The mayor put out an executive budget last week that in most ways mirrored the preliminary plan he released in February—with one exception: He lists contingency cuts he says he’ll impose if Albany, Washington and the labor unions do not fulfill his wish list. Since most of those requests are still up in the air, two months after he made them, City Limits takes a look at some of what’s in store if City Hall turns to Plan B.
• Homeless shelters, for one, might get a little dirtier, and their clients a little sicker. The proposal calls for saving $8.7 million by eliminating medical services in all adult shelters. That means no assessment and doctor referrals for the system’s more than 7,500 single adults. Bloomberg also called for a 20 percent reduction in shelter cleaning services, eliminating 70 workers and $3.2 million.
• Next up: tenant organizing. Over the next three years, Bloomberg would cut funding to eight of the 45 neighborhood groups that currently get $40,000 for tenant organizing in their communities. That downsizing of Neighborhood Preservation Consultant contracts comes on top of a reduction of nearly $9,000 for each of the 45 groups that he proposed in the mayor’s executive budget.
To pick the unlucky eight, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development says it would target groups in neighborhoods that don’t meet the federal definition of a “distressed” area, meaning that the city, not the federal community development block grant, has to pay for the consultant. That could impact groups in neighborhoods like Park Slope, Cooper Square or the Lower East Side, where standards of living have increased, despite persistent poverty. “Given that under the Giuliani administration, the city cut its own neighborhood preservation work—less code enforcement, fewer inspectors—it’s made these groups more important than ever,” said Irene Baldwin, executive director of the Association for Neighborhood Housing Developers.
• Under former Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, the Administration for Children’s Services’ reform plan made increasing “Effective Preventive Interventions” a top priority. Mayor Bloomberg, however, has proposed taking a $6 million annual bite from the agency’s preventive services, which are intended to prevent children from going into (more costly and traumatic) foster care. That’s equivalent to about 860 slots for families, out of over 12,000 cases opened each year. Separate preventive programs in Beacon Schools are also slated for elimination, for a savings of another $6 million.
• If the city’s Human Resources Administration was so keen on saving $7.7 million by eliminating the Emergency Food Assistance Program—an initiative that supplies inexpensive food stocks to hundreds of soup kitchens and food pantries—why did Commissioner Verna Eggleston refuse a federal waiver last month to allow nonworking adults to receive food stamps? One thing is certain: Emergency food providers will suffer. According to the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, more soup kitchens and food pantries rely on the city’s funding program than any other. EFAP represents about 15 percent of the total current public funding for emergency food.
• Also at HRA, the Managed Care Consumer Assistance Project, administered by the Community Service Society to offer general information, training and counseling on health care issues, would be eliminated. And AIDS congregate housing contracts would lose $2.3 million, or 10 percent of their funding.
• And just when several city clinics thought they were safe after a scare under the Giuliani administration last year, they too would not be spared: Bloomberg’s Plan B closes five Communicare and 10 dental clinics, for $3.7 million, and another five school-based clinics would lose city funding.