City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD officers
If the New York City Council has its way, the police force might soon add some 1,000 new officers to its ranks.
The Council released its response to Bill de Blasio’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, largely praising the mayor’s agenda while also looking to fill gaps that it found the in the proposed $73 billion budget.
In total, the Council asked for $257 million — 0.4 percent of the overall budget — to pay for more police, free school lunches, a committee to explore the city’s property tax, improved veterans services and more.
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said on Wednesday that the request for the extra cops — at a cost of $94.3 million — reinforces the overall agenda laid out by the de Blasio administration, specifically his plan to reduce traffic-related deaths.
Mark-Viverito explained the enfacement that was attached ideas, including Vision Zero, was not adequately accounted for in the mayor’s preliminary budget.
“As we continue to move forward as a city, as we continue to grow in wanting to keep our crime rates low, in wanting true community partnership between the police and our local communities, we need to grow our police force,” Mark-Viverito said, calling the request prudent.
The budget also asks for $26.3 million to pay for 500 new civilian staffers for the NYPD, which would move uniformed officers currently behind a desk onto the beat.
At an unrelated event outside City Hall, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told reporters that he’d rather money be directed towards building morale with the existing 35,000 officers.
“The issue of pay raises for my personnel — I’m more supportive of that at the moment than I am of additional officers,” Bratton said.
“If more officers are given to me, more civilians, certainly I would find ways to use them,” he added. “But again I think that discussion has just begun and is probably a long way from resolution.”
In early April, de Blasio told reporters that he felt the NYPD was at a “good and capable size right now.”
Other key items in the Council’s budget proposal include:
• $57 million to provide universal free lunch for public school students
• $9.6 to expand anti-gun violence programs to 10 new neighborhoods
• $6.7 million to hire 76 Emergency Medical Service supervisors
• $35 million to increase funding for public libraries
• $2.9 million for immigrant legal services
• $1 million for veterans mental health, employment and legal assistance services
• $400,000 to increase Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs
De Blasio, who was in Albany on Wednesday, is expected to release his executive budget in early May. His administration and the Council would then need to settle the budget before July 1 to meet its yearly deadline.
Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria