Tag Archives: Mayor

Queens lawmakers celebrate Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office


Updated 12:21 p.m.

Same-sex marriage is constitutional, according to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 5-4 decision issued Friday morning, the court overturned state-imposed bans on same-sex marriage. The court ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry under the 14th Amendment through the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses.

“The fundamental liberties” in the Due Process Clause “extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs,” according to the decision.

Queens lawmakers and gay rights advocates – including City Councilman Daniel Dromm – expressed delight in the decision in statements issued Friday morning.

“Marriage is finally equal,” said Dromm, who is one of Queens’ two openly gay City Council members. “No longer will there be gay marriage or heterosexual marriage – just marriage. As someone who has been in the gay rights movement for over 40 years, it is difficult to express my sentiments. I never thought I would live to see this day. God bless America.”

Dromm will join other Queens LGBTQ activists and supporters on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in front of the Jackson Heights Post Office, located at 78-02 37th Ave., to celebrate the Court’s decision.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who is the second openly gay Queens City Council member, released a statement Friday together with his husband, Dan Hendrick.

“Today’s Supreme Court Decision is a landmark ruling making marriage equality the law of the land. Make no mistake, this decision is historic and breathtaking in its recognition of the equality inherent in love,” Van Bramer said. “We have been moved to tears this morning, knowing that the pain and stigma of being unequal is lifted. Of knowing that our relationship and our love is recognized by our country and is just as valid, beautiful and equal as any other.”

“Thanks to today’s ruling, same-sex couples across the country will no longer be treated as second-class citizens when it comes to issues regarding the family,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said. “This is a great day for those who believe in the dignity of all people.”

“History will remember this day as a watershed moment, a day when ‘we the people’ took another major step toward justice in our enormous and enduring struggle to form a more perfect union,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley.

“When we passed the Marriage Equality Act in 2011, New York sent a message to the nation that it was time to end one of society’s greatest inequities, and I am thrilled to see the court join us on the right side of history,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “Today, we are proud New Yorkers and proud Americans. Today, progress marches on.”

“One of my proudest moments as a legislator was my vote for marriage equality in New York State; today I am equally proud that the United States Supreme Court extended these rights to all Americans,” said Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas. “This ruling sends a strong message that bigotry and intolerance will not be the law of the land.”

“Our country will finally afford millions of Americans the rights they have always deserved, but until now were unable to exercise,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Today, this country is richer – filled with more equality, more acceptance, and more love than yesterday. And for the people of this city, where the movement for LGBT rights began in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, we can be proud that we helped blaze the trail to this great victory.”

“From this moment on and for generations to come, marriage equality is a civil and human right for LGBTQ couples and no one – no matter where you live in this country or who you love – will be denied that right,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“As has been said, ‘the arc of history is long and it bends in the direction of justice,” said Sen. Charles Schumer. “Thank you to five Supreme Court heroes for helping bend it a little sooner.”

The court was ideologically split in its decision, as Justice Anthony Kennedy – regarded as its most moderate member – sided in the majority with the court’s four liberal justices: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer. The conservative wing – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito – voted in the minority.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Supreme Court

Photo courtesy of U.S. Supreme Court


Mayor de Blasio welcomes thousands to Gracie Mansion

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Twitter/@NYCMayorsOffice

Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed thousands of New Yorkers to Gracie Mansion Sunday, giving them a tour of the historic building he called the “People’s House.”

“It’s been a pleasure sharing the inauguration with residents from all five boroughs,” the mayor said, “and I can’t think of a better way to end the week than by spending it with New Yorkers.”

Guests were greeted with tunes from Make Music New York — a nonprofit group, featuring Grammy-nominated opera singer Christopher Dylan Herbert — and the New York City Housing Authority Youth Chorus.

Tickets for the open house, distributed online, quickly sold out last week.

A long line wrapped around the future home of the de Blasios at the corner of 88th Street and East End Avenue beginning about noon, according to the NYC Mayor’s Office Twitter account.



Mayor de Blasio shovels snow at Park Slope home

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@BilldeBlasio

Even the mayor of New York City shovels his own snow.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was hard at work outside of his Park Slope, Brooklyn home Friday morning shoveling snow from the sidewalk.

