SCOTT M. STRINGER Manhattan Borough President

March 8, 2010 Hon. Michael R. Bloomberg Mayor City Hall New York, NY 10007 Re: Borough Board Budget Priorities

Dear Mayor Bloomberg: Enclosed please find a report describing the budgetary priorities of the Manhattan Borough Board, as mandated by Section 241 of the New York City Charter. New York City is facing its most severe economic decline in decades. Although it is widely understood that difficult decisions must be made about where to make cuts and how to create new revenue streams, there are several important community needs and priorities that are not adequately addressed in the preliminary budget. The following report aims to provide a snapshot of neighborhood and borough-level concerns for the next fiscal year. This document was developed by consensus of the Manhattan Borough Board members in response to the initiatives and forecasts of the Mayor’s preliminary budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, released on January 28, 2010. To help prepare this document, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office conducted a survey of New Yorkers who reside or work in Manhattan. Many of the concerns expressed by survey respondents have been incorporated into this document in the hope that they will be thoroughly considered by the City. The Manhattan Borough Board held its Charter mandated meeting on March 5, 2010 via conference call and voted to adopt the comments in this report. This vote shall be ratified at the March 18, 2010 meeting of the Manhattan Borough Board. It is also important to acknowledge that, should the state budget be passed in its current form, the Mayor’s grim “contingency” budget will take effect. It is crucial that we examine the preliminary budget with a critical eye, but equally important to consider how best to respond to the wide-ranging cuts proposed in this contingency plan. The Manhattan Borough Board Priorities Report provides a valuable opportunity to jointly articulate the priorities of the Borough President, City Council members and Community Boards in Manhattan. I hope that this report will provide you with a tool for developing a more stable and responsible budget as we move forward in the budget process. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to working with you as the budget process continues. Sincerely,

Scott M. Stringer Manhattan Borough President cc: Hon. Christine Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council Members of the New York City Council Mr. Mark Page, Budget Director, Office of Management and Budget



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ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN’S SERVICES _____________________________ 5

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COMMUNITY BOARDS - MANHATTAN______________________________________ 6 DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS ____________________________________________ 7
DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS ______________________________________


DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ___________________________________________ 8

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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE ____________________________ 8 DEPARTMENT OF HOMELESS SERVICES ____________________________________ 9 DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION _________________________________ 9 DEPARTMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES ______________________________ 10 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION _____________________________________ 10 DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ____________________ 11 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY _______________________________________ 11






With deficits exceeding $2.5 billion in FY 2010 and FY 2011 and reaching heights of $3.8 billion in FY 2014, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has no choice but to reduce City expenditures. Though it is critical that New York City’s expense budget reflects the realities of the economy, it is also key that the City does not cut funding for the very programs and services that enable New Yorkers to weather the recession. It is the responsibility of each Borough President, as set out by Section 241 of the New York City Charter, to submit a comprehensive statement addressing the Mayor’s financial plan for FY 2011. This report identifies the Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) proposals that we believe most endanger the City’s capacity to rebound from the recession and most endanger the public. The Charter mandates that this statement convey the Borough’s Board concerns after including input from the public. In order to meet this mandate, our office conducted an online survey of Manhattan residents regarding their thoughts on the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget and the services they value most. The survey was released on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 for a one week duration and captured 1,088 responses. This report reflects the priorities of the people of Manhattan and the Manhattan Borough Board. Although the purpose of this report is to comment on the City budget, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the State budget. Governor David Paterson’s proposed cuts of over $1.2 billion to New York City are disproportionate and threaten the City’s fiscal health. The City’s Contingency Budget, which applies 7.2 percent cuts equally across all agencies, effectively conveys the catastrophic impact of the State’s cuts. However, it does not provide a calibrated plan for how these cuts should be administered. As the contours of the State budget become clearer, we urge the Mayor to take a more measured approach to integrating cuts from the State into New York City’s FY 2011 budget.

1. Administration for Children’ Services (ACS)
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) protects New York City’s children from abuse and neglect. Collaborating with a range of community partners, ACS provides neighborhood-based services to help ensure that children grow up in safe, permanent homes with strong families. Proposed cuts to ACS would include closing 16 day care sites. These cuts to day care would leave a permanent void in day care options for low-income single parents and families at a time when thousands of parents are seeking subsidized day care. ACS has offered to transfer children who will lose seats to other day care centers, but it remains unclear where those openings will be located. As a result, parents are left to worry about whether their children will receive care, whether the change in location will impact their family and work schedules, and whether they will have to pay additional transportation costs to reach their children’s new day care facility. Current proposals also include the scaling back of personnel and program investments made after the death of Nixzmary Brown. ACS would eliminate 202 child protective workers and $3.6 million in City funds from preventive services. These cuts will result in increased


caseloads for child abuse and neglect investigators, putting vulnerable children at even greater risk.

