The NYC Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office are currently negotiating adjustments to the Executive Budget for fiscal year (FY) 2020. Every year, NYLCV reviews the NYC Mayor’s Executive Budget and sets budget priorities that help advance New York City’s sustainability agenda. Click here to read the full version and a summary is below.
In order to combat climate change, we must reduce waste and increase recycling. The City has committed to Zero Waste by 2030, however, this goal does not match this year’s budget proposal. The $55 million proposed for waste prevention and recycling is a mere 3% of the sanitation budget and is a decrease from last year’s budget. Meanwhile, recycling diversion rates have barely moved since 2014, from just 15.4% to 17.6% in 2019.
As part of his OneNYC 2050 program, Mayor de Blasio recently announced that the city will transition to citywide mandatory organics collection. Expanding the program to all New Yorkers will go a long way towards reducing emissions from food waste and decreasing our reliance on landfills.
However, this expansion will only be successful if coupled with a public education program. We need to make sure that every New Yorker is aware of these programs and knows how important it is that they participate in them.
We applaud the proposed $60 million to retrofit city buildings to be more energy efficient. However, bearing in mind the recent passage and adoption of Intro 1253, a new law that will put an annual cap on greenhouse gas emissions of NYC’s large buildings, we believe that the city budget should reflect resources needed for the new Office of Building Energy Performance and other relevant agencies that will administer newly-created energy-efficiency programs.
Therefore, we recommend that the City allocate an additional $13.5 million to increase staffing with qualified architects and design professionals to oversee compliance and provide outreach and technical assistance to building owners.
Parks and Open Space
Preserving our green spaces is one of the top priorities for NYLCV. That is why, together with our partners from the Play Fair for Parks Coalition, we continue to push an additional $100 million for the Parks Department budget. Currently, their funding totals $540.3 million, which represents 0.58% of the city’s overall $92 billion budget. This will allow more parks to have full-time dedicated staff that will support much-needed maintenance and operations needs citywide.
We are encouraged that the proposed budget reflects the Mayor’s commitment to prioritizing walking, cycling, and mass transit. The City will be dedicating $2.7 million to the Department of Transportation’s budget for installing Transit Signal Priority (TSP) at 300 additional intersections this year, and are also encouraged by the allocations for Vision Zero, to help end traffic injuries on New York City streets. When families feel safe walking or taking buses, they are encouraged to leave their cars at home and reduce vehicular emissions.
Despite the fact that rates of lead poisoning in children have declined steadily since the passage of Local Law 1, New York City’s children still remain at risk. Therefore, we are grateful to see that commitments the Mayor made in his Lead Free NYC Roadmap are reflected in the budget proposal. The City is planning to allot $9 million for lead testing, abatement, enforcement, and compliance of hazards in private housing from FY20-FY23. The Lead Free NYC Roadmap called for up to $25 million for the Department of Housing and Preservation and investments will need to ramp up, not slow down, in the coming years in order to meet this measure.