Friday, December 19, 2014

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Mayor, City Council Reach Agreement on $75 Billion Budget

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With the traditional handshake in the rotunda of City Hall, the City Council and the mayor reached a deal late Thursday on the city budget. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Eleven days before the deadline, the City Council and the mayor reached a deal on a approximately $75 billion budget.

"It's also one of the earliest budget agreements in recent history," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

It is the first for de Blasio and his partner at the City Council, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and they were both eager to champion how it was an example of how the two sides of City Hall could work together.

"She set a tone and an approach that was about cooperation, inclusion, dialogue," de Blasio said.

"He really opened himself up, opened his administration up, to truly engage in a collaborative manner," Mark-Viverito said.

The Council's top priority, adding 1,000 new police officers to the NYPD's ranks, did not make the cut. The mayor rejected the proposal. The Council, though, did get a compromise of 200 new police administrative aides. Council officials say police officers who are now behind desks will be put back on the beat.

"As a result of a series of conversations, we found that this was the right combination that would get the job done," de Blasio said.

It is a true victory for all of our communities who are going to see these additional personnel in our local precincts," Mark-Viverito said.

The Council did secure another one of its goals, funding to provide free lunch to all middle-school children.

"That's a tremendous victory for the people of the city of New York," said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. "There are so many other victories like that in this budget."

Like keeping open 57 community centers that were slated for closure at the city's public housing developments.

The budget also adds millions of dollars in spending for mental health services on Rikers Island, and it keeps the City Council's member items, otherwise known as discretionary spending members dole out to community groups. It was a pot of cash that the mayor threatened to lose.

"I think the term they use in diplomacy is détente," de Blasio said. "We have a philosophical disagreement."

Thursday night's announcement was largely ceremonial. The City Council is expected to vote on the budget next week.

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