NYC Council 2016 Budget Plan: Year-Round Youth Corps

NEW YORK (Hamodia/AP) -

The New York City Council called Tuesday to expand the city’s summer youth employment program, Youth Corps, into a year-round effort that could employ 8,000 youths, among other recommendations in its 2016 budget proposal.

Other proposals include hiring 1,000 more police officers, creating a bail fund for low-level offenses, and resurfacing damaged roads. The council also proposed expanding services for immigrants, providing free lunch for all public school students and allocating more money for critical repairs at public housing buildings.

Mayor Bill de Blasio presented his executive budget last month. A budget deal must be brokered by the end of June.

The Council also called for full restoration of the Priority 5 after-school vouchers, which helps many Orthodox families work. De Blasio has made a campaign promise to restore the program, which was cut by ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009. That promise was postponed to 2016.

While the mayor did not include it in his own budget proposal for the upcoming year, a staffer assured Hamodia that much of it will end up in the final budget, although not all of it.

Additionally, the Council blueprint funds security for private schools on the same level as public schools. The bill, sponsored by Councilman David Greenfield and with 46 co-sponsors, would provide an NYPD school safety agent to any yeshivah that requests them.

Greenfield on Tuesday held a school safety rally with other lawmakers and representatives of the Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim communities’ leaders to promote the bill.

“All of New York’s children deserve to be safe and protected when they go to school,” Greenfield said.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch noted that “non-public students represent more than 25 percent of the 1.4 million schoolchildren in New York City.”

The overwhelmingly Democratic council has largely marched in lockstep with de Blasio, a Democrat, as he has acted to expand the role of city government in people’s lives. But the issue of hiring more police officers is one where they diverge: de Blasio shot down the same proposal last year, saying the money would be better spent elsewhere due to record low crime.

The $1.4 million citywide bail fund would provide bail for defendants charged with low-level misdemeanors with bail set at $2,000 or less. The fund would reduce the number of detainees at Rikers Island, the council said.

“Currently, if you cannot afford bail, you spend on average 24 days in jail for a non-violent offense,” Mark-Viverito said. “This is not justice.”

The council also wants an additional $103 million to resurface 1,500 lane miles of road each year for the next four years. The city has fallen behind in recent years and has a 2,000-lane-mile gap to fill, the council said.