The newly-inaugurated mayor, tweeted a photo of himself shoveling, along with a message promoting the city’s PlowNYC feature, which posts online real-time updates of the Department of Sanitation’s snow clearance operations throughout the five boroughs.

In an interview with NY1 Friday morning, de Blasio gave some tips on how to shovel.

“Don’t lift with your back, lift with your knees,” he told NY1.

He also said his 16-year-old son Dante, who, as a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School, has the day off from school, would be helping with the snow clearing, NY1 reported.

A short time later that morning, the teen made an appearance in front of the media and shoveled and salted his home’s walkway.

At a press briefing on the storm Friday, the mayor said his son “was not an early riser,” but had now contributed to the clearing of the city’s sidewalks.




De Blasio swears in Bill Bratton as NYPD Commissioner

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via NYC Mayor's Office Flickr

The city’s Police Department has officially changed hands.

Mayor Bill de Blasio publicly administered the oath of office to Bratton, 66, at Police Headquarters Thursday afternoon after he was officially sworn in as NYPD Commissioner during a private ceremony at Police Headquarters just after midnight on Jan 1.

Speaking before administrating the oath, de Blasio declared that the City of New York was in good hands with Bratton, dubbing him “the greatest police leader anywhere in the land.”

“Bill Bratton at his essence is a progressive crime fighter,” the mayor said.

This is Bratton’s second time as the city’s top cop. He previously led the NYPD from 1994 to 1996 under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Bratton replaces Raymond Kelly, who had been commissioner since 2002.

Bratton was also the Los Angeles Police Department’s chief from 2002 to 2009, and served as the Boston police commissioner before first coming to New York.

During his time with the NYPD, Bratton created tactics that are credited with cutting the steep crime rate in half, including COMPSTAT and real-time crime analysis.

“Who says you can’t come home again? And it is home and it’s great to be back,” Bratton said after taking Thursday’s oath.

Bratton promised under his watch policing in the city would be done constitutionally, respectively and with more collaboration.

He also vowed to bring more trust between New Yorkers and the NYPD, asking why in a city where the police have done so much to keep their citizens safe, “people don’t feel good about a [police] department.”

Bratton, who was long-rumored to be de Blasio’s pick along with NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks and First Deputy Commissioner Rafael Pineiro, was appointed by de Blasio on Dec. 5.

De Blasio ran for mayor on the promise to reform the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practice, and again pledged to “reform a broken stop-and-frisk policy” in his inauguration speech Wednesday.

Though Bratton promised to “heal the wounds” caused by stop-and-frisk at his appointment announcement, critics are concerned over de Blasio’s selection of a commissioner who they call the “widely-credited ‘architect’ of stop-and-frisk.”

New Yorkers Against Bratton, who made the statement, planned a protest Thursday outside of Police Headquarters, following de Blasio’s swearing-in of Bratton.

“We are committed to opposing Bratton’s return as NYPD Commissioner. We ask that the mayor remove Bratton immediately and work with the community in selecting a commissioner that will signify a break from the past-not a continuation of it,” the group said in an email announcing the protest.

-With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Thursday: Cloudy. Light snow likely this afternoon. Temps nearly steady around 30. Winds NE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 40%. Thursday night: Periods of snow. Low 16. Winds NNE at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 90%. 5 to 8 inches of snow expected.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Pop Americano!

From the creators of “Comedy Outliers” comes “Pop Americano!” a fun, interactive show where a panel of comedians breakdown current pop culture and political news. Propelled by it’s use of news clips, sound bites and a quick round of pop culture trivia, “Pop Americano” is a show you can’t miss! 10 p.m. at The Creek and the Cave in Long Island City. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Storm bringing near-blizzard conditions to NYC

The year is starting out with a shot of nasty weather that is predicted to bring near-blizzard conditions to the city. Read more: The Queens Courier

NYPD: Queens shooting is city’s first murder of 2014

A man shot to death in Jamaica Wednesday is the first homicide of the year, police said. Read more: The Queens Courier

De Blasio sworn in as 109th mayor of New York City

New York City’s 109th mayor, Bill de Blasio, was sworn in during a ceremony at his Park Slope, Brooklyn home just after midnight Wednesday, followed by a formal inauguration on the steps of City Hall later that day. Read more: The Queens Courier

Freed ailing ex-terror trial lawyer arrives in NYC

A dying former civil rights lawyer convicted in a terrorism case but released early from prison has arrived in New York City. Read more: AP

Three Rangers named to U.S. Olympic squad

The New York Rangers will be well-represented at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, at least as far the U.S. Men’s Hockey team is concerned. Read more: ABC New York



De Blasio sworn in as 109th mayor of New York City

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos via NYC Mayor's Office Flickr/Official Photos by New York City Mayor's Office

Updated 1:30 p.m.

