City Council Passes 2012 Budget On Time
Following last week’s budget agreement between the City Council and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the Council voted on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget.
The Council also approved legislation that will improve transparency at New York City public schools by requiring the Department of Education to submit annual reports to the Council regarding students who are discharged from school and students who are transferred to an alternate school as a result of a school closure. These bills will make it easier to assess why students are leaving school and to gauge the performance of students who are being transferred when schools are closed.
In addition, the Council approved legislation to improve regulation of the private towing industry, raise the rates that may be charged by licensed tow businesses and enable the Council to better monitor the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs’ towing regulation enforcement activities.
The Council voted to adopt the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget, which includes funding to avert proposed teacher layoffs and prevent the closure of fire companies. Speaker Quinn and the City Council made preventing teacher layoffs a top priority during budget negotiations and successfully reached an agreement to save thousands of teachers from the chopping block. Additionally, the Council decreased its total amount in restorations to the budget by $10 million compared to FY 2011. In order to preserve vital programs and services, the city identified extra revenues and recognized funds that had been allocated and not needed.
The Council voted on legislation that will require the Department of Education (DOE) to provide the Council with data on students who are discharged from schools before graduation. The DOE will be required to report on the number of students discharged from middle and high school and the reasons why. The DOE will also report on students who were transferred to an alternate school as a result of a school closure. The report will include information on the status of these students, including information with respect to services received and academic progress.
The Council also voted on legislation that will improve regulation of the private towing industry and raise the rates that may be charged by licensed tow businesses. Private tow truck businesses are licensed and regulated by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The bill will increase the penalties that may be imposed on private tow truck operators who violate laws and regulations governing the operation of tow trucks in the City.
Fines and penalties will be increased for actions like failing to accept a credit card or unjustifiably refusing to release a towed car to its owner. In an effort to enable the Council to better monitor DCA enforcement of the law, the bill will also require DCA to provide the Council with an annual report regarding its enforcement activities including: the total number of violations issued, broken down by type; the number of violations received by each tow licensee; the number of license revocations and suspensions; and the number of meetings held by the tow advisory board.