NYC Council budget battle creating friction between members

After initially claiming that funding was being withheld from their districts due to their opposition to New York City's new budget, it turns out some City Council members' districts will be getting the money after all.

"Just silly, unnecessary, unprofessional and unethical," City Councilman Charles Barron said shaking his head.

Barron is one of 6 city council members who voted against approving the city’s budget.

And he was surprised to see what he thought at first were funding cuts to programs in his district.

As was another progressive city council member Chi Ossé.

"I've been very respectful of my comments and reasoning for voting no on this," Ossé explained. "It doesn't work for my community, its harming my schools."

Tucked inside the $101 billion budget deal is a $41.6 million pot of discretionary funding that is controlled by the City Speaker Adrienne Adams.

This money is to be used for community groups and programs within each council member’s district.

Speaker Adams later clarified that these six members who voted against the budget will still receive funding for their projects.

However, they will be denied the credit for shepherding money to their communities.

"If we all allowed ourselves to reject the entire city budget over specific funding items, we would never pass a budget," Adams said. "The city would lose its independent governance and most importantly, New Yorkers would suffer."

Yet, this funding cut at first included a Boys and Girls Club in Astoria, which saw its $150,000 grant awarded last year halved to just $75,000.

The district is represented by City Council member Tiffany Cabán who voted against the budget.

This drew the attention of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who went after the city council speaker for funding cuts to education and retaliating against members who voted against the budget.

The CEO of the boys and girls club says they are now working out funding with the council and the speaker called this funding cut an oversight that will be fixed.

However, she had words for AOC.

"Some federal elected officials forget that a city is not managed through Twitter or social media," Adams said. "We don't have that privilege."

Both Speaker Adams and Mayor Eric Adams say that education funding was lower this year due to fewer students enrolling in city schools.

But Barron pushed back against this idea.

"If you notice a lower enrollment, that's your opportunity to enhance programs," Barron said. "No way on God's earth should there be cuts in education."

Council Speaker Adams says they will be launching an oversight hearing in the next few days to investigate how federal education funding to the city was impacted by lower enrollment.