While spending plan helps some in Central Brooklyn, unemployment & charter schools not addressed
As this paper went to press, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a $73.7 billion fiscal year 2014-15 city budget that includes doing away with the city charging public housing residents to pay for police protection.
Currently, the city charges the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) about $70 million annually for the NYPD officers assigned to safeguard its 334 properties across the five boroughs.
Under de Blasio’s spending plan, NYCHA will be relieved of the remaining $52.5 million that would otherwise be owed to the NYPD in FY 2014, so more money can be steered to service outstanding work orders on the NYCHA repair docket.
De Blasio said to keep the NYPD budget whole, the preliminary budget also provides the NYPD with an additional $52.5 million in city funds.
Initial reaction from NYCHA residents was cautiously optimistic of the proposal, as NYCHA has reportedly been years behind in work orders to renovate apartments and fix buildings.
“I think it’s a good idea, but I’ll still wait and see if the money saved will be put back into NYCHA for building renovations, and repair of apartments and getting cameras in the building,” said Renyeh Alexander, vice president of the Tompkins Houses Residential Association.
While the budget press release did not address such pressing issues in Central Brooklyn as high unemployment and under employment, small business initiatives and charter schools, it did continue to hammer away at the need for universal pre-kindergarten and an expansion to after-school programs.
This includes the wishful thinking of expecting an additional $500 million in revenue from taxing those with incomes higher than $500,00, which needs approval from the state.
Other funding of interest to central Brooklyn includes:
Three million dollars in FY 2015 to set up an independent inspector general at the NYPD. This new office will help bring police and the community together by overseeing department policies and procedures, such as stop-and-frisk.
Restoring about $28 million that the Bloomberg budget cut from the Department of Homeless Services so that families that don’t know each other won’t be forced to live together in a shared apartment.
Restoring about $9 million that the Bloomberg budget cut to community-based mental health and immunization clinics to improve access to mental health services.
“Our budget will be a progressive budget — one that will put us on the road to giving hardworking New Yorkers a fair shot,” Mr. de Blasio said in a news release. “There’s nothing mutually exclusive about being both fiscally responsible and economically progressive.”
At press time, City Councilman Robert Cornegy could not be reached for comment about the budget.