Thursday, July 8, 2010

Local Impact of City Budget (South)

By Eric Yun

City Council passed a $63.1 billion budget last Tuesday, preventing massive cuts to critical services like senior centers, daycare programs and fire companies throughout the city.

While some programs have been cut, the council was able to save many by adding approximately $397 million to Mayor Bloomberg’s budget proposal. Several senior centers and daycare centers slated to close were saved by the budget, along with 20 fire companies.

Approximately $165 million of the city’s budget will go to council member’s discretionary funding. These funds help support non-profits in the council member’s district and borough.

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was able to secure $578,321 in discretionary funding and $4.2 million in capital projects for his district. Last year, Ulrich received $360,321 in discretionary funds.

Among the many projects secured by Ulrich is $9,000 each for SAT prep classes at John Adams High School, Franklin K. Lane High School, Chan- nel View School for Research, Robert H. Goddard High School of Communication Arts and Technology, and Beach Channel High School.

Various community projects will also receive funding. The Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation is receiving $35,000 to help clean graffiti throughout District 32. The Department of Parks and Recreation is also receiving $10,000 to support movie and family nights. The Lindenwood Community Volunteer Ambulance Corps will receive $5,000.

Capital projects on the councilman’s agenda will help fund community programs and schools in the district. Cross Bay Boulevard will have a guardrail installed on the southbound approach to Broad Channel. Sidewalks will be repaired and trees will be planted. London Plane Tree Park will be renovated and new fitness equipment will be installed.

Schools throughout the district will receive funds for various projects. John Adams High School was allocated $300,000 to buy 15 security cameras and to create a student computer lab. PS 108 will receive $150,000 for a student computer lab as well. PS 232 will receive $500,000 for a science lab upgrade. PS/MS 47, MS 202, PS 63 and PS 146 will receive $35,000 each to purchase in- teractive white boards and a computer station for teachers.

“At the end of the day, my constituents send millions of dollars in taxpayer revenue to City Hall,” Ulrich told The Forum, “It’s a wonderful feeling to bring some money back into their neighborhoods and keep critical programs and services available to them. It’s just very rewarding.”

Discretionary funds and capital projects are critical in the budget process and support local causes in council member’s districts. Citizens at- tempting to understand how their tax dollars support their district should scrutinize how council members are making specific allocations.

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