New York, New York – Today Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Organization, applauded the New York City Council’s response to the Mayor’s FY 2015 Preliminary Budget and FY 2014 Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report. Kallos praised the budget response as promoting transparency and efficiency in government, and increased opportunity for all New Yorkers.
Kallos said, “The Speaker and the Council have put together a broad set of recommendations unified by the principle that our city’s government should serve New Yorkers seamlessly and effectively. By spending taxpayer money wisely and transparently, we can free up needed funds for schools, parks, benefits and public infrastructure. Priorities that will benefit residents across New York City discussed at the Governmental Operations Committee Preliminary Budget Hearing include:
- Leveraging the City’s Purchasing Power: By consolidating agreements, partnering between city, state and federal agencies and finding other methods of taking advantage of economies of scale, the city can save significant taxpayer dollars.
- Review Contracts for Service and In-Source Jobs: I support the Council’s conviction that the City can save money and create quality jobs if we search for times that we can convert from consultant jobs to municipal jobs.
- Optimizing Utilization of Citywide Technology Systems: City agencies should use the systems we already pay for. I am pleased that the Council recommends that the Board of Elections, as they are exploring new timekeeping systems, use CityTime instead.
Other key recommendations include:
- Strengthen the City’s Infrastructure: If we invest in our city’s infrastructure now, we save money in the long run. The East River Esplanade needs $115 million in repairs now, but it will need up to $430 million if it continues to deteriorate. That’s why it’s key that the Council has recommended the Mayor’s Executive Budget include necessary East River Esplanade funding.
- Open Source Alternatives: I applaud the Council’s urging of the Mayor’s office to consider Open Source alternatives to the city’s current Enterprise Licensing Agreement, which could save millions of taxpayer dollars.
- Eliminate School Lunch Fees: As a signatory to the Lunch 4 Learning campaign spearheaded by Public Advocate Letitia James and many others, I support universal free lunch as is offered in many other cities to reduce stigma and ensure all students have a nutritious meal. While the total city investment would increase to $57 million total, the program would generate an estimated $60 million in state and federal revenue.
- Fund An Academic Scholarship for New York City Students: Academic scholarships for public college students create opportunities for future generations and promote social mobility. I join my fellow Council Members in backing a scholarship to help young people thrive."