Forecast calls for storm of pink slips at Borough Hall

The Brooklyn Paper
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The axe is again being sharpened on workers at Borough Hall as at least a dozen more employees can expect pink slips if Mayor Bloomberg’s recently submitted $41.4 billion executive budget for Fiscal Year 2010 comes to pass.

Under the budget submitted two weeks ago, Borough President Marty Markowitz’s budget is being slashed a whopping 26 percent from $5.8 million in FY 2009 to $4.1 million for FY 2010.

“We can’t say too much right now, but with the latest round of budget cuts from the city everything is on the table right now and we expect a minimum of 12 staff members to be laid off, and all the budgets at Borough Hall will have to be slashed,” said Markowitz spokesperson Mark Zustovich.

The possible staff reductions come after the FY 2008 discretionary funding of $2.5 million was reduced to $302,000 in FY09, resulting in eight layoffs, five retirements and the reassignment of five staff members from full− to part−time last year.

Currently, Borough Hall has 69 full−time and six part−time employees.

“Everything in our office is dictated by the city,” said Zustovich.

Bloomberg spokesperson Marc LaVorgna said the mayor has previously asked all city agencies to make a four percent reduction in spending and after getting back information from each agency, the administration budgets what they believe can legitimately serve the community while still reducing costs.

“City government is people and the primary amount of expenses is in personnel costs,” said LaVorgna.

“We’ve asked everyone — from police and fire departments and schools — to reduce costs and be more efficient and that includes the borough presidents,” he added.

Markowitz’s office isn’t the only agency seeing cuts as the budget for community boards is being slashed about 16 percent from $15.1 million in FY 2009 to $12.7 million in FY 2010.

“There is absolutely no way boards can absorb a cut like this without it significantly impacting our ability to function,” said CB 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman.

Hammerman said all community boards get about $200,000 a year and 80−90 percent of that money goes for salaries. So a 16 percent budget drop would probably lead to layoffs, he said.

While almost all city agencies are seeing budget cuts, Bloomberg’s budget does include the hiring of 200 new traffic enforcement agents.

However, LaVorgna disclaimed the notion that Bloomberg is utilizing traffic enforcement to raise more revenue.

“The easy way to not pay that money to to park legally,” he said, adding that most parking violations go to out−of−towners.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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