The Bloomberg era has ended and the de Blasio administration has begun.

New York City’s 109th mayor, Bill de Blasio, was sworn in during a ceremony at his Park Slope, Brooklyn home just after midnight Wednesday, followed by a formal inauguration on the steps of City Hall later that day.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman officiated the New Year’s Eve oath of office, which was also attended by the mayor’s wife Chirlane McCray, daughter Chiara and son Dante.

“From the beginning, this has been our family together reaching out to the people of this city to make a change that we all needed. I want to thank you for having brought us to this moment,” de Blasio said after taking the oath in front of his home.

“To everyone this is the beginning of a road we will travel together,” he added.

Former President Bill Clinton swore in de Blasio on the steps of City Hall with a bible once owned by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

De Blasio previously served as a regional director in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration and managed Hillary Clinton’s 2000 U.S. Senate campaign. Both endorsed de Blasio for mayor in the general election.

Before administering the oath, Clinton said it had been a “great joy” for his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and him to see de Blasio’s progress “because he has served with such passion and because he represents with his family the future of our city and the future of our country.”

Telling New Yorkers “our work begins today,” in his inauguration speech de Blasio pledged to expand the pay sick leave law, require big developers to build affordable housing, stem the tide of hospital closures, reform a broken stop-and-frisk policy and ask the wealthy to pay a little more in taxes to provide universal, full-day pre-k and after-school programs for middle schoolers.

“We won’t wait, we’’ll do it now,” he said.

“Let me be clear: When I said I would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it. And we will do it.” he added.

A thousand tickets were reserved for the general public to attend the public swearing-in ceremony, with de Blasio pledging that it would be an “inauguration for all New Yorkers.”

Several dozen New Yorkers from across the city were additionally invited to join the mayor on stage. The group included a Queens engineer who emigrated from Bangladesh, according to de Blasio.

Mayor de Blasio takes the subway with his family to his City Hall inauguration.

Queens resident and the 2014 New York City Youth Poet Laureate, Ramya Ramana, read an original poem at the inauguration, which she dedicated to de Blasio.

Ramana, a first generation Indian-American, grew up in the borough and recently won the New York Knicks’ Poetry scholarship to St. John’s University, where she is a first-year student, according to the mayor.

Letitia James, who is succeeding de Blasio as public advocate was also sworn in at City Hall Wednesday. The councilmember is the first woman of color to hold citywide office. Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President since 2006, was sworn in as city comptroller, replacing John Liu.



De Blasio’s daughter admits to issues with substance abuse, depression

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s daughter Chiara admitted in a video posted Tuesday to substance abuse and years of battling depression.

In the five-minute YouTube clip, the 19-year-old college student said she had clinical depression for her entire adolescence, and alcohol and drugs helped her deal with those issues.

“It made it easier, like the more I drank and did drugs, to share some common ground with people that I wouldn’t have,” she said.

“It didn’t start out as a like a huge thing for me, but then it became a really huge thing for me.”

She said she thought her problems would go away in college, but admitted to drinking and smoking weed while there.

A therapist helped her by referring to her an outpatient treatment center in New York City.

Now sober, Chiara said she wanted to share her personal story in the hopes of helping others.

“As parents, our instinct has been to protect our daughter and privately help her through a deeply personal struggle. But not only has Chiara committed to her own health, she is also committed to helping young people everywhere who face similar challenges,” the mayor-elect and his wife said in an emailed statement that linked to the video.

“Her courage to speak out demonstrates a wisdom and maturity far beyond her 19 years, and we are grateful every day for her commitment to lifting up those who need to know that they are not alone.”





John Liu’s ex-campaign workers sentenced to prison

| mchan@queenscourier.com

City Comptroller John Liu painted the Thursday sentencing and overall investigation of his two former campaign workers as a “set up a weak man and a wonderful young woman.”

