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NYC Cuts Shrink 2013 Budget Gap to $2B

New York City narrowed its projected 2013 budget deficit to $2 billion from $4.6 billion through agency spending cuts and $1 billion in revenue from new taxi medallion sales, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Schools will reduce spending by $301 million, the Police Department will trim $74.6 million and the city will lower debt- service costs by $229 million, according to budget documents released today by Marc LaVorgna, the mayor’s spokesman.

The financial plan also includes $2 billion that had been set aside in a Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund to help pay for future health-care obligations, with $1 billion used in each of the next two fiscal years. Even with the infusion in 2014, city officials project a $4 billion shortfall, LaVorgna said.

An Oct. 4 directive to city agencies called for $2 billion in savings over 18 months. The mayor settled on $1.5 billion, LaVorgna said. By law, Bloomberg must present a balanced preliminary budget to the City Council by early February.

“Even with a billion dollars in new taxi-medallion revenue and the savings items released today, we still need to fill a $2 billion hole, and the national economic picture remains volatile and highly uncertain,” LaVorgna said in an e-mail.

For fiscal 2013, which starts July 1, the mayor anticipates a $70.3 billion budget, LaVorgna said. The current spending plan totals $67 billion.

While city-funded, controllable agency expenses would decrease by 2.2 percent next year, mandated costs such as pensions and health care would rise by 2.6 percent, LaVorgna said.

Fire Department

Among personnel reductions, the Fire Department would shed 30 civilian positions through attrition by June 30; the Health Department would cut 120 of its 2,000-person workforce, including 75 through dismissals, over the next 18 months; and the Department of Corrections would lose 90 uniformed officers through attrition by June 30, 2013, according to budget documents.

Officials expect $1 billion in revenue next year from sales of additional taxi medallions, approved by the Legislature this year, LaVorgna said. More funds will come from increases in commercial parking rates and conversion of 51,000 single-space meters to 12,500 multispace Muni-Meters, which require less administration, according to budget documents.

The mayor is founder and majority of owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Goldman in New York at hgoldman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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