This year, under enormous pressure to deliver a fiscally responsible budget in difficult financial times, we were forced to make some tough decisions. Deciding how to consolidate services while protecting core city services is never an easy task. In order to guarantee New York City’s continued success, we did just that. The City Council negotiated with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, confronted the challenges of our present economic climate head-on and presented a sensible, on-time city budget.
The 2012 fiscal year budget makes extensive provisions that reduce waste and eliminate unnecessary spending in the coming year. It also preserves funding for the vital services that keep New York running and safe.
When the Council began budget negotiations in February, we were presented with a preliminary budget that sought to force the closure of 20 fire companies throughout the city. As a result of our Council hearings, it was revealed that four of them were in Queens, including Blissville’s Ladder 128, which serves much of western Queens.
These fire companies would have been closed without consultation from the communities they serve. The Council could not sign off on this plan without studying the consequences closing firehouses would have on the residents who trust their local firefighters to respond to emergencies quickly. Before discussions about how we may be better able to streamline these services can begin, we must commit to fully examining the impact doing so will have on our neighborhoods.
Time and again, we have asked the courageous men and women in New York’s Bravest to risk their lives to keep us safe. There is nothing more essential to the safety of our citizens, and vital to our peace of mind than the work of our firefighters. The Council understands the importance of public safety and it is our duty to listen to our citizens’ concerns and ensure the protection that our great city deserves.
Council Finance Committee
Council Fire & Criminal Committee
Jimmy Van Bramer
©2011 Community News Group
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