By Samar Khursid
The city’s annual budget season kicked off on January 25 with the release of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.7 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1. Starting Thursday, the City Council will hold weeks of hearings to examine the financial plan, listening to testimony from city officials and gauging the needs and allocations of city agencies. As usual, stakeholders across the board -- City Council members, other city elected officials, nonprofit organizations -- are making their budget priorities known, pushing for funding for the next fiscal year. Negotiation will continue until a new budget deal is reached between de Blasio and the Council sometime in June.
As the major areas of contention become clear, some remain from recent years, while others are new, and questions loom over the city budget cycle due to uncertainty in Washington, D.C., state funding shifts being proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and a slowing city economy. Along with a debate over how much the city should be putting aside in savings, additional funding is being sought for initiatives like free universal school lunch, reduced-price MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers, the Parks Department workforce, and more.
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