FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES NEW WAYS CITY GOVERNMENT IS MAKING EACH DOLLAR COUNT IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, August 3, 2008
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“With the economy stalling and tax revenues falling, state leaders from California to Maryland to our own capital of Albany recognize that they need to do more with less. Here at City Hall, we preach that wisdom – and practice it, too. Last year, at the first hint of the national economic slowdown, we ordered agencies to start reducing City-funded spending. And the budget we approved in June decreases planned City spending by more than 5.5 percent.
“Those measures, and others, will help the City ride out the current economic storms. But we’re not stopping there. There’s never been a better time than now to make sure that you, the City taxpayers, get the most for your money. Let me give you two good examples of how we’re doing just that.
“First, we’ve taken steps to get more ‘bang for the buck’ in the City’s construction budget, which will total $60 billion over the next five years. Unfortunately, because of government red tape and delays, construction companies frequently haven’t wanted to bid on City jobs. That reduces competition and drives up costs. So last week – after close consultation with construction industry experts – we announced contracting reforms that we’re confident will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
“For instance, often enough, a contractor runs into unexpected problems that require changes in a construction project. In the past, getting approval for such a ‘change order’ could drag on for up to 300 days. That’s just completely unreasonable. So effective immediately, we’ve ordered that the time to process change orders be cut at least in half. In construction, time is money. So fewer delays will mean faster, better, and less costly construction of essential infrastructure projects.
“Energy costs are another big item in the City’s budget; we pay roughly $1 billion a year just to heat, cool, and light City buildings. And even though fuel prices have come down a bit lately, they’re still at near-record high levels. So we’re also moving ahead aggressively on plans to cut by 30 percent by the year 2017 the amount of energy that City agencies use. That’s going to involve a wide range of actions, including upgrading lighting, heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems, and installing more energy-efficient windows and doors in City buildings, and also increasing the fuel-efficiency of our vehicle fleet, such as expanding our use of hybrid-powered vehicles.
“Combined, such initiatives will reduce our impact on global warming, take pressure off New York’s electric power grid, and also produce long-range savings for taxpayers. In fact, we estimate that by the year 2013, we’ll be breaking even on our energy-efficiency investments. After that, they’ll substantially lower what City government pays for fuel, and save taxpayers money.
“It’s never easy to make budget decisions in a troubled economy. But the right decisions – keeping a lid on spending, increasing government efficiency, and making investments that produce long-term savings – can put a silver lining on even the darkest financial clouds.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958