His ex-campaign treasurer and fundraiser will serve time in prison for less than a year for funneling illegal contributions in a straw donor scheme during his bid for mayor.

Jia “Jenny” Hou, 26, was sentenced to 10 months in prison on October 10 for attempting to commit wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing justice.

The former campaign treasurer from Flushing will also be under supervision for three years.

Another aide, Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, will serve four months in prison and three years under supervision for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and attempting to commit wire fraud.

The 47-year-old of New Jersey was a fundraiser and contribution bundler for Liu.

“For reasons I may never fully understand, the U.S. Attorney’s Office set out to destroy me with what has been described as an extraordinarily intrusive and exhaustive investigation,” Liu said in a statement. “Failing to find that I had done anything wrong, they proceeded to set up a weak man and a wonderful young woman.”

The comptroller, who lost his Democratic primary for mayor in September, said Hou did not deserve the “ordeal and injustice she has been put through.”

He said she was “a good person and exceptional individual” when she was found guilty in May.

Federal officials said Hou and Pan evaded Campaign Finance Board restrictions that limit donor contributions to citywide candidates to $4,950.

The pair used straw donors, prosecutors said, or individuals who illegally make political contributions in their own names with money they have received from others.

Hou was caught offering to reimburse an individual for donations well-above the allowed amount during a series of instant messages on July 14, court records show.

Prosecutors said she also instructed campaign volunteers on how to imitate the handwriting of campaign donors on the contribution forms in order to make it appear official.

Hou also failed to give up documents with identities of several campaign contributors in response to subpoenas and lied about producing them, according to court records.

Pan was caught funneling $16,000 in campaign contributions by an undercover FBI agent, who posed as a businessperson interested in supporting the comptroller, records show.

Liu was not accused of any wrongdoing. However, the trial kept Liu’s campaign from receiving public matching funds that could have doubled his war chest. 

“I am very sad but even more angry at what has occurred,” Liu said after the sentencing of his former aides.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office was wrong and should not be proud of its conduct.”


Bill de Blasio announces candidacy for mayor

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Instagram/De Blasio NYC

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has officially placed his name in the running to be the next mayor.

“We deserve a city government that actually believes in our neighborhoods and sees things the way we do,” said de Blasio at his announcement on Sunday, January 27 outside his Park Slope home.

Photo courtesy of the Office of Bill de Blasio 

“I stand before this city today as someone seeking to be a mayor of our neighborhoods — good, clean, strong, safe neighborhoods,” said the Democratic candidate, flanked by his wife and son.

Throughout his career, de Blasio has fought to expand early childhood education, tenants’ rights and job opportunities, according to his campaign website.

“We can only get to a better place by declaring, ‘this is our city and this government works for us,’” he said.

 Supporters gathered outside of Bill de Blasio’s Park Slope home to hear his announcement for mayor. (Photo courtesy of Twitter/@deBlasioNYC )



Op-Ed: Rebuilding our city with private investment

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

TA Stuy Speech at MicSmileCrop

The recent superstorm, Sandy, has devastated large parts of our city, and while we must continue to help those neighborhoods still in need, we also must begin to figure out how we move forward to avoid this large-scale suffering again.

First of all, our power grid is extremely fragile and in need of serious upgrade. Too many of New York’s electrical lines are above ground, which will always leave us at the mercy of Mother Nature, who seems to be more mercurial these days, probably because we are not treating her planet as well as we should.

We need to look at how the electrical and energy grid can be upgraded, safeguarded and backed up. This includes investing in new power plants in safe areas (why was a Con Edison plant near a hurricane zone?), figuring out how to move as many power lines as we can underground, and developing a gasoline back-up strategy (New York City reserves?) so we do not have a crippling shortage in future emergencies.

Beyond developing an energy and electricity policy for New York City that protects us going forward, we need to develop plans to rebuild in our precious waterfront communities that are safe and cost-effective. Do we need to set back our communities from the waterfront and put up walls or levees to protect them?

With our crucial subway system, there is one relatively inexpensive quick fix. Like Singapore has done, we should build elevated entrances at subway stations that are vulnerable to flooding. Just imagine walking up a few steps before you then head underground so that our subway stations are protected in the future.

