and a nearly $3 million cost-savings restoration.
• Picking up More Trash: This allocation of $8.6 million is for extra sanitation services including for extra litter baskets throughout the five boroughs. This is more than double the amount allocated last year.
• Providing Senior Meals: This is for the cost increases for food service workers and meals in senior centers.
• Removing Tree Stumps: This $1 million allocation will provide additional resources to remove tree stumps throughout the five boroughs.
• Offering Translation Services at Poll Sites: This funding of $640,000 to support an agreement with the Council and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to launch a supplementary program to provide poll-site interpretation services in languages not covered by the Board of Elections.
• Street Resurfacing: Funding to resurface 1,100 lane miles across the five boroughs.
De Blasio also noted that the FY2020 Adopted Budget includes more than $300 million in new savings, on top of the $2.5 billion achieved in the Citywide Savings Program over Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020 since last adoption. These savings were, in part, attained through the administration’s first Program to Eliminate the Gap (in which City agency heads are directed to cut costs in their respective budgets), and a permanent reduction of 2,600 City-funded positions; 325 additional vacancies will be reduced in this plan, adding $25 million in savings, de Blasio said.
“The Fiscal Year 2020 Adopted Budget creates greater fairness for all New Yorkers. We’ve reached an agreement that promises to create a pathway to pay parity for our early childhood education providers to address recruitment and retention issues, expands services that prevent unnecessary detention and fights the widespread national attack on access to abortion care,” the mayor added. “We’re also strengthening our support services in schools by providing over 200 social workers for students who need them most, fulfilling our commitment to senior affordable housing, and putting our new expanded speed camera program into action. We’re accomplishing all of this while protecting the City’s fiscal health by increasing savings and adding $250 million to our already historic levels of budget reserves.”