2005-09-22 / From The Mayor...

City Scorecard Shows Improving Schools, Safer Streets and More Jobs From The Mayor’s Desk ...

Our Administration came into of-fice less than four months after 9/11, when New York’s future looked uncertain. We were a city still deeply in mourning for more than 2,700 of our neighbors and loved ones. We were also mired in a recession, and facing an unprecedented budget deficit of nearly $6 billion. City government simply had to tighten its belt — and it did.

Last week, the Mayor’s Management Report — an annual scorecard on effec-tive and efficient service delivery — proved just how far we’ve come. It shows that we’ve not only successfully managed the city’s worst fiscal crisis in almost 30 years. Over the last four years we’ve also made the safest big city in the nation even safer, enhanced our quality of life, turned the public schools around, taken care of New Yorkers in need, dramatically im-proved public health, and created a growing economy that is producing new jobs, giving us our lowest unemployment rate since 1988.

The facts speak for themselves. Take public safety: Because of programs that focus on problem people and problem places, like the NYPD’S highly successful Operation Impact, we’ve driven crime down 21% since 2001, and reduced murders to 40-year lows. Last year, we also recorded the fewest fire deaths since 1919, and the fewest traffic fatalities since 1910.

Our quality of life is also better. We’ve made our streets cleaner than they’ve been in 31 years. We’re filling almost 50% more potholes that we were four years ago, and doing 98% of those jobs within 30 days. We’ve also stepped up enforcement against New Yorkers’ number one quality of life complaint: noise.

Because we’ve established account-ability and standards in the public schools, we’ve achieved record-breaking gains in student test scores. Crime in the schools is down 17% from four years ago, and classroom overcrowding is down 20% in elementary schools and more than 10% in high schools. And the four-year graduation rate is the highest it’s been in nearly 20 years.

We’ve also successfully met the social and human needs of our city. Over the last four years, we’ve reduced the welfare rolls by 16%, and nearly doubled the number of homeless families finding permanent homes.

The number of children placed in foster care is lower than it has been since 1987. We’ve improved services to older New Yorkers. And because of the investments we’ve made in public health and public hospitals, today life expectancy is higher in New York City than it is in the rest of nation for the first time since World War Two.

New York’s ongoing economic re-covery has been equally dramatic. Last week, City Comptroller William Thomp-son, Jr. reported that the City’s economy has grown for seven straight quarters, and that for the last two quarters, it’s grown faster than the nation’s eco-nomy. That’s the result of our Adminis-tration’s five-borough strategy to foster tourism, biotechnology, film production, and other growing industries.

Our Administration’s increased use of information technology has also played a big part in improving City services. Over the last two years, the 311 Citizen Service Hotline has received more than 20 million calls, helping us target resources more effectively. The city’s vastly improved web site also makes information and services more accessible to New Yorkers; in fact, you can read the Mayor’s Man-agement Report on-line at www.nyc- .gov.

Over the last four years, innovation, dedication, and hard work by thousands of people in our city agencies have really paid off for all New Yorkers. We’ve not only put the city’s finances back on a firm footing; we’re also making New York a city of opportunity for all. And if we stay on the course we’ve set, the best days for New York are still to come.

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