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WITH the current strains on our budget, city government is understandably focused on maintaining the most essential services.

But we also need to keep improving our quality of life, and to keep fostering innovation by city agencies.

That’s where public-private partnerships make a big difference.

Everyone talks about encouraging the private sector to do more in the public arena.

We make it happen.

For nine years, we’ve created such partnerships to do everything from plant one million new trees to train the next generation of school principals.

And last week we saw two good examples of what such partnerships can achieve, in communities where they’ll have a big positive impact.

On Wednesday, we broke ground for a new home for the Promise Academy — an outstanding public charter school overseen by a nationally renowned education reform group, the Harlem Children’s Zone.

By late next year, some 1,300 of the school’s students — from kindergartners straight through high school seniors — will be in a state-of-the-art school building that will give them the modern classrooms, gyms, labs and libraries they need.

What’s more, the school is going up in the heart of one of our city’s major public housing developments: Saint Nicholas Houses.

And the residents are going to see big benefits.

Building, maintaining and staffing the school is going to produce jobs for qualified Saint Nicholas residents.

More of their kids will become Promise Academy students.

The steady, daily flow of pedestrian traffic to and from the school will also create a livelier and safer environment for the entire community.

And the school and the benefits it will generate are the direct result of generous contributions from two of the city’s major private sector employers: The charitable arm of Goldman Sachs & Company; and Google.

The city’s neighborhood cultural institutions also create jobs and business activity and improve the quality of life in all five boroughs.

One of the most important of them is the Bronx Council on the Arts.

The city has long provided the Council with public dollars — funds it in turn distributes as competitive grants to more than 300 neighborhood cultural groups and some 6,500 artists across the borough.

And now thanks to Chase, the Council is getting a new home that’s more than twice the size of the space it currently occupies.

This gift, valued at $850,000, of a former branch bank building is not only going to allow the Council to greatly expand its operations.

Once it’s up and running, it’s also going to boost the ongoing revival of commerce and shopping in the Westchester Square neighborhood.

Good corporate citizens understand that giving back to our city is just smart business.

It helps them attract the most talented, committed employees.

It improves the communities in which they operate.

And private dollars allow city agencies to try out promising innovations that could benefit everyone, but that without such support might never see the light of day.

So when private businesses and city government team up as partners, the real winners are the taxpayers of New York.