2018-06-20 / Front Page

City Council Budget Enriches City

City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer sent out a statement detailing the City Council Fiscal Year 2019 budget for the city that was approved last week. He said, “At $89.1 billion this budget is a reflection of our shared values—which provides for a more fair and just city for all. As Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries, I led the effort to dramatically increase historic levels of funding. We further increased the Cultural After School Adventure program (CASA), which means that 765 schools citywide will have afterschool cultural programs from this council initiative alone. This funding will serve the tens of millions of New Yorkers who will see a show, experience a piece of art, check out a book, or take part in an English as a Second Language class at a library as a result of these increases. With this budget, we have seen an infusion of well over $300 million (expense and capital) added for libraries, culture and the arts.”

This year, nearly $200 million in capital funding is invested in expanding and improving the cultural footprint of our city. This includes significant projects that will build the cultural footprint of Queens as well as the city at large.

The City Council secured nearly $100 million in capital funding for New York City’s three public library systems to make needed repairs and facility upgrades so that our libraries can remain open—six days a week—to all seeking enrichment and a sense of community.

While the capital budget for libraries & cultural organizations is impressive, the expense budget saw $17 million in expanded funding for our libraries to grow their programming and maintain six-day service. This includes $10.3 million that was baselined in the budget.

The Department of Cultural Affairs is the largest cultural grant-giving organization in the country. This budget increases that funding by $20 million, including $6.25 million that was added to the Cultural baseline budget.

“That is why the heartbeat of the arts is so strong in our city—because we, as a city and the City Council, are deeply devoted to capturing the creativity and diversity of our residents,” Van Bramer noted. “In a time of great uncertainty at the federal level, we have built a budget that protects our city, fights inequality, and honors our values of inclusion and empathy.

“As I do every year, I want to report to each of you in more detail on the successes within this budget, both citywide and especially as it relates to our district.”

Major Funding Victories for All New Yorkers:

• Fair Fares: $106 million to fund half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers. Every New Yorker who makes less than $25,000 will be eligible to receive half-priced MetroCards.

• Summer SONYC: $15 million to restore 22,800 summer programs for students grades 6-8 citywide.

• Summer Youth Employment Program: $10.3 million to increase the number of available jobs to 75,000 as well as to raise the minimum wage for those in the program.

• Work, Learn, Grow Jobs Program: $19 million restored in Fiscal Year 19 to provide in-school career readiness training and paid employment opportunities to teens and young adults.

• Supportive Housing: Increase the amount of supportive housing units created annually from 500 to 700.

• Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelters: $3 million to create 60 new shelter beds for 21-to 24-year-olds in need.

• Emergency Food Assistance Program: $8.7 million to provide funding for soup kitchens and food pantries citywide.

• Senior Affordable Housing: $500 million for senior affordable housing targeted at four Housing Preservation and Development sites and two NYCHA sites.

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