Treyger wants city ‘OK’ to purchase air conditioners with capital budget

Airing grievances: Pol wants rules changed so he can buy air conditioners for schools

Burnin’ up: Councilman Mark Treyger tries to keep a cool head as he demands the city let him buy air-conditioners for area schools.
Brooklyn Daily
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He wants city accountants to chill out.

A Coney Island pol is demanding the comptroller let him buy window air conditioners for schools in his district. Currently, the move is not allowed, but the city must change its policy as global temperatures rise, the legislator said.

“With high temperatures in June regularly exceeding 80 degrees, and average highs trending upwards, a lack of air conditioning is no longer an inconvenience to be suffered while awaiting summer break — it is a significant burden on the health and well-being of our students and our education system as a whole,” Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) said in a letter to the city.

Lawmakers get about $5 million annually to spend on capital projects that costs more than $35,000 and will last five years or more — but individual air conditioners do not meet the cost threshold, according to a spokesman from Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office, which must approve such expenditures.

Oddly, council members can buy school computers, which are also less than the $35,000 minimum, because of a quirk in the law where individual computers bought in bulk can be counted as one item because they can be networked together, he said.

The law was last updated in 2011 — before Stringer was elected to his post, the spokesman said.

Legislators may buy building-wide air-conditioning systems, which cost $3–$5 million, but that would deplete much or all of their piggybanks, a Treyger spokesman said. Instead the pol wants to be able to buy coolers here and there to supplement schools’ existing temperature control, the spokesman said.

Stringer is looking into a rule change, he said.

“The city should explore every avenue to ensure students aren’t forced to learn in uncomfortably hot classrooms, and Council Member Treyger is right to raise this issue,” Stringer said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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