April 10, 2017
On April 3rd the City Council released their response to Mayor de Blasio’s FY18 preliminary budget, and it includes some great wins for parks. Under the strong leadership of Parks Committee Chair Mark Levine and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the City Council has demonstrated their commitment to open space.
The City Council budget response includes:
$6 million for 80 additional Parks Enforcement Patrol officers
$9.55m to continue funding 150 critical gardeners and maintenance workers left out of the Mayor’s budget for the third year in row
$1.7m to permanently expand the City’s beach & pool season by a week past Labor Day;
$30m to support additional Parks Without Borders Parks projects;
$3m for 50 new Urban Park Rangers, more than doubling the current 30;
$1m for 10 more Partnership for Parks outreach coordinators; and
$2.6m to expand funding for street tree pruning, allowing the City to return to the 7-year pruning cycle needed to keep trees healthy and streets safe
Mayor de Blasio is now reviewing the response and will soon release his Executive Budget, when the City Council will have another round of hearings. We’ll keep you posted!
While we’ve seen a great commitment to green space from the City Council, an issue of major concern is the potential cut to federal Community Development Block Grants. NYC’s GreenThumb community garden program gets 43 percent of its funding from the program, and the White House has proposed to cut those funds completely. GreenThumb would have to lay off a significant portion of its staff, and have much less money for supplies and tools. This could have a hugely negative impact on the over 500 community gardens that depend on GreenThumb. We’re still waiting to see what the final federal budget will be, and how it will affect New York’s gardens.
Want to learn more about how the city budget is decided? We cover the entire process, including opportunities for the public to get involved, in "How to Influence the City Budget."