Environmental Wins and Losses in the 2023 NYC Budget

On June 13, NYC’s budget for the fiscal year of 2023 was voted on and passed 2 weeks ahead of schedule. There are a number of key takeaways from the budget regarding implications on the parks, transportation, sanitation, and building energy and emissions sectors – all of which are important to protecting the environment of NYC and the climate at large. A specific, itemized list of the money set aside for each sector may be found at the bottom of each section below. NYLCV had specific budget priorities for 2023 – these may be found here. While some of our priorities were not met, the results of this year’s budget are generally positive. The wins and losses of the NYC FY2023 budget are discussed, by sector, below. 



The parks sector is highly important to NYLCV, being valuable to both NYC’s environment and the climate. Parks and green spaces provide a number of environmental benefits to the city, such as protection from runoff and the urban heat island effect, both of which could have devastating consequences. Of course, the plant life of these spaces also helps combat the climate crisis by absorbing CO2

NYLCV worked with the Play Fair for Parks Coalition to expand funding for parks – specifically, we campaigned for 1% of the NYC budget to be put towards parks to ensure their effective maintenance and protection. 

Around .6% of the budget has been set aside for parks in the FY23 budget. While this is far from the 1% NYLCV hoped for, this remains a landmark achievement – parks are receiving the largest budget they have ever received in NYC history. This budget allocation acts as a down payment towards the 1% Mayor Eric Adams promised while running for office; we expect and look forward to working towards the full 1% promised over the next few years.

The 715 positions that were baselined represents another big win for the sector. The insurance that parks will never get fewer than 715 workers per year ensures that parks will be better maintained and protected year round.  Positions secured included city park workers (CPWs), gardeners, and Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers.

  • $44.1 million for Parks Department Maintenance and Summer Workforce
  • $4.1 million to support 50 Urban Park Rangers
  • $2.6 million to support Green Thumb Gardens
  • $2.5 million for Forest Management
  • $2 million for Tree Stump Removal



Creating, improving, and encouraging the use of low emission modes of transportation as an alternative to cars is another key priority of NYLCV. By shifting away from the extensive use of cars in the city, carbon emissions will fall considerably and help safeguard the climate and reduce local air pollution. 

We strongly supported the funding of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) NYC Streets Plan, an extensive five-year plan proposed last year that would expand and improve public transportation options and transition NYC’s streets away from being entirely car-dominated, focusing on equity and safety. Some of its ongoing plans and aims are listed below:

  • Construct an average of 30 miles of protected bus lanes and 50 miles of protected bike lanes per year
  • Add 1,000,000ft2 of pedestrian space by December 31, 2023
  • Ensure equity of transportation investments citywide by identifying Priority Investment Areas (PIAs), in which low-income and non-white population shares are weighted higher
  • Improve the safety of streets all roadway users by implementing new street designs, increasing penalties for dangerous drivers, and more

The Streets Plan has received $53 million in annual operations funding – i.e., funding for the DOT’s daily operations during the plan’s implementation until June 30, 2026 – and an average of $115 million each year for capital projects to implement the plan. 



NYLCV is a strong advocate for the greater use of organic recycling. In order to achieve the city’s goal of reducing waste sent to landfills by 90% by 2030 as part of the 0x30 plan, organic recycling must be vastly expanded considering organics comprise a third of NYC’s residential waste. 

The key goal of NYLCV in the sanitation sector was to fully return funding to the curbside organics collection pilot program that was first introduced eight years ago. The pilot program has received highly inconsistent support, and the pandemic has severely cut the program’s funding. We worked to fully fund the pilot and work towards its expansion into new neighborhoods.

Disappointingly, this pilot program was not fully restored in the FY23 budget.  While this result remains unfortunate, there were other wins in the sanitation sector that expanded and established waste reduction measures:

  • $9.2 million to enhance the School Organics Collection Program
  • $1.4 million to restore E-waste Collection
  • $3.5 million for Organics Drop-Off Sites
  • $1.28 million for a Public Waste Container Pilot
  • $2.9 million for the Zero Waste Schools Educational Program & Stop’N’Swap Program


Building Energy and Emissions 

The many large buildings of NYC are a large source of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, which are harmful to the climate and the local environment. Thus, the proper regulation of building emissions in the city is another priority of NYLCV. 

The key takeaway from the NYC budget in the sector of building energy and emissions relates to Local Law 97 (LL97), an extensive 2019 law that sets emissions and energy efficiency limits for large buildings; these limits become more stringent at certain intervals, with the first deadline set for January 2024. The law also includes some programs that will help monitor and manage progress on achieving the above limits, such as establishing/administering protocols to assess annual energy use in buildings. 

LL97 has not seen much movement on the government side – the aforementioned programs are, largely, not being rolled out due to the sheer lack of resources behind the sector overall. The Office of Building and Energy and Emissions Performance (OBEEP), the office responsible for rolling out LL97, has a miniscule number of staff for their gargantuan task – nowhere near enough to make anything move. 

Fortunately, the NYLCV’s call for greater funding of OBEEP did not fall on deaf ears – the 2023 budget sets aside much more funding to assist in the implementation of Local Law 97. This is certainly a success. With these extra resources, we hope and expect to see greater strides taken in improving the efficiency of large buildings in NYC. 

  • $2.4 million to enhance the Office of Building Energy and Emissions


By Elijah VanderMolen