2. Borough of Manhattan Community College
The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) serves a diverse student body from across New York City and the globe. BMCC is the only community college in Manhattan and with 22,500 students, it is the largest of the six community colleges in the City University of New York (CUNY). CUNY’s community colleges sustained a $9.5 million reduction in city funding this year, and the Mayor's FY 2011 plan provides $23 million less for CUNY’s community colleges than this year’s budget. These cuts are in addition to reductions proposed in the State Executive Budget, which recommends a decrease to community-college base aid of $21.8 million annually. Cuts to BMCC have historically ranged between 20 to 22 percent of the total amount of proposed budget reductions to community colleges. These cuts to operational funding will negatively impact BMCC students through fewer courses selections, library hours, and less academic support.

3. Community Boards - Manhattan
The City Charter mandates community boards to serve the constituents of this City in a variety of capacities. In addition to making recommendations in the annual budget process, these duties include ensuring efficient delivery of City services, reviewing land use proposals and capital projects, and ensuring neighborhood access to community agencies and facilities. Upon assessing the needs and resources of their constituents, the boards consult and advise the Mayor, City agencies, the Borough President, and City Council on the aforementioned issues. Finally, as representatives of local communities, the community boards work to ensure that City spending improves the quality of life for residents and workers in their districts. In order to provide community boards with the resources necessary to do their jobs effectively, it is critical for the City to preserve community board funding. While the boards have seen mandated marginal budgetary increases in past years, these increases have not kept pace with inflation, resulting in a loss of real dollars over time, and an overall budget that is meager given the heavy charter mandates placed on the boards. In the Mayor’s January 2011 Financial Plan, the community board budgets include a reduction of $36,593 per board. This reduction leaves each board’s proposed total budget at $160,437 without council restoration. While consistent with what the Mayor’s PEG asked of many other agencies, the effect will be disproportionate due to the small size and inherently inelastic nature of the community board budgets. If the Mayor’s Contingency Budget to respond to withheld State funds is realized, the boards could be asked to absorb a whopping 9 percent reduction to their already depleted budgets.


4. Department of Buildings
The New York City Department of Buildings ensures the safe and lawful use of over 900,000 buildings and properties by enforcing the various codes, zoning resolutions, labor laws, and the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law. The agency’s main activities include issuing construction permits, inspecting properties, licensing trades, and examining plans. The Mayor’s budget calls for four DOB fee increases to eliminate the gap. These fee increases will apply to scanning and microfilming of documents for residential and commercial applications, applications for low and high pressure boilers, elevator applications and façade applications. While it appears that these new fees will generate sufficient revenue for the DOB, it is important that the DOB sharpen its focus on the remediation of open building violations. In a recent study conducted by Borough President Stringer, the borough of Manhattan was found to have nearly a quarter of a million open DOB and Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations in its building stock. The enforcement of these open violations by the DOB would yield nearly $60 million in outstanding fine monies, for Manhattan alone. The vigilant enforcement of building violations and collection of the corresponding fines by the DOB could render future fee increases unnecessary.

5. Department of Cultural Affairs
The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) is the largest cultural funding agency in the nation, and the main public fiscal support for many non-profit arts and cultural institutions in New York City. The DCA extends financial support in three ways: (1) Programmatic funding is offered through the Cultural Development Fund; (2) Direct subsidies are provided to 33 City-owned Cultural Institutions Groups, with one-third of these groups located in Manhattan; (3) Capital funding is granted for design and construction projects and major equipment purchases for non-profit cultural organizations throughout the five boroughs. The Mayor cut $6.4 million in DCA funding this year, reducing the agency’s current budget total to $151.9 million, and resulting in a 3.4 percent cut to Cultural Institutions Groups, Cultural Development Fund groups, and Cultural After School Activities.1 The projected budget for FY 2011 would further reduce the DCA’s budget to $120.1 million. Cultural Institutions Groups paid by City fund subsidies2 may experience an additional loss of 202 City supported staff positions due to these cuts.3 This 8 percent budget cut4 will impact the DCA’s ability to sustain the anticipated increase in the number of nonprofit cultural institutions seeking support for programmatic funding. The decline in funding from charitable foundations and individual donations and reduced revenue through ticket sales and memberships further puts these programs in jeopardy.

