NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Mayor Noam Bramson said he thinks budget cuts proposed by President Donald J. Trump would spell doom for New Rochelle and other American communities.
In a recent blog post, the Democratic mayor said the spending plan "reads like a detailed blueprint for wrecking the country.”
While the bigger issues involve “draconian and unprecedented” cuts to environmental, health, transportation, and arts programs, to name a few, Bramson wrote, there is “one little piece that has received less attention, but which would be simply devastating for communities like New Rochelle.”
That was the proposed elimination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, he said.
New Rochelle gets $1.5 million every year for block grants, the mayor said.
The CDBG program has “strong bipartisan support,” he added.
Calling it a “lifeline” for cities, Bramson said it helps promote economic development by helping to create jobs and assisting small businesses. It also bolsters investment in community infrastructure and is a resource for social services providers, he said.
Without CDBG funding, such investments in economic growth will have to be scaled back and property taxes will likely rise have to make up the difference, he wrote, adding: “Everyone loses.”
Things are looking especially “grim,” for nonprofit groups in New Rochelle, the mayor said.
Bramson ticked off what he called a “small sampling of the groups and programs that would be zeroed out.”
Among them were Meals-on-Wheels, HOPE Community Services, senior recreation, the Parent-Child Center, a camp for disabled youngsters, summer youth employment programs, and the Lincoln Park community garden.
HOPE Community Services, for example, opened its first soup kitchen in 1984.
Since then, it has grown to become the largest emergency food pantry and soup kitchen, not only in New Rochelle but the region.
Besides daily sustenance, HOPE provides clothing, language skills, emotional support, and immigration services.
Grow!, the Lincoln Park Community Garden, was launched in 2012 on the grounds of the former Lincoln Elementary School, a building that had been the center of a historic desegregation case in the early 1960s.
Community groups lease raised beds for about $50 a planting season. Grow! also has an environmental learning center that sponsors workshops on healthy living.
The Parent-Child Center is a free, weekly drop-in playgroup for parents and kids under age five. Its activities support parents in their role as their children’s best teachers and also helps prepare children for “success” in school.
Bramson said in his Wednesday, March 16, blog that the budget has been described as DOA by congressional “sources.”
The mayor added that while he hopes that’s true, he is still “fearful.”
“Even as an opening bid, it is a horrifying document and an unsettling window into the Trump Administration’s ambitions,” Bramson wrote.
Even if a “fraction of it gets passed, the effect will be awful,” he concluded.
Trump, who owns the $19.5 million Seven Springs estate in Bedford, also owns Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley in Stormville and Trump National Westchester in Briarcliff Manor. The Trump name also adorns Trump Tower At City Center in White Plains, Trump Plaza in New Rochelle, Trump Park Residences in Yorktown and the Donald J. Trump State Park on the Westchester/Putnam border.