City Officials Broker Deal to Stop Drastic Cuts to City Services
By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — After six weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations the City Council announced an agreement Thursday with the Bloomberg administration to save millions of dollars in funding to programs including fire companies, LGBT youth services and senior services.
The deal comes one day after gay rights advocates blasted the mayor for releasing a YouTube video welcoming LGBT teens to the city while his proposed budget slashed funding for homeless youth programs.
“We have far more kids coming to us than we’re able to serve. I knew that with other programs closing we would’ve had a flood of additional kids that we wouldn’t have been able to care for,” said Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Youth Center for LGBT teens. “I think the City Council took the lead and I’m very grateful.”
The plan will achieve the same $585 million in spending reductions proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but will do so through alternative cuts including a $4.5 million reduction in Department of Education contractual services and cuts to worker’s compensation payments and tuition payments for city students attending upstate community collages.
“We recognize the difficult times we face and the Council has worked incredibly hard to ensure that any cuts that are made are done in the most thoughtful and responsible manner,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn in a statement. “We worked to secure funding for programs that serve the most vulnerable New Yorkers and to find alternative savings in order to reach a fiscally responsible budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers.”
The new plan stopped proposed nighttime fire company closures, but said the cuts would be reevaluated in the 2012 fiscal year
The council also fully restored proposed cuts to runaway and homeless youth programs.
Case management services for seniors were also fully restored.
"We have always worked collaboratively with the Council and by working together we have delivered responsible budgets that have kept the City's finances in order every year," said Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna.