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Mayor De Blasio Exercises Financial Caution In $82.1 Billion 2017 Budget

January 22, 2016



NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio presented his 2017 fiscal budget Thursday, totaling $82.1 billion.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the budget was cautious – with an eye on the ups and downs of Wall Street. It saves money for a rainy day and includes new service investments.

“We don’t need to always have splashy new things when we feel that the choices we made are going to have a huge impact if we implement right,” de Blasio said.

The mayor noted that with Wall Street in correction territory and oil prices plummeting, caution was mandated.

The budget calls for a $1 billion general reserve to hedge against economic uncertanity, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

The mayor proposed an $82 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, which puts billions into various reserve funds – just in case – and asks agencies to find creative ways to save money.

The budget has $1 billion worth of economies – large and small alike – such as switching to red asphalt instead of red paint for bus lanes to save $2.5 million.

But like most budgets, there are also new priorities.

“We know that we have to make targeted investments, because we’re looking at the question of what builds a long-term economically strong city,” the mayor said.

The mayor proposed $740 million worth of new programs and plans. As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, among the plans is a proposal for a new $47 million boat for the Staten Island Ferry line.

De Blasio is also asking for more than $5 million to beef up ambulance service in The Bronx and Queens.

The budget includes $3 million to expand the NYPD’s ShotSpotter program, which detects the location of gunfire in New York City neighborhoods. The move would more than double the coverage areas and include precincts in all five boroughs, the mayor’s office said.

In the wake of an alleged gang rape of an 18-year-old at a Brownsville, Brooklyn playground, the mayor is asking to hire more than 100 full-time and seasonal parks security officers — a 30 percent increase.

Combating homelessness is also a target of investment for the mayor in 2017.

De Blasio’s plan includes $8 million for a Shelter Repair Squad 2.0; $12.3 million to move New Yorkers out of illegal housing to permanent homes; $4 million to double the number of single adults at risk of homelessness assisted to stay in their homes; $16.9 million for adult shelter programming; and $12.5 million to operate the first of 15,000 new supportive housing units.

The proposed budget also makes massive investments in the city’s public schools, including $868 million allocated toward adding 11,800 new seats to combat overcrowding.

The mayor also plans to hire 327 new traffic enforcement agents to reduce congestion, invest in a crackdown on synthetic marijuana or K2, and prevent elder abuse.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer praised the mayor for putting money aside for a rainy day, but said the city needs a larger cushion “in order to be prepared for the next financial meltdown.”

The mayor will propose a final budget in the spring.

New York CBS