Six Things NYC Can Do With $16 million

In 2016, it was widely reported by several media outlets that United Nations Member States owed the city of New York $16 million in unpaid parking tickets. The Member States with the highest numbers of unpaid tickets were Egypt, Kuwait and Chad. It turns out this is not a phenomena exclusive to NYC, foreign diplomats owe the city of Canberra, Australia $500,000. London, England has congestion charges to deal with its plethora of traffic, and foreign dignitaries owe London just over £95 million in fees.

The nature of the disagreement has to do with technicalities around parking tickets.  Is a parking ticket a fine for breaking the law or a fee for preferential parking? If you view it as a fine for breaking the law then foreign dignitaries are immune from paying because they have diplomatic immunity. If you could successfully make the argument that parking tickets are a fee for preferential parking spaces then UN Member States would be more obliged to pay.

The Vienna Convention guarantees United Nations diplomats immunity from prosecution, and immunity is a critical part of international relations. Nevertheless, the unpaid parking tickets irk, and there seems to be no movement in getting the fines/fees paid. This fact leads to the question “What could New York City do with $16 million dollars?”

Luckily enough American Model United Nations has some very curious and intrepid staffers who were willing to comb through New York City’s Fiscal Year 2020 Expense and Contract Budget Resolutions and answer that question.  Below are six things that New York City could do with $16 million dollars.

Department of Sanitation (DSNY)- $16,157,679

The NYC Department of Sanitation is the largest sanitation department in the world. DSNY collects more than 10,500 tons of residential and institutional garbage and 1,760 tons of recyclables every year. The DSNY is responsible for collecting trash, recyclables, yard waste and electronics. Also the DSNY plows and hauls away all snow and salt in the winter. They are also responsible for all street cleaning and emptying of all public trash bins. 

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) – $16,594,487 

The WCS has a mission to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education and inspiring people to value nature. WCS sets the bar for science, conservation action and education that has driven success in protecting wildlife and wild places. WCS is responsible for the Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queen Zoo, Central Park Zoo and New York Aquarium.

The Office of Payroll Administration (OPA) – $16,577,855

The Office of Payroll Administration has been providing consistent on-time processing and delivery of payroll and employee benefit services to more than 300,000 civil service workers at over eighty NYC government agencies. It is important to keep in mind that the OPAs budget is for payroll administration and not the actual pay for the 300,000 workers it serves..

The Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment (MOME) – $16,269,108

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) comprises four divisions: the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, NYC Media and the office of Nightlife. NYC Media is the largest municipal television and radio broadcasting entity in the country. It has 18 million viewers within a 50-mile radius. The workforce and educational initiatives include  film, television, theater, music, publishing, advertising and digital content which account for over 305,000 jobs, and an economic output of $104 billion.

NY Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Queens Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum and NY Shakespeare Festival– $16,503,251 

New York City is a city of amazing cultural and educational attractions, both for its residents and its visitors. New York’s botanical gardens are museums of the world’s living plant collections. They also host comprehensive horticultural education classes. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum creates an educational experience for children that inspire curiosity, creativity, and a love of learning. Botanical gardens, museums and literature festivals attract tourists to the city every year and can also be enjoyed by UN Diplomats. 

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