On a more macro level, how do we now protect our citizens in places like Queens, lower Manhattan and waterfront sections of Brooklyn and Staten Island in a cost-effective way? Perhaps we need to look at private-public partnerships that allow private investment dollars in our waterfront to help fund the necessary investments like large river gates.

How can we turn areas of our city’s waterfront into thriving marinas which bring in private investment dollars, while at the same time funding our necessary safety precautions like sea gates or protective walls?

Imagine a New York waterfront that attracts boats — large and small — from along the eastern seaboard and where our citizens can go to enjoy a day at the shore and eat and shop along the waterfront.

We see small pockets of this at our piers on the West Side of Manhattan or near Battery Park City, but we can do more to develop our waterfront in such a way that will create new jobs, new tax revenue and new ways to fund our necessary infrastructure improvements.

We must heal our communities while we also learn the necessary lessons from our recent superstorm devastation. We must not let ourselves be lulled into stasis as we were after Hurricane Irene. We can rebuild and make New York a better, safer place. Let that process begin now.

Tom Allon is Republican and Liberal Party-backed candidate for mayor in 2013


Quinn leads crowded field for 2013 mayoral nod; More than a third of voters still undecided

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Council Speaker Christine Quinn remained at the head of the field in the 2013 mayoral race, though her once wide margin has shrunk.

NY1-Marist Poll released a poll surveying registered city voters on next year’s race for mayor with Quinn coming out on top with the support of 23 percent of Democrats. She was followed by former Comptroller Bill Thompson with 15 percent, Comptroller John Liu at 9 percent and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio with 8 percent.

With any primary at least eight months away, 37 percent of Democratic voters remain undecided.

“There’s still a long way to go before Democrats go to the polls,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

The amount of undecided voters actually increased from the last poll in April, when under 30 percent of voters were unsure. Quinn’s lead also shrunk over the past six months. In April, she held a 20 point lead over Thompson.

Manhattan Media CEO Tom Allon received 2 percent in the poll, double his support from the first poll, though he no longer is a registered Democrat. The poll was conducted before Allon switched parties to run in a less-crowded Republican field.

Forty-six percent of voters in the city do not want another possible Republican candidate — Police Commissioner Ray Kelly — to run.

Despite rumors of former Congressmember Anthony Weiner considering a 2013 run, 58 percent of voters said they do not want him to enter the race. Weiner fared better than actor Alec Baldwin, who two-thirds of New Yorkers do not want to see run.

Whoever takes over the office will be following a mayor 12 percent of voters will believe will be remembered one of the city’s best mayors. Forty-three percent of voters believe Mayor Michael Bloomberg will leave a positive legacy and 8 percent think he’ll be considered one of the city’s worst mayors.

Malcolm Smith denies Republican run for mayor

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Malcolm Smith #8

Conflicting reports have come out about a Democrat state senator considering a run for mayor next year as a Republican.

The New York Post reported on Wednesday, August 1, that State Senator Malcolm Smith, who was the majority leader when the party held the senate, was in talks with the state Republican party about running in 2013. The Post reported that Smith confirmed he was in talks with the party.

A spokesperson for the senator, however, said the six-term state lawmaker was focusing on his re-election campaign for the 14th District, which is made up of the Rockaways and areas of southeast Queens.

“Malcolm Smith is focused on running for re-election for New York State Senator for which he has proudly served the people of the 14th electorial district over 12 years,” the spokesperson said. “He is honored that party leaders are considering him for the office of the mayor of New York City but no decision has been made.”

At deadline, state GOP chair Ed Cox had not responded to a call for comment.

If Smith was to run as a Republican, he would need backing from party leaders in at least three boroughs.

Queens GOP chair Phil Ragusa said neither the party, nor Smith, had contacted Republicans in the borough about getting an endorsement. He went on to say that Smith — if he does decide to run for the GOP — would most likely not pass the party’s screening process.

“We ask a question if you’ve ever done anything that would embarrass yourself, or the Republican party, and I don’t think he could pass that test,” Ragusa said.

Republicans have won almost every mayoral election over the last 20 years. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani won in 1993 and 1997; incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg won in 2001 and 2005. Bloomberg won his third term as an Independent in 2009, after changing party affiliation in 2007.

