Monday, October 23, 2006

"City Pads Yankees Budget" NY Observer blog The Real Estate, 10/23/06

City Pads Yankees Budget

The massive capital budget that the City Council passed in June had an extra $50 million or so in it for the Yankees to spend on their new stadium this year, though the Parks Department is saying that the city's total contribution over the next three years--about $160 million--will not change.

The budget shows that the City Council appropriated $98.8 million for fiscal year 2007 (see p. 784-785 in this PDF), with another $106 million expected to come in the following two years. Included is a whopping $51 million (or about 33 percent of the total) marked as "contingency" for the city's portion of the billion-dollar project (to pay for replacement parks and other "infrastructure").

Parks spokesman Warner Johnston says the extra $51 million is really just the 2008 commitment moved up a year in case construction moves along more quickly than anticipated. But the $51 million figure appears in the fiscal 2008 slot as well. That, Johnston said, after checking with the Office of Management and Budget, is the way that accounting is done. The $51 million won't be spent next year if it is spent this year, he said.

But Doug Turetsky, communications director for the Independent Budget Office, is still scratching his head.

"It is highly unusual," he told us, after consulting with his finance guru, Preston Niblack. "Typically what is done is that you put as much as you think you are going to possibly spend on a project in one year, and then if you don't need it, you allocate it into future years. They are doing the reverse."

Ultimately, the real story will come out next June, when the Council either adds another $51 million to the account or not.

-Matthew Schuerman

UPDATE: OMB spokesman Ray Orlando just called to say that the $51 million figure should only have appeared in the fiscal 2007 slot, and that the duplication in 2008 will be deleted when the capital budget is revised in January.


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