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Queens Chronicle

Queens Library funding restored in NYC budget accord

Mayor had sought tens of millions in cuts

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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 10:12 am | Updated: 10:36 am, Mon Jun 24, 2013.

The City Council and Mayor Bloomberg reached a budget agreement Sunday night for fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1. 

The $70 billion spending plan includes the restoration of all funds the mayor had proposed to cut from the city's three library systems, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), chairman of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, announced Monday morning.

Queens Library officials had repeatedly said, in prepared statements, testimony before the council and speeches at rallies, that cutting city funds as the mayor proposed would devastate the system, which is a private entity but gets the bulk of its revenue from the city.

Van Bramer issued the following statement announcing the maintenance of the funding.

"As a lifelong lover of libraries and the arts I am absolutely thrilled with the complete restoration of funding for these vital services and programs. As chairman of the Council's Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries, it has always been my goal to restore every cent of the $106 million in cuts to libraries and the $65 million in cuts to culture and the arts. 

"With the leadership of Speaker Quinn, and the staunch support of my colleagues, I am thrilled to announce that all $171 million in funding has been completely restored. This record restoration saves over 1,500 jobs, prevents libraries from closing and allows 5 and 6 day service to continue City-wide. 

"In addition, our cultural organizations and institutions will maintain all of their funding, allowing them to continue to draw millions of tourists, educate millions of children, and inspire us all. The truth is you can't have good neighborhoods without libraries and New York City would be a barren place without the arts and our cultural communities. Fortunately, as a result of this budget, we won't need to close libraries or museums and we will continue to be the cultural capital of the world."

Other details of the budget accord were not immediately announced, though The Wall Street Journal reported that it does not address the lack of contracts between the city and its dozens of unions, all of which are working without current agreements.

— Peter C. Mastrosimone

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