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City Council Approves "Responsible, Progressive" $75B City Budget

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The New York City Council approved a new $75 billion city budget in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

Council members waited hours for budget documents to be printed and lugged into City Hall before giving the final OK a bit after 1 a.m.

The new budget, which takes effect July 1, was approved nearly unanimously, with one abstention.

The budget was the first for Mayor Bill de Blasio and his ally in the council, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

"Because of the council's tireless advocacy, it does a lot of good for New Yorkers," Mark-Viverito said. "It is responsible, progressive and collaborative."

The negotiations were far less contentious than in recent years, when budgets were often marked by threats of cuts by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

This year's plan has no major slashes, and rising costs did not appear to disturb the mayor earlier on Wednesday.

"Obviously the bond sales recently were very very strong," de Blasio said. "We feel great about his budget and our commitment to fiscal prudence."

New programs were in fact a selling point on the council floor.

"Our seniors won't have to worry about their senior centers closing and where they will get a hot meal," said council member Julissa Ferreras.

Nonetheless, the council did not get everything it wanted. The budget does not include funds for 1,000 police officers that the body initially proposed.

Instead the city will hire 200 new administrative police aides.

"I don't think there is any perfect budget," said councilman Vincent Ignizio. "I think this budget spends too much. And we could have done more in getting cops into this budget and I hope this is something we can revisit."

"I defy anyone to look at this budget and say the city council lost somehow in this negotiation," said council member Jumaane Williams.

The budget also includes a new pilot program to provide free lunch to all middle school students and money for more security programs at the city's public housing developments.

While council members spent hours waiting to vote on the budget, once they actually hit the floor the vote only took about an hour. Then the members quickly left the chamber.

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