Friday, March 5, 2010
Parks not important to Bloomberg (except in certain areas)
From the NY Post:
The Big Apple's parks are so deep in red ink, city swimming pools are about to run dry.
Mayor Bloomberg's $63.6 billion preliminary spending plan for the next fiscal year anticipates the Parks Department's budget dropping by 9.4 percent, to $239.1 million -- resulting in massive layoffs and service cuts, including the closing of some pools.
It's part of across-the-board cuts all city departments face as the mayor tries to close a $4.9 billion budget gap.
By the end of the next fiscal year, the Parks Department's full-time staff could be gutted by 20 percent, from 3,722 to 2,974, according to the city's financial plan for fiscal years 2010-2014.
And this does not include thousands of part-time and seasonal jobs also in danger of being lost, either through hiring freezes or layoffs.
Geoffrey Croft of the watchdog group New York City Park Advocates said the city already lacks enough workers to maintain its 29,000 acres of parkland, and called the cuts "just another slap in the face to the public."
"Taking care of parks simply isn't a priority with this administration," he said.
The proposed reduced Parks budget represents less than four-tenths of 1 percent of the mayor's entire spending plan -- a paltry sum, Croft said, considering parkland takes up about 14 percent of city land.
In 1960, 1.4 percent of taxpayer spending was set aside for parks. Park funding increased with the rest of the city budget over the next five decades, but didn't rise at the same pace as other departments'.
The city has turned to borrowing billions of dollars to keep the parks from returning to the nightmare days of the fiscally strapped 1970s.
Photo from Jaunted