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NYC Council proposes $407 million more spending

The New York City Police Department's graduating class

The New York City Police Department's graduating class of December 2014 takes the oath of office during a ceremony. A draft budget proposed Tuesday, April 14, 2015 by the New York City Council would fund 1,000 new cops. Credit: Charles Eckert

A draft budget proposed Tuesday by the New York City Council would fund 1,000 new cops, free lunch for every child in public school and a taxpayer-subsidized bail fund -- part of a fiscal blueprint that calls for about $407 million more spending than the mayor has proposed.

Many of the items the council proposed were not included when Mayor Bill de Blasio released his preliminary $77.7 billion budget in February. But the council's and mayor's budget drafts share at least one thing: Neither calls for any spending cuts to programs or services or layoffs to city workers.

"This is a budget response that provides access, justice and opportunity. It is a budget response that reflects our values as a council. And it is a budget response that New Yorkers can be proud of," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Council officials say the additional cost would be about $232 million, not $407 million, when expected lower interest payments on the city's debt is factored in. The total cost could be as low as $75 million if Albany approves a so-called pied-a-terre tax, which the council wants to levy on absentee owners of units valued at more than $5 million. The idea has been a nonstarter among Republicans who control the State Senate.

, The council projects a surplus exceeding $1 billion, while the administration projects only a balanced budget.

The 69-page response from the council kicks off the beginning of budget negotiations between the two wings of City Hall. The council will convene hearings, summon mayoral aides to testify, and hold closed-door negotiations. Under the city charter, the process must legally conclude by the end of June, a day before the 2016 fiscal year begins.

The cost of hiring the new cops would be about $68 million the first year, to be offset by about $50 million in projected overtime savings on money paid to the existing force to plug staffing gaps. Half the new cops would start the academy in January 2016 and the rest in July 2016.

Nearly two dozen groups critical of police brutality have come out against adding the 1,000 cops to the 35,000-officer force, but Mark-Viverito says they're necessary to do "community policing" and ease tensions.

The budget also allots $25 million in the operating budget for improvements to the city's housing projects. The council also wants $200 million in the capital budget for the city housing authority.

The universal free lunch program would apply to every child in public schools, no matter how well-off his or her parents. Last year, the council voted to introduce the program in all middle schools.

De Blasio's budget spokeswoman, Amy Spitalnick, declined to address specifics of the council's submission, but said in a statement: "We look forward to working with the council throughout the budget process.

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