NYC Budget Deal Reached

By Kristen Meriwether, Epoch Times
June 23, 2013 8:06 pm Last Updated: June 23, 2013 9:52 pm

NEW YORK—Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council reached a deal to pass an on-time and balanced budget for New York City. The budget was $70 billion.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn shook hands with Bloomberg in the rotunda of City Hall late Sunday afternoon, a yearly tradition following the budget announcement, for Bloomberg’s final time.

“[Balancing the budget] was done in a responsible way without a lot of acrimony and posturing thought the press,” Bloomberg said. “This was done in a thoughtful was by the City Council and our administration and it shows democracy works.”

The cutbacks to libraries, firehouses, and pools—which were in the preliminary budget released in March—were restored.

The city put $250 million into the budget for Hurricane Sandy rebuilding, the first part of his proposed $20 billion rebuilding plan released earlier this month.

The city allocated $58 million to NYCHA residents to help pad the close to $200 million in federal cuts due to sequestration.

“The federal government has cut back NYCHA in a way that, I think, is irresponsible and is designed to hurt the most vulnerable,” Bloomberg said. “We will not let them hurt our public housing.”

Bloomberg said the city will move some of the services to other agencies, not cut the services.

The mayor was asked if money had been out away for more police officers, something many of the Democratic mayoral candidates—including Speaker Quinn—had asked for. Bloomberg said no, citing a record low dip in crime.

“While it would be nice to have more cops, we have lots of conflicting things: we have to keep libraries open and have access to vital services,” Bloomberg said. “You can’t do everything.”

The mayor also said no money was included to address retro pay for the city’s unions, almost all of which are out of contract and expect raises and some retro pay.

The mayor was asked twice about his feelings on closing out his 12th and final budget. The mayor, who is never one to shy away from expressing his feelings, played coy with the press corps.

“It merits more than…” the mayor said before trailing off and suggesting the reporters have a private conversation. “Let’s keep focusing on the city budget and what we have been able to achieve.”

The next mayor of New York City, who will be elected in November, will inherit the final six months of this budget.