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The city will rely on pricier school lunches to help take a bite out of a multibillion dollar budget gap looming next year.

New York City faces a $2.5 million deficit next year, and is making mid-year cuts to shore up a $555 million shortfall ahead of the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

This year’s budget was balanced with an expected $635 million to be brought in from taxi medallion sales that a judge subsequently ruled violated the state’s constitution. The city is appealing the ruling.

“We have a budget that is questionable because of some people suing us for their own selfish reasons to stop the taxi medallions,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference on Monday, November 12. “We have great uncertainties out there and we will balance our budget like we have every single year.”

Raising the school lunch price from $1.50 to $2.50 will raise more than $4 million. Other measures to slash the budget gap awaiting the city include: raising parking fees in Manhattan, cutting seats in Out-of-School Time after school programs and cancelling the January 2013 reopening of the Queens Detention Complex, among other measures.

“This issue here is we’re trying to find some balance so that everybody shares a little bit of the pain, everybody contributes,” the mayor said of the budget.

The cuts will not affect the relief effort, the mayor said. The city has already pledged more than $600 million in aid, though it hopes to recoup most of that money from the federal government.

“The things that we have to have come first and we’re not going to cut those services,” Bloomberg said. “These are the services that people depend on, that keep us safe, they keep the city growing, they keep the city investing in the future, we’re going to continue to do that.”

Even after the cuts, a more than $1 billion shortage remains in next year’s budget.


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