Mayor Bill de Blasio and Corey Johnson at City Hall with members of the City Council. Photo courtesy

Speaker Corey Johnson, Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm, Capital Budget Subcommittee Chair Vanessa Gibson and Mayor Bill de Blasio last week announced an agreement on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. The Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes many of the priorities the Council pushed for in order to improve the lives of all New Yorkers, including a commitment to work towards pay parity for day care providers and fair funding for parks.

These priorities – as well as increased resources for libraries, summer youth programs, and trash collection – are the result of the Council advocating for equity, protecting the City’s most vulnerable populations and continuing the Council’s commitment to provide essential resources to as many New Yorkers as possible.

“This Council has been focused on securing a responsible, equitable budget for all New Yorkers from day one. 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. 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,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott, said: “We are extremely grateful to Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the entire City Council for investing $33 million in additional expense funding for the City’s public libraries. This crucial support will allow us to continue providing essential services in the face of rising costs, growing footprints, and increased demand.

We recognize the passionate advocacy of Speaker Johnson, Finance Chair Danny Dromm, and Cultural Affairs & Libraries Chair Jimmy Van Bramer, who have prioritized our vital institutions in a difficult budget year. On behalf of our millions of patrons and the hundreds of thousands who signed letters, called their representatives, and attended rallies to fight for their libraries, thank you for standing with us.  We also applaud our staff members and union leaders for galvanizing tremendous support citywide.

You have collectively ensured that public libraries—which offer opportunity to all and are the heart of a fair and equitable city—remain strong at a critical time in our history, when New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable, need them the most.

“The FY 2020 budget is a progressive and responsible budget that truly delivers for all New Yorkers. From increases in funding for our parks and LGBTQ community services to an allocation for additional school social workers, this is a budget in which we can all take pride.  It is a statement of our priorities and helps ensure that all of our constituents, particularly the most vulnerable, are protected and served.  By adding $250 million to city reserves, the FY 2020 budget helps NYC weather any downturn in the economy that might come our way. It has been a pleasure to work alongside Speaker Johnson, Mayor de Blasio, Capital Subcommittee Chair Vanessa Gibson, Council Finance Director Latonia McKinney and the entire Council Finance team on this effort.  Together we have successfully advanced our priorities while looking after the long-term fiscal health of NYC,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Finance.

“I am truly proud to have worked with the New York City Council under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson and Finance Chair Daniel Dromm in negotiating the FY20 budget. Together, we worked for pay parity for early childcare workers, public defenders and the district attorneys; additional Social Workers in our schools; supported our foster youth; added Title IX Coordinators to our schools; significantly invested in our cultural institutions, libraries, and parks; added funding for the 2020 Census; and secured meals for our seniors! This is just a glimpse into this year’s budget wins and we cannot wait to see these investments improve our great city,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Chair of the Subcommittee on Capital Budget.

The FY2020 budget will include:

COUNCIL PRIORITIES:

  • Establishing Pay Parity for Early Childhood Education Providers: Early childhood educators at community-based organizations (CBO) historically get paid far less than the rest of their DOE counterparts. The pay difference in some cases is as much as $35,000. As a result of these budget negotiations, the Administration has committed to working with early childcare providers and labor unions to create a pathway to pay parity. This is a major victory after years of advocacy by the City Council and day care providers.
  • Establishing Pay Parity for Public Defense Providers and District Attorneys: The Administration has committed to addressing pay equity issues across the public legal services as part of this budget deal.
  • Fair Funding for Parks: A historic investment in our parks that includes urban park rangers, parks enforcement patrol officers and forestry management.
  • Weeksville Heritage Center: Weeksville Heritage Center, a Brooklyn landmark and museum that celebrates the history of one of America’s first communities for free blacks, will be put on a path towards being recognized as a Cultural Institutions Group (CIG). As a CIG, Weeksville Heritage Center would be part of a group of institutions protected by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA).
  • Office of Hate Crimes: The Council and the Administration will together work to expand the staffing of the Office of Hate Crimes.

SAFEGUARD OUR FUTURE:

  • Expanding Reserves: The $250 million allocation will strengthen the City’s fiscal position and increase its ability to weather potential shocks.
  • Launching a 2020 Census Campaign: With the 2020 Census approaching, the City will launch a major outreach effort that will include social media, community engagement, advertisements, and partnerships with community based organizations.

INVEST IN OUR YOUNG PEOPLE:

  • Expand Foster Care Programming
  • Expand the Comprehensive After School System of New York City (COMPASS)
  • Restore School’s Out New York City (SONYC)
  • Add Slots for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)
  • Increase Social Workers in Schools: Funding for 285 school social workers which includes 85 social workers funded by reallocating ThriveNYC resources and 100 social workers for Bridging the Gap to support students in shelters.
  • Restore Funding for Breakfast in the Classroom
  • Add Seven New Title IX Coordinators

IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE IN NYC:

  • Enhancing Library Funding:  This historic investment – our biggest investment in libraries to date – includes $16 million from the Administration, $14 million from the City Council via Schedule C and a nearly $3 million PEG restoration. The Council ensured there were no reductions to libraries and has enhanced funding to support the three library systems so that they can continue to maintain, grow and offer the programs and services they have been providing.  Libraries have an essential presence in every neighborhood of New York providing indispensable services in a safe and reliable space to the youth, seniors, immigrants, and incarcerated individuals among other New Yorkers. Early literacy, English for Speakers of Other Languages classes and video visitation for incarcerated individuals are just some of the numerous agency partnerships and countless department collaborations the systems do each year. The budget baselines $16 million for libraries.
  • Picking Up More Trash ($8.6 Million): 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 ($10 Million): This is for the cost increases for food service workers and meals in senior centers.
  • Removing Tree Stumps ($1 Million): This $1 million allocation will provide additional resources to remove tree stumps throughout the five boroughs.
  • Offering Translation Services at Poll Sites ($640,000): This funding of $640,000 to support an agreement with the Council and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) 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