Bleeding cash, de Blasio outlines $2.7B in cuts, higher fines
Mayor’s budget proposal adds $12 million from building violations
With the hobbled city facing a $7.4 billion hit to tax revenue, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced $2.7 billion in cuts — as well as a bump in revenue from building violations.
The mayor’s executive budget plan slashes his preliminary budget, announced in January, to $89.3 billion from $95 billion. Its list of expected savings includes $12 million in additional revenue from “hazardous violations” issued by the Department of Buildings.
Representatives from the mayor’s office did not immediately provide more information on what violations would be targeted.
But the city has ramped up enforcement of building exterior safety since a woman was killed in December by a piece of falling terra cotta near Times Square. And the executive budget indicates that the city will collect another $4 million in 2021 from “improved penalty enforcement for failure to file elevator inspection reports.”
TRD has previously reported on the discrepancy between the city’s issuance and collection of fines, including for façade and elevator violations.
During a press conference Thursday, the mayor called on the federal government — which unlike states and localities does not have to balance its budget — to send money.
“It’s clearly time for President Trump to speak up. I let him know what’s going on in his hometown,” de Blasio said. “The only way to recover is if New York City and all our cities are able to come back strong and are able to function.”
The city, which in this fiscal year and the one starting July 1 faces nearly $10 billion in coronavirus-related revenue losses, plans to tap into its $2.18 billion in reserves and into the Battery Park City Authority Housing Trust Fund for housing-related expenditures. The executive budget also indicates that $2.9 million from the Economic Development Corp. will be dedicated to environment impact studies conducted by City Planning.
The mayor said the budget focuses “overwhelmingly [on] health, safety, food, shelter.” He also announced Thursday that the city is providing 11,000 free hotel rooms to healthcare professionals, homeless people and those in “overcrowded households, especially multigenerational” who are unable to quarantine safely.
The Independent Budget Office released a report Thursday predicting a $14 billion shortfall in tax revenue through fiscal year 2022. The executive budget indicates drops in revenue year-over-year from hotel occupancy, property transfer and mortgage recording taxes. The decreases next year from fiscal 2020 are respectively projected at $120 million, $292 million and $277 million.
The budget must still be negotiated with the City Council and passed by the end of June.
Write to Kathryn Brenzel at firstname.lastname@example.org