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The City Council will reconvene next week for the first in-person meeting in 16 months following the body’s shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 51-member body will return to City Hall before Thursday to adopt the budget that is due by July 1. Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a $98.6 billion spending plan, which would be the biggest in city history if it is passed by the council next week.
“I’m excited to go back,” Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) told The Post.
“Let’s remember that many New Yorkers never had the luxury of working remotely during this pandemic. We were lucky. So, if New York City is back then New York City’s legislative body needs to be back too,” Brannan said.
His colleague, Councilman Keith Powers (D-Manhattan), agreed.
“As the city reopens after a hard year in New York City, this is the right move to reconvene in person at City Hall to pass the budget,” Powers told The Post.
“in the next six months, we need to be laser-focused on addressing the economic recovery, public safety and the safe reopening of our city,” Powers said.
Council lawyer Chuck Davis emailed members Friday about the return of in person deliberations. The full reopening of City Hall comes nearly two months after de Blasio first ordered some municipal workers back to their desks on May 3.
“The Governor has declared the end of the State of Emergency for many Covid-19 restrictions,” Davis wrote.
“During the State of Emergency, the Governor had suspended various State laws, including those that allowed us to conduct Stated and Committee Meetings over Zoom. For this reason, the Stated for budget adoption will be done in person next week at City Hall,” he wrote.
“We will be taking all appropriate precautions to protect your safety and that of the very limited staff who will be present,” Davis added.
The council last met in person on Feb. 27, 2020. A meeting scheduled for March 18, 2020 was cancelled due to the virus.
The remote meetings often led to council members paying half attention to their jobs like in May when Helen Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat, attended a virtual finance committee hearing while driving in her car.
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks
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