NYC mayor promises efficiency in 3rd term

NEW YORK - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered his ninth State of the City address Wednesday, focusing on increasing efficiency instead of new spending.

Mayor Bloomberg began his speech by promising that the city will not be penalized for the fiscal mistakes made by the state. Under Gov. David's Paterson's proposed budget, which was unveiled Tuesday, school aid is expected to be sharply cut and additional taxes and fees will likely be imposed.

Speaking at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, t he mayor discussed plans to help struggling New Yorkers, including a foreclosure prevention program that will include a $10 million mortgage assistance fund intended to help thousands of homeowners to refinance and keep their houses.

"We will continue demanding and achieving progress in every area every single day," the mayor said.

Bloomberg also said the city will establish a rescue fund for distressed apartment buildings, under which 165,000 of affordable housing units will be created or preserved.

Emphasizing the importance of efficiency, the mayor discussed plans to streamline some areas of city government. Those include merging the Department of Juvenile Justice and the children's welfare agency, which serve overlapping populations. The city will also work to centralize many services, including human resources, billing and maintenance.

Bloomberg was elected last year to a third term. He had been limited to two consecutive terms. He persuaded the City Council to change the law so that he could run again.

AP wires were used in this report.

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