NEW YORK — The City Council says the city can stave off some of Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed cuts in municipal services — in which libraries, sanitation and public safety services are on the chopping block — with $1.2 billion in additional revenue it projects in this year’s city budget, according to a report it plans to release Sunday.
The report comes ahead of the Council’s Finance Committee hearing on Monday exploring proposed cuts from Adams, who has taken an ax to trim agency budgets so monies can cover the city’s ongoing migrant crisis. The Council, however, says the migrant crisis is not the primary driver of these budget gaps.
Mayor Adams’ plan, known as the November plan, ordered all agencies — including the NYPD and city Education Department — to slash their budgets by 5%. Adams said he’s ready to order an additional 10% of cuts by the beginning of next year if migrant crisis worsens.
Council leaders say many of the cuts may be staved off.
“The Council’s economists, who have consistently provided realistic forecasts, still project $1.2 billion more in FY 2024 revenue than the Mayor’s budget office, leaving room for flexibility to avert some cuts when paired with the $1.45 billion of in-year reserves,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams and Justin Brannan, the Council’s Finance Committee chair.
“To close budget gaps in the years ahead, it is imperative that the City takes a different approach that prioritizes its investments in essential services, rather than making overly broad cuts, and seeks additional revenue to protect critical programs that support the health of New Yorkers,” said the statement from Adams and Brannan.
“Our city’s economy will rebound from this challenging period, but it will require strategic and responsible management to ensure New Yorkers persevere without being harmed.”
The Council’s economists project the extra $1.2 billion will be found in greater personal income, property, sales and business taxes for the remainder of the year.
But they also predict that the city will face more economic headwinds in the coming years thanks to a variety of factors, including slow economic growth, a rise in the unemployment rate and expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.
For weeks, the Council has objected to Mayor Adams’ approach of proposing across-the-board cuts, including to public libraries, virtually all of which are now closed on Sundays. The NYPD’s plan to reduce its headcount of uniformed members prompted Gov. Kathy Hochul to pledge some intervention.
But Mayor Adams and top officials have consistently warned that with very little help expected from the federal government, municipal services in New York will be severely impacted.
Speaker Adams and Councilman Brannan have countered that there are better ways to reduce bloated agency budgets while still delivering for New Yorkers.
“We have been clear about our disagreement with the Administration’s overreliance on expensive emergency contracts, too often with for-profit companies, to provide services for migrants,” the two wrote in an op-ed on amNew York/Metro.
“Our belief is that, wherever possible, the City must shift its service-delivery contracts to nonprofit organizations with more expertise and hire the relevant city workers, which can help us respond and be more fiscally prudent.”
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