The city council overwhelmingly approved a new $82.1 billion budget this afternoon with little drama. It was a remarkably uneventful and drama-free budget season — perhaps explaining why it was so early. NY1's Courtney Gross filed this report.
For years, it was standard procedure for the City Council to pass the budget late at night and closer to the June 30 deadline.
This year, the Council approved it 17 days early — on Tuesday. Not only is it mid-June, but also it is the middle of the day.
"Now we are ready to pass a budget that's early, fiscally responsible and it addresses the needs of New Yorkers," said Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
"For the record, it was adopted at 3:45 p.m." said Public Advocate Letitia James.
"I am incredibly proud of the work the city council has done on behalf of this city," said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
The $82.1 billion fiscal plan made little news this year. Negotiations were without the drama we have seen in the past.
The focus on Tuesday, at least for some Council members, is what they were able to bring home for their districts in the form of member items — the body's discretionary funding grants it sends to local nonprofit organizations.
"I already knew what I was getting I just wanted to make sure there was no technical errors," said Brooklyn Councilman Antonio Reynoso.
"Nineteen of the 24 initiatives we were looking for we were able to get into schedule C," said Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera.
This year the largest appropriation went to the Hispanic Federation. The whole pot of cash was about $60 million — an increase of about $9 million from last year.
"We've been making sure our initiatives that speak to those priorities are being met and that was part of the ongoing negotiations," the council speaker said.
Despite that, throughout the afternoon Council members raised questions about how much the city was spending and how it needed to save more.
"I would certainly like to see spending reduced," said Staten Island Republican Steven Matteo. "I think we are spending too much."
"Last year we rushed to a budget as well and there are still problems with some of my allocations that we are still trying to resolve," said Manhattan Democrat Rosie Mendez. "And so for all those reasons I do not feel comfortable voting in favor of this budget."
Nonetheless, the Council overwhelmingly approved the fiscal plan by a vote of 48-to-1.