New York City is currently facing a challenging migrant crisis. The previously reported crisis has created a demand for financial support for the city, leading Mayor Eric Adams to ask that the City Council’s discretionary fund be slashed by 50%. Adams suggested that the funds be used to help ease the expensive crisis that has taken a toll on the city’s finances. During an interview with the NYPost, he said the fund, worth $563 million, is used to support charities and other organizations in the city. “We sent out a letter today to the Speaker, asking the City Council members to take a 50% cut in their discretionary dollars because many of them are, you know, talking about what we need to be doing to help the migrant seekers – so they need to help also,” Adams said.
“Let’s not spend other people’s money – so we need them to take a 50% cut in the end of the year so we can contribute and throw the money in a pot.”
Adams said he sent his request to Council Speaker Adrienne Adams for City Council members to slash their fund. A spokesperson from Speaker Adams’ office responded. “The council has received no such letter from the administration. It’s disappointing that the mayor’s word on a budget agreement seems to have decreasing value and he is attempting to renegotiate via the New York Post editorial board,” said the spokesperson.
“At today’s hearing, the council heard from numerous non-profit organizations filling the gaps of essential work for New Yorkers and asylum seekers in our communities without reimbursement from this administration — these are the recipients of council funding.”
“The mayor is starving city agencies of staff and resources, leaving nonprofits to fill the gap without his support, and now he wants to take funding away from these non-profit service providers. When the mayor is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on for-profit contractors to construct tents that go unused but not investing in the non-profit organizations delivering services, it raises serious concerns. The council will always prioritize New Yorkers and the organizations that serve them,” the rep added.
Mayor Adams doubled down on his criticism on Wednesday, December 21st. Adams said Council members could not constantly ask for things to be provided without making a sacrifice on their part. “I’m hearing from my council persons all the time that we need to give more free stuff away. This stuff costs money!” said Adams. “I am not going to take away from taxpayers to go beyond what we have been doing, and we have been doing a lot,” he added.
The NYPost reported that Mayor Adams’ actions had left numerous Democratic Council members unhappy and sent criticism his way. “This is a cheap political stunt by the mayor to gut essential services that serve LGBTQ, immigrant, and other marginalized communities. It’s nothing short of a war with the City Council. He can set an example by cutting his own budget by 50%,” a Council member that chose to remain anonymous allegedly said.
Mayor Adams has no unilateral control over the City Council’s discretionary fund. The request to slash the fund in half in order to boost the city’s finances with regard to the migrant crisis came after hearings questioning how the Adams Administration has dealt with the crisis. Adams has claimed that if New York City does not receive the required level of financial support from the state and federal government, it will not operate or function as required. City departments and the provision of services would be negatively affected. The situation with the high influx of migrants into the city could be exacerbated by the lapsing of Title 42.