Other Democrats, who have discussed running as Democrats, include City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Balanced budget saves child care, libraries and fire companies

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the mayor's office

Without raising the tax bar, education, child care, libraries and other city services will be spared – despite original concerns of heavy cuts – in the 2013 Fiscal Year budget, city officials announced Monday, June 25 attributing the balanced budget to several cost-saving methods.

“When times were better, the city set aside surplus revenue — and when the first storm clouds gathered in 2007, we began cutting budgets,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “These actions — and our work over the past decade to diversify the economy and make it less reliant on Wall Street — have allowed us avoid the severe service cuts that many other cities are facing.”

About $150 million will be added from the mayor’s May Executive Budget, which proposed a large child care cut, to the Administration for Children’s Services Child Care Program and the Department of Youth and Community Development Out-of-School Time program, ensuring child care stays well-funded in the City.

The funding is a major accomplishment for child care, said Gregory Brender, policy advisor for United Neighborhood Houses.

“It’s a big victory for child care,” he said. “Losing spots was terrifying to parents around the city.”

In addition, roughly 1,000 teachers will be added, it was announced, and several hundred teacher’s aide jobs will be spared.

Because of about $90 million going toward the library system, more than 600 Queens Library jobs will be saved, according to a statement from the Library. There will also be no cuts to hours, but there will be limited reductions to services, said Joanne King, Queens Library associate director of communications.

“Our advocates in City Hall have kept libraries a priority through the last several budgets,” she said. “We know the people of Queens will be very appreciative.”

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, who chairs the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, said the twenty fire houses saved from elimination was a relief to New Yorkers and they would continue to keep the city safe.

“We can all rest assured knowing that the people of the city of New York will be safe,” Crowley said. “Closing even one fire company would have reduced response times and people’s lives would have hung in the balance. So for me today it’s gratifying to know that’s one less worry.”

Although the budget is balanced and ahead of the June 30 deadline, the Mayor’s office acknowledged there will be a $2.5 billion budget gap for the 2014 fiscal year.

“We face a significant challenge again next year, but given the effective and fiscally responsible partnership we’ve had with the Council – and the leadership we know we can rely on from Speaker Christine Quinn – I’m confident we’ll meet any challenges that arise,” Bloomberg said.

Additional reporting by Billy Rennison

Mayor announces balanced budget; fire companies, libraries and child care saved

| brennison@queenscourier.com

With severe cuts to fire companies, child care and libraries looming, an on-time, balanced city budget was agreed upon with all services restored, the mayor announced.

“We produced an on-time, balanced budget that does not raise taxes and preserves central services we all rely on,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the press conference announcing the budget on Monday, June 25.

An agreement between the city council and mayor on the budget came well ahead of the June 30 deadline.

Council speaker Christine Quinn said the approximately $68.5 billion budget was “a statement of priorities.”

Twenty fire companies and more than 40,000 day care and after-school spots faced elimination in the preliminary budget. More than $26 million was scheduled to be cut from the library’s budget which would have forced 18 libraries in Queens to shut their doors.

Bloomberg said he was sure the final budget would have all the cuts restored.

“We’ve done it every year,” he said.

While the cuts were restored this time, it may be harder in next year’s budget, the mayor said. The 2014 fiscal year faces a $2.5 billion budget gap.



Mayor Michael Bloomberg reveals revised city budget

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Mayor Michael Bloomberg today revealed a revised balanced budget that will retain nearly 2,000 teacher positions that he proposed eliminating in his preliminary plan.

The $68.7 million budget includes no tax increases.

“Our budget won’t impose any new taxes on New Yorkers, maintains the strength of the NYPD and continues our strong support for public schools,” said Bloomberg.

Under the preliminary budget, released in February, 1,800 teachers would have been lost through attrition.

The budget will be balanced partly in thanks to a $466 million settlement with Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) from the alleged CityTime scandal.

The city experienced growth in tax revenue as the economy continues a gradual recovery, the mayor said.

“Our efforts in the tech, TV and film, tourism and higher education sectors are producing results, with private employment now at its highest level ever in the city, exceeding the record set back in 1969, and we expect this growth in private sector jobs to continue,” Bloomberg said.

The new forecast included an increase of $185 million in expenditures and a $122 million decrease in revenue from the preliminary budget

The budget will now go through council hearings. The new fiscal year begins on July 1.