New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg presents his 2004 budget



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This is an archived article published in April 2003
Services and jobs cut in
New York's 2004 budget
By NYC staff reporter

In April 2003, New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented his 2004 New York City Budget. The ongoing national economic downturn, compounded by the war against terrorism, and, most recently, by reduced international travel continues to wreak havoc on New York’s economy. In 2002, with hotel occupancy falling to levels seen in the aftermath of 11 September, the City lost 117,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate in the City is currently 8.8 per cent - the highest level in four years. Financial securities firms are still shedding jobs, down almost 40,000 since 2000. The 2005 NYC budget

The Mayor’s office claimed that despite the City’s fiscal woes crime rates continued to fall, welfare rolls continued to decline, streets and parks were clean and higher standards of accountability and achievement were being introduced to the public schools system. In the last 16 months, $3.2 billion in city funds has been reduced from the City’s budget, 14,000 City workers have left the payroll and the City Council passed a much-needed, but unpopular, increase in the City’s property tax.

"The challenges we face today, and the solutions we find, will define our City for generations to come," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We must not pass the burden of spending today on to our children, and we cannot surrender our destiny to the Financial Control Board. Times are tough, and we will find ways to stretch what resources we have. We must remember the lessons of the past – New York City must not be permitted to deteriorate as it did in the late 1970s. Seeking our fair share of State and Federal resources to preserve New York City’s status as the greatest city in the world is not only the necessary thing to do, it is the right thing to do since the entire state and country benefits from a strong New York City."

The January 2003 preliminary budget projected a $2.9 billion gap between forecast revenues and expenditures for FY 2004. Primarily, as a result of the continued decline in the tax revenue forecast and added costs arising from the New York State’s executive budget, the budget gap is now of greater magnitude. Despite reductions in spending, additional gap-closing actions, New York City faces a gap of approximately $3.8 billion for the financial year 2004.

Mayor Bloomberg’s 2004 budget details city gap-closing actions currently being implemented, totalling over $600 million. Since the City’s labour representatives have made no concrete productivity commitments to mitigate these necessary reductions, regrettably, substantial layoffs are unavoidable. It is now too late for any labour productivity to forestall some part of the current $600 million gap-closing programme. Instead, future productivity savings, if realised, will be necessary to avoid additional and even more damaging contingency cuts to the City’s workforce. The $600 million in failed labour productivity will now result in the following measures being taken:

In the fire department, layoffs of 75 full-time and 119 part-time civilian positions will occur. The fire marshal programme will be reduced by 25 per cent to 100 Marshals.

The department of education will eliminate 864 paraprofessional positions and 767 school assistants.

The department of transportation will reduce service on the Staten Island Ferry from four to three boats per hour during rush hour.

The department of parks and recreation will eliminate subsidies to the Wildlife Conservation Society for Prospect Park Zoo, and the Queens Wildlife Center, and will not hire approximately 1,155 part-time seasonal parks and playground workers.

The administration for children’s services will close four congregate care facilities and eliminate 528 positions agency-wide.

The department of health and mental hygiene will close 12 of 30 child health clinics, and will terminate 165 employees in the school health programme, ending the Hepatitis B immunisation initiative.

The department for the aging will end take-home weekend meals for 7,500 senior citizens.

In addition to the $600 million gap-closing programme detailed above, the delivery of social services will be streamlined through structural reorganisation, generating $75 million in savings. The department of employment will be consolidated and its responsibilities assumed by the department of youth and community development, and the human resources administration.

To avoid further cuts New York City is requesting that the State reform the personal income tax to increase City revenues by $1.4 billion. This will not only bring in much needed money, but will enable the City to spread the tax burden equitably between residents and non-residents who all share the benefits of the services that the City provides. New York needs $252 million in gap-closing actions by the State, and the City has provided a list of over $800 million in actions, which would cost the State nothing. The Governor’s proposed budget reduces the City’s baseline education aid by almost $478 million and does not fund the continuing annual cost of $275 million for the extended school day, a programme instituted last year with the help of State funds. In this Executive Budget, the City has allocated its share of local funding to maintain its support of education, a requirement rightly established by the State when it granted the Mayor the power and responsibility to improve education in this City last year. If City schools are to be given a chance to meet the ambitious goals of their new management, continued baseline education aid from the State is vital. These funding cuts must be restored.

Released with the executive budget is a $1 billion contingency plan. The plan includes additional cuts to agencies and requires 10,000 lay-offs that will be implemented if the City does not receive the necessary assistance from the State Government in Albany. (April 2003)




Who are the world’s most outstanding mayors? If you know of mayors who have the vision, passion and skills to make their cities amazing places to live in, work in and visit nominate him or her now for World Mayor 2007.


Introducing
World Mayor 2007

The World Mayor project, organised by City Mayors, is now in its fourth year. As in 2004, 2005 and 2006 this year’s World Mayor will again be seeking out mayors who have the vision, passion and skills to make their cities amazing places to live in, work in and visit.



The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve as well as raise their profiles nationally and internationally. It honours those who have served their communities selflessly and courageously and who have made significant contributions to the well-being of cities. The most outstanding mayor of 2007 will be presented with the World Mayor Award.



You are now invited to nominate mayors who you think should be among the 50 finalists of the 2007 contest. The list of finalists will be published in June 2007. The winner of World Mayor 2007 will announced in early December 2007.



Previous winners
and runner-ups

In 2006
Winner: John So, Lord Mayor of Melbourne (Australia)
Runner-up: Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
In 2005:
Winner: Dora Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens (Greece)
Runner-up: Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga (Canada)
In 2004:
Winner: Edi Rama, Mayor of Tirana (Albania)
Runner-up: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mayor of Mexico City (Mexico)

Previous winners are not eligible in 2007.