Clyde Fitch Report – – Analysis by Norma Munn, chairperson of the New York City Arts Coalition 2 Mayor’s Preliminary Budget FY10 – Page 63 3 Clyde Fitch Report – – Analysis by Norma Munn, chairperson of the New York City Arts Coalition


Mayor’s Preliminary Budget FY10 – Page E-81 through E-83


6. Department of Education
The New York City Department of Education (DOE) is the largest system of public schools in the United States, serving 1.1 million students in over 1,600 schools. The DOE employs 80,000 teachers, and has an annual budget of $21 billion. Although four out of five survey respondents do not have children in public schools, the need to strengthen the public school system was identified as the highest priority by respondents. Fifty-eight percent of respondents with public school children ranked the needed for smaller class size as the priority for their child’s education. In the face of increasing class sizes and school overcrowding, New York City public school students cannot afford to lose more teachers. The proposed elimination of 8,159 teaching positions through layoffs and attrition will mean even less opportunity for students to receive crucial individualized attention, which will particularly impact children who are the hardest to reach and have the greatest learning needs. Cutting teachers will penalize children at greatest risk and of highest need, running counter to the DOE’s central goal of reducing the achievement gap. Providing physical education, art classes, and after-school programming were among the top priorities listed by parents in our survey and by Borough Board members. The Mayor’s proposed reductions make this more difficult, particularly when additional schools are scheduled to open in order to address problems of overcrowding.

7. New York City Fire Department
The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has approximately 11,600 uniformed officers and firefighters and more than 3,200 uniformed EMTs and paramedics. FDNY operates about 250 firehouses and ambulance stations, responds to more than 260,000 fire and nonfire related emergencies and more than a million medical emergencies each year. Even in tough fiscal times, public safety must come first. The Mayor’s budget calls for a reduction in the number of firefighters on 60 company engines, the elimination of staffing at 4 engine companies and the elimination of 20 firefighter posts. The Mayor also proposes the de-activation of street alarm boxes. These measures will save the City a projected $13.5 million. It is imperative for the safety of Manhattan residents that any reductions in personnel do not translate to a reduction in service levels. The agency must also be careful to uphold its diversity goals for hiring new firefighters.

8. Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is responsible for public health standards, issues pertaining to birth certificates and dog licenses, and restaurant inspections. With an annual budget of $1.6 billion and more than 6,000 employees throughout the five boroughs, DOHMH is one of the largest public health agencies in the world, serving 8 million New Yorkers from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.


Planned DOHMH cuts would result in the elimination of nurse coverage at elementary schools with fewer than 300 students. A number of serious concerns exist related to this proposal. First, for the change to take place, the City must amend existing laws that currently require schools serving fewer than 200 children to have nurses on staff. Second, it is unclear how these cuts will impact small schools co-located in a single building. For example, if three elementary schools in the same building each serve 300 or fewer students, would these schools collectively be entitled to share a nurse for the building as they do a cafeteria? Or would DOE and DOHMH consider each school separate, and therefore ineligible to have a nurse in the building? The question is particularly relevant given the DOE’s and DOHMH’s small schools initiative and their focus on charter schools, the vast majority of which serve 300 or fewer students. Finally, the most obvious question is how the DOE and DOHMH will address the needs of students who may require daily check-ins with a nurse, for assistance with medication and chronic conditions such as asthma. Failure to address these questions will compromise the health and well-being of thousands of New York City public school students.

9. Department of Homeless Services
The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) manages 11 City-run and 192 privately-run shelters, provides outreach services around the clock, and offers homelessness prevention services. Due to the recession, demand for these services is at an all time high. Between September 2008 and September 2009, the average daily census at DHS operated shelters increased by 10 percent and the total number of new entrants increased by 26 percent. Despite this growing demand, the City has chosen to cut DHS’s budget by $8.59 million in FY 2010, $22.07 million in FY 2011 and upwards of $25.6 million in FY 2012 - 2014 thereby making it harder for the DHS to effectively combat rising rates of homelessness. The Mayor’s planned service cuts will negatively impact those New Yorkers who have been swept into the system as a result of the economic downturn, as well as veterans of the system who rely on DHS for care. The Mayor’s Budget calls for the closure of a 24-hour drop-in center in Manhattan. With rising numbers of homeless New Yorkers and winter far from over, this decision ignores the growing need for shelter. Additionally, the Mayor’s call for the elimination of employment specialists at facilities that serve families with children is particularly concerning, considering that the number of families with children in DHS operated shelters has risen by 11 percent over the past year. Finally, these cuts target some of the most vulnerable populations. The Mayor’s budget calls for the elimination of almost 100 beds for the chronically homeless and those in need of stabilization services.

