NEW YORK—The City Council began reviewing the city’s proposed 2013 fiscal year budget on Monday, with councilors critically questioning various aspects of the proposed budget.
Education was the issue most frequently examined, particularly the proposed cuts to after-school programs.
“We’re grieved to notice the fact that this administration is reducing 53,000 to 26,000 after-school slots [and] 1,100 general education positions are going to be eliminated,” said Councilman Fernando Cabrera. “It seems to me the target here is the children.”
City budget documents, however, say the budget would only eliminate 2,300 Out of School Time, an after-school program, slots through decreasing funding by almost $6 million.
Mark Page, the director of the office and management and budget, who answered questions for several hours, said they could only “fit spending into the resources we have.”
A Campaign for Children NYC March 5 brief shows children served by Out of School Time, declining from 52,000 in 2012 to 27,000 in 2013. Some councilors voiced support for restoration to the 2009 enrollment, or 85,513.
The Special Joint Finance and Contact Committee hearing in City Hall’s council chambers allowed councilors who are not members of the committees to attend and ask questions. Five minutes were allotted to each one.
Other issues touched upon included whether economic development subsidies—such as in the Fresh Direct case in Queens—bring dividends to the city, tailoring the bidding process for contracts to favor contractors based in the city, and what the money going to Cornell University’s applied science campus is specifically being used for.
The mayor will present a revised budget proposal by April 26 to City Council after public hearings and more council hearings. Negotiations between the two parties take place, and will conclude before June 5. The council will vote to adopt a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1.