Friday, March 19, 2010

Parks Committee Budget Hearing - March 24, at 2:00PM

Parks Committee Budget Hearing

What:  Park and Recreation Committee Budget Hearing
When:  Wednesday - March 24, 2:00
Where: City Hall Council Chambers -2nd floor.

As concerned New Yorkers who live, work and care about our parks, open spaces and public recreation programs it is very important that the public comes out to testify for an appropriate parks budget. Our elected officials need to hear how vital these services are and the importance of properly funding them. This is also the first budget hearing for Melissa Mark-Viverito as Parks Chair, and for many new committee members.

Over the last 40 years no other city agency has lost a greater percentage of its workforce than the Parks Department.  Despite a $ 3 Billion Surplus this year  (IBO - March 4, 2010)  Mayor Bloomberg is proposing allocating a historic low amount of city funds to maintain the operate the Parks Department.  Under Bloomberg's $ 63.6 Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year 2011 the Parks Department’s budget from city funds would be reduced from $264 million  - to $239 million

This would represent only a 0.37% allocation of the city budget in city funds to maintain and operate parks which would be a historic low. The agency is responsible for 14% of the City's land. Mr. Bloomberg’s overall proposed budget is $560 million larger than last year.

Severe cuts being proposed under the Mayor's plan include staff and programs:

• The Mayor's forecast for the next year and a half calls for the Parks Department to lose 748 out of 3,722 full-time jobs (20%).  And if you count full-time and full time equivalent head-count they lose 1,156 jobs.

•  450 seasonal jobs delayed or cut this year.

• Four pools will be closed all summer and the swimming season will be shortened by two weeks citywide.  (NYC already ranks dead last in the provision of public swimming pools for a high density city) This would save $1.4 million in FY 2011 according to the mayor. 

• . Eliminate 173 full-time positions either voluntarily or through lay-offs.   The target goal is 173 positions but according to the DPR's budget office "there is no cap."

•  The full-time and seasonal hiring freeze will affect many staffing areas, including the maintenance and operation.  Severe cuts include $ 4.5 million over the next few months for Job Training Participants, (JTP's) and $ 10 million reduction next year. The last number represents s 25% cut in the program.  The federal government puts in fifty percent of the JTP's forty million dollar budget with the city and state splitting the rest.  These positions are essential in providing basic cleaning services during the busiest season for parks. 

These cuts would be devastating to all already decimated agency.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call Geoffrey Croft at NYC Park Advocates - (212) 987 0565


IBO Testimony - March 4, 2010

Cuts,  Layoffs Looming for Parks Department - A Walk In The Park - March 1, 2010


  1. I hope you mention the boondoggle of a project. The Seaside " Marty Markowitz" Amphitheater. The total waste of taxpayer money . The land grab , which will kill the only OPEN GREEN SPACE park in West Brighton Beach.
    I wish I was able to attend but I am not able to. I have to make a living for my family. You must be the residents voice.

  2. The purported Brooklyn Bridge Park is constantly patrolled day AND NIGHT. I overlook this stretch of emptiness. The lights of patrol cars are visible - they are there. Who is paying for this useless activity and why? Is this an attempt to prove just how expensive parks are? This is wasteful to the nth degree.

  3. It was a sad but telling moment when the Parks Department left City Hall just before the public was allowed to testify.