10. Department of Parks and Recreation
The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (Parks Department) is the chief steward of the City's parkland. Its mission is to build and maintain the parks of the 21st century along three guiding principles: increased greening, improved access to recreational and fitness opportunities, and use of parks as a vehicle for community and economic development. The Parks Department manages 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities across the five boroughs.


The Parks Department runs the Parks Opportunity Program (POP), one of the nation’s largest transitional employment programs. In preparation for private sector careers, POP participants gain transferable skills in fields such as security, horticulture, administration, maintenance, and customer service. With unemployment at over 10 percent, it seems illadvised to cut funding for a successful job training program by more than $10 million. Additionally, closing 7 percent of the City’s free outdoor pools will add an extra burden this summer to families unable to afford summer programs or day care.

11. Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) provides services and technical assistance directly to small businesses and works with local economic development organizations, business improvement districts, Empire Zones and others to help improve neighborhoods. SBS is responsible for the City’s workforce development program, including managing the Workforce1 Career Center Networks. SBS runs the New York City Business Solution Center Networks and has been overseeing the development of the Business Express on-line tools. Survey respondents identified job creation as the second highest priority area for City government, and small business owners identified barriers to accessing small business loans and grants as the primary obstacle to success. During a period when small businesses are struggling and when minority communities are being disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn, it is distressing that SBS has decided to cut seven positions from the unit whose mandate is to increase participation by minority and women owned business enterprises in the City procurement process – a process from which these businesses have been historically excluded.

12. Department of Transportation
The mission of the Department of Transportation (DOT) is to ensure the “safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in the City of New York” and to maintain transportation infrastructure in a way that supports that goal. Traditionally, the DOT has been more focused on the movement of vehicles, but under the leadership of Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, it has become more attentive to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. The Mayor’s budget calls for a general reduction of 28 employees agency-wide, including ten positions responsible for roadway repair and maintenance. Additionally, the budget calls for the implementation of new fees for debris container permits and street opening permits. The Mayor’s budget also calls for a 4 percent reduction in East River Ferry Service funding in FY 2010 and an 8 percent reduction in subsequent years. It is important that the DOT continue to focus on gap closing measures that will not result in the decay of transportation infrastructure or in quality of life deterioration. To this end, it is concerning that the DOT is planning to eliminate roadway repair positions, albeit by only a small amount thus far. Our survey respondents indicated that they use the subway, buses, and walking as their primary modes of transportation and the modes where they would least like to see cuts. We encourage the DOT to consider prioritizing pedestrian safety enhancements, Bus Rapid


Transit routes, and bicycling, as opposed to improvements for personal automobiles which respondents favored least.

13. Department of Youth and Community Development
The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) was created in 1996 to provide the City of New York with high-quality youth and family programming. The DYCD’s central task is to administer available City, State and federal funds to effective community based organizations that offer youth and community development programs, including beacon community centers, corporate internships for youth, literacy for adults, adolescents and families, out-of-school time initiatives, runaway and homeless youth outreach, summer youth employment programs, and jobs for youth. DYCD programs offer New York City children safe, supportive and stable environments during after school hours. However, proposed cuts to 33 school-year Out of School Time (OST) programs and 30 summer programs will leave thousands of children without critical academic and social programming that positively impacts their well being. With 4,110 fewer OST slots for Elementary and Middle School students, and an additional 1,940 lost from Middle School summer services, many of New York City’s most vulnerable children will face hours of unscheduled time after school, and learning loss associated with unprogrammed summer months.

14. The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library’s mission is to “inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen our communities” through its collections, physical and online space, and staff. Libraries are an essential part of our communities, yet they are bearing a disproportionate amount of cuts. Mid year cuts to the New York Public Library in 2010 already resulted in service reductions at two-thirds of the libraries in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. The proposed FY 2011 cuts will have a devastating impact on the Library, including reducing library hours to an average of 28 hours per week and hundreds of layoffs. This will result in fewer youth programs for teens, computer sessions for job seekers, and items circulated to families and seniors. These cuts are occurring at a time when libraries are seeing greater need for their services.


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