Last night, I voted in the City Council for an on-time and balanced budget. It was a tough year and we faced many difficult choices. Yet, I'm proud to report that we passed a responsible budget that reflects these difficult times, does not raise taxes, and still protects core city services. As Chair of the Council's Aging Committee, I am particularly proud that we were able to save 24 senior centers, Meals on Wheels, and other critical programs for our frailest and most vulnerable seniors.
I wanted to take a moment to fill you in on a few other budget highlights. While we had to close a projected $1.5 billion deficit for next year, we were able to do so by making smart, targeted cuts. That enabled us to avert some of the most painful suggestions that were proposed in the Mayor's budget:
- There will be no police layoffs or firehouse closings
- We protected children by restoring 200 positions in the Administration for Children's Services will be saved, allowing staff to maintain caseload levels that were established after the Nixmary Brown tragedy
- Cultural institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, New York City Center, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Public Theater were shielded from drastic cuts
- Pools will remain open this summer across the five boroughs
- Library service will be preserved at five days a week
- Funding was secured for Elder Abuse, senior centers, meals, and other senior critical senior programs
We were also able to win some important victories for the East Side and Manhattan. Among them:
- $2.75 million for full-day universal pre-k programs and East Side schools
- $2 million for city food pantries
- $6 million to support domestic violence prevention and reproductive health care for at risk teens
- Funding for legal aid for the indigent and eviction prevention services
For the full adopted expense budget, including individual Council Members' discretionary items, please click here: http://council.nyc.gov/html/releases/pdfs/FY2011.Schedule.C.pdf .
Thank you to everyone who contacted my office with their input throughout the budget process. Hearing from you was an invaluable part of this process. As always, please don't hesitate to call or email with any specific questions or ideas.