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Some Fiscal Watchdogs Call City Budget Agreement 'Prudent'

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The City Council and the mayor shook hands on a $75 billion budget deal Thursday night, and as we wait for the fine print, some fiscal watchdogs are calling the agreement prudent. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

A day after Mayor Bill de Blasio reached his first budget deal with the City Council, the steps of city hall were pretty quiet, and the sound coming from some fiscal watchdogs was positive.

"The agreement that was announced last night, I think meets the test of what is financially prudent, but also goes to help the people in this city that are struggling," said City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

"It's a prudent budget," said Carol Kellermann of the Citizens Budget Commission.

The $75 billion deal is a far cry from the Bloomberg years. There are no major cuts. It adds spending like free school lunches for middle-school students and child care for low-income families, as well as cash for neighborhood watches at the city's public housing developments.

"It's a great space when the Council is talking about enhancing programs for many years that have been on the chopping block," said City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras of Queens.

"It turned out to be a win-win for everyone," said City Councilwoman Debi Rose of Staten Island.

Asked how the city can afford it, the mayor said on Thursday there were "savings." A City Hall spokeswoman on Friday said what props up the new programs is about $500 million in new revenue, mostly from taxes.

All told, the de Blasio administration said the deal adds somewhere between $100 million and $200 million in completely new spending. The administration could not provide exact specifics.

"There is only adding," Kellermann said. "There is no talk about re-allocating, not doing other things this administration doesn't think are priorities."

"We can afford this proposed adopted budget, but that doesn't mean we rest on our laurels," Stringer said. "And we should go into agencies, look at ways to save money. Look to save money and hold the administration's feet to the fire."

Precise details are still trickling out. Budget documents won't even be printed until next week.

"Now, there is a lot of details that we are still trying to get on paper to deliver to the communities, really," Ferreras said.

The Council is expected to approve the budget next week.

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