Looking to influence the final version of the Dinkins administration's revised four-year financial plan, New York City Council Speaker Peter J. Vallone yesterday presented a plan that calls for a longer tax freeze, deeper work-force cuts, and the creation of an infrastructure authority.
The plan offers some dramatic and stark proposals when compared to the plan offered by Mayor David N. Dinkins two weeks ago.
In addition, the council plans to call for using more than half of the $1 billion of revenues from a proposed bond refunding by the Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York to temporarily finance some city services that will be phased out in four years and using the rest of the money to create a rainy-day fund.
Now 51-members strong and more powerful than ever, the city council appears to be preparing to take on Mayor Dinkins, who two weeks ago offered a revised four-year plan that many fiscal monitors blasted as too sketchy. The administration is now working on amending or strengthening certain parts of the plan, due in January.
In a statement, Mr. Vallone noted that Mayor Dinkins "took some important steps in that plan" to close a total budget gap of $7 billion for fiscal 1993 through 1996.
"Nevertheless, we believe the plan did not go far enough," Mr. Vallone said.
A spokesman for Mayor Dinkins said the council plan "has some ideas that build on the mayor's plan." Some are good and some may be infeasible, he said.
The council's proposed new infrastructure authority would not sell bonds, but would oversee the use of city bond sale proceeds, an arrangement modeled after the school construction authority. To reduce costs and increase efficiency, the authority would not be subject to the state's Wick's Law.
Under the rubric of restructuring and downsizing city government, the council plan would pare the city's work force by 24,305 employees through a variety of ways, including the elimination of some city services. Mayor Dinkins had proposed to cut the city work force by 31,000 by fiscal 1996, but Mr. Vallone said that plan would only decrease full-time employees by 16,400.
In reducing or dropping some services, the council plan suggested that some services could be funded from sources other than the city's tax base or provided by vendors.
Also in the Dinkins's plan was a proposal to use $450 million of the MAC money in fiscal 1993 and $550 million of the revenues in fiscal 1994. "The mayor's transitional financing is merely a proposal to stall tax increases in the first two years of the plan," Mr. Vallone said. "This means that MAC money wouldnot be used to help solve the crisis."
Most of the MAC money under the city council plan would be used to pay for services until a restructing plan was in place and these services would be either phased out or assumed by another vendor.
The rest of the MAC money would be placed in a reserve fund. A rainy-day fund would also be created under the city council plan to collect money from non-recurring revenue sources to be used when the city is facing budget difficulties.
Some excess revenues would be paid into the fund rather than financing "boom-spending" years, the city council plan proposes.
Although Mayor Dinkins proposed a two-year freeze on taxes, the city council wants for years. The council's plan said "the taxes being paid by the citizens and businesses in this city are too high and no further tax increase for the four year plan should be supported."
Mr. Vallone also proposed transferring or selling the city hospital system to an affiliate, a private operator, or the city's Health and Hospitals Corp.
Mayor Dinkins called for privatizing part of the city's recycling program, but Mr. Vallone went a step further and called for privatizing the entire effort.
Other proposals in the city council plan include merging the three city police departments into one to save money and getting the Department of Housing Preservation and Development out of the business of housing management and seeking a private sector entity to run such a program.