Thursday, December 18, 2014

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City Budget Deal Avoids Fire, Child Care, After-School Cuts

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced a deal Monday for a proposed $68.5 billion budget that restores proposed cuts to fire companies, child care services and after-school services. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

With a handshake and a kiss, thousands of slots in child care were saved, fire companies were off the chopping block.

In their typically amicable fashion, Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn agreed on a budget for the next fiscal year, which starts in July.

They did it five days before the deadline.

And they congratulated themselves.

"Working together, as I've said again and again was going to happen, we produced an on time, balanced budget for our city that does not raise taxes on New Yorkers and preserves the essential services that we all rely on," the mayor said.

"Our budget isn't just a plan on how to spend taxpayer dollars," Quinn said. "It's a statement on who we are as a city. And this budget says that we are a city where every child will be given the opportunity and the resources to learn."

Next year's approximately $68.5 billion budget left advocates and council members grinning.

"It's a great victory for New York City's children and families," said Stephanie Gendell of the Citizens Committee for Children.

"This is all about the children of the city of New York," said Councilman Domenic Recchia, the council's finance chair.

"We thank the public," said Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. "That really was a big part of this conversation."

Monday's press conference was a change of pace from the protests seen just weeks ago, when the mayor's budget proposal was slammed for devastating city services.

"We never said the world is coming to an end," Bloomberg said Monday when asked about the shift. "We have said repeatedly, you probably weren't listening, we will come up with a balanced budget."

There still are some caveats.

The city is relying upon $635 million from the sale of new taxi medallions. Those medallions are part of the mayor's plan to provide cab service to all five boroughs.

But that plan is currently being challenged in state court.

Bloomberg brushed off the threat.

"We still think we've done it right and we'll win," he said. "It just takes a while. Everything you do, you get sued."

The handshake between Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn was just symbolic. The City Council will not actually vote on the budget until Thursday. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP