Council Passes On-Time Budget, Overrides Mayor's Veto on Living Wage Bill
CITY HALL — The City Council passed a final budget late Thursday night that averts the worst of threatened service cuts, and overrules a trio of mayoral vetoes, including controversial living wage legislation.
The $68.5 billion budget keeps fire companies and libraries open, without raising taxes, and increases the number of daycare and after-school spaces offered by the city, which had been on the chopping block under Mayor Michael Bloomberg's original plan.
But while advocates have praised the deal, some critics have raised concerns about its reliance on so-called "one-shot deals," or cases in which the city relies on funds from non-recurring sources such as the sale of new yellow taxi medallions, or large legal settlements including the CityTime scandal.
The council also voted to override the mayor's veto of a controversial bill that would force developers who receive more than a $1 million in city subsidies to pay their workers at least $10 an hour, plus benefits, or $11.50 without — significantly more than the minimum wage.
"If we provide a taxpayer subsidy in exchange for jobs, we should expect jobs that pay a better wage than the minimum wage," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in a statement ahead of the vote.
The mayor has slammed the legislation as job-killed that will undermine progress the city has made recovering from the recession, and has threatened to sue to stop its implementation.
The council also passed controversial zoning legislation that will limit the size of storefronts on certain stretches of the Upper West Side.
“Old-time West Siders as well as young professionals have written and e-mailed, and stopped me on the street, to say how badly the neighborhood needs the protections contained in the creation of the Upper West Side Special Enhanced Commercial District,” said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer.
"This zoning change is simple and flexible, and it would still enable businesses to expand while helping to preserve ‘mom and pop’ stores that characterize the history and vitality of the neighborhood," she said.
The city's next fiscal year begins on Sunday.