From The Mayor's Desk ...
Creating jobs and opportunity in all five boroughs. Continuing fiscal restraint at City Hall. That's the right formula for New York's long-term stability and growth. And it's the foundation of the $52.9 billion budget agreement we recently worked out with the City Council. It covers Fiscal Year 2007-the 12-month period that began July 1st. And it funds key investments that will help make the nation's safest big city even safer, enhance neighborhood quality of life, continue the historic turnaround of our public schools, and fuel our growing economy. It also makes downpayments now on big future costs.
The budget deal gives the go-ahead for putting 1,200 more police officers on our streets by next July: 800 newly hired officers, and 400 officers re-assigned from desk jobs to patrol duty. We'll also keep our police officers safer by purchasing, over the next two fiscal years, 18,000 new bulletproof vests, designed to the NYPD's own exacting specifications. And we'll continue to build new police, fire, and EMS stations throughout the city.
The budget agreement also greenlights major improvements for neighborhoods and quality of life. That includes developing Brooklyn Bridge Park, and a major new park at Fresh Kills on Staten Island, as well as continuing our ambitious $200-million plus expansion and improvement of parks across the Bronx. Together with Council Speaker Christine Quinn, we're also locking in annual city funding both for five-day-a-week services at all our public libraries and for summer jobs for young people across our city.
The new budget also continues the city's largest-ever school construction program. It's a five-year, $13 billion plan (and earlier this year, we persuaded the state to pay for half of it). We're on course to create 66,000 new classroom seats throughout the city, and build the labs, libraries, gyms, and other facilities our youngsters need for a first-class education.
Better schools are essential to the city's economic future. So are the job-creating projects funded in the budget-projects like extending the Number 7 subway line, building the new East River Science Park, and redeveloping the Homeport on Staten Island. And the $400 property tax rebate once again included in this year's budget will not only be good news to our hardworking homeowners; it will also support neighborhood businesses and jobs in all five boroughs.
But we're not only making investments; we're also practicing rigorous financial responsibility. We're reducing long-term debt by funding some big projects on a "pay as you go" basis. And this year, we're adding $1 billion to the $1 billion we've already committed to our unprecedented trust fund to cover future costs of health benefits for retired city workers.
New Yorkers can be proud of the tremendous progress we've made over the past four and a half years. We've come further, faster than anyone ever thought possible. Now, by continuing to make sound investments and responsible decisions, we can lock in and build on everything we've achieved. That makes this new budget good news for all New Yorkers.