BY NATHAN DUKE
Mayor Bill de Blasio presented a nearly $89 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2019 last Thursday that included everything from expanding affordable housing to outfitting all of the city Police Department’s officers with body cameras by the end of the year.
The mayor said that the budget—which is $4 billion more than last year’s budget—would go toward offsetting possible cuts from the state and federal government. For example, as of Jan. 1, the city lost its ability to refinance with tax-exempt bonds, which would lead to an estimated cost of up to $100 million annually; while NYC’s Health + Hospitals could face a loss of $400 million per year if Congress does not reinstate Disproportionate Share Hospital funding. Regarding the state’s executive budget, the five boroughs face $400 million in cuts and cost shifts.
In the outline of his budget, de Blasio stressed that he wanted to make New York City the “fairest” in America.
Several of the items that the mayor emphasized in the budget included an accelerated rollout of body cameras for all NYPD officers a year ahead of schedule ($5.9 million in fiscal year 2018 and $12 million the following year); $200 million in capital investments and expense funding to improve the quality of life for NYCHA residents; $750 million to expand and preserve more affordable housing; extending NYC Safe service to seven days a week at $6.3 million; $700,000 toward expanding jail diversion health screenings; and $8.2 million for anti-bullying efforts in schools.
The budget also allocates $46.4 million to accelerate and expand 3-K for All with the addition of four new districts.
“The first class of 3-K for All started in September, and their development since then is truly remarkable,” de Blasio said. “This extra year of education is giving our kids an invaluable head start in life, and helping to alleviate some of the financial strain that working families in New York City face. By accelerating and expanding 3-K for All, we are bringing this opportunity to more kids and families faster.”
There will be two Queens districts opening in the next three years: District 27, which will cover Howard Beach, Ozone Park, the Rockaways and Broad Channel; and District 29, which will cover Cambria Heights, Hollis, Laurelton, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens and St. Albans.
Reach editor-in-chief Nathan Duke via email at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 122.