With $3 billion budget surplus, de Blasio still plans on selling NYCHA playgrounds

By LOUIS FLORES

New York City government is forecast to end Fiscal Year 2015 with a budget surplus of $3 billion, according to a financial analysis by the New York State Comptroller's Office.

The budget surplus would normally be a good sign that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) could use some of that money to fund long-outstanding capital improvement deficits at the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, or at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA.

NYCHA faces a capital improvement fund shortfall of $10 billion, whereas the MTA faces a capital improvement fund shortfall of $14 billion.

And, yet, the de Blasio administration announced this week that it was still planning to force NYCHA to sell playgrounds to raise money, even though NYCHA is slated to receive a $3 billion grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and New York City government is sitting on the $3 billion budget surplus.  

As reported by Progress Queens, some tenant activists and civic groups are calling for the de Blasio administration to steer more money and resources for the construction of new public housing.  However, Mayor de Blasio favors privatizing NYCHA to real estate developers.

Real estate executives, such as Rob Speyer and William Rudin, and real estate lobbyists, such as James Capalino and Jonathan Rosen, have close ties with the de Blasio administration, according to various media reports.

The press office for City Hall did not answer a request made by Progress Queens to interview Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for housing and economic development, for this article.