Mayor Adams released his preliminary budget for the 2024 financial year on Thursday, January 12th. The budget came up to $102.7 billion. One of the main aspects of Mayor Adams’ budget and what he called an important quality of his administration is fiscal discipline. “As our city continues its recovery, our administration continues to make investments in our core priorities — including public safety, affordable housing, and clean streets — while exercising strong fiscal management,” Adams said as he presented the preliminary budget at City Hall. “By asking agencies to self-fund new needs with pre-existing resources, the Fiscal Year 2024 Preliminary Budget continues our strong track record of making prudent use of taxpayer dollars while continuing to ‘Get Stuff Done’ for New Yorkers.”
Running A Tight Ship
Mayor Adams said the preliminary budget was drafted in a manner that considers the high possibility of slow growth in the economy and a fall in city revenues. It was pointed out by Mayor Adams that the city will face several financial challenges that would affect the city’s accounts. The budget has increased by $1.7 billion when compared to 2023’s budget. However, it is down $1.3 billion from the $104 billion that resulted from Mayor Adams’ budget modification in November 2022. The preliminary budget showed expected revenues of $1.7 billion by the end of the 2023 fiscal year. As a protective measure, the preliminary budget will have a city reserve of $8.3 billion.
Mayor Adams’ budget caters to core services and looks to assist with housing. Funds will be directed towards the mayor’s housing and homelessness plan which will assist with down payments for prospective homeowners. There would be money directed toward Fair Student Funding, the implementation of a citywide building code, and the reduction of rat infestation.
Mayor Adams’ budget will also see cuts to the budgets of important items. City libraries, CUNY, and early childhood education will see their budgets cut. Social services will also suffer a reduction in their budgets.
Mayor Adams’ budget will also see the removal of more than 4,300 vacancies across city departments. “Some will argue that vacancy reduction results in agencies not being able to do their jobs. Don’t believe them,” he said. He believes that the city has a large enough workforce to function normally.
The budget cuts for certain services and departments have been criticized by City Council members, some of the more vocal members being Speaker Adrienne Adams and member Justin Brannan. They released a statement after Mayor Adams announced his budget. “As our city continues to recover from the pandemic, we must prioritize smart investments that maintain essential services to keep all New Yorkers healthy and safe,” said Speaker Adams and Brannan. “We also must prioritize solutions to the staffing challenges that have hindered city agencies in delivering key services to New Yorkers, such as housing and food assistance. To that end, many of our concerns with the Mayor’s November Plan remain with the Fiscal Year 2024 Preliminary Budget.”
In November, Mayor Adams had stated he wanted city departments to decrease expenditure by 3%, a matter that LittleAfrica News reported.
“The budget vision put forward by the Administration to cut funding for CUNY, libraries, social services, early childhood education, and other essential services for New Yorkers is one this Council cannot support,” the joint statement said. “The city is facing multiple crises that require smart investments, and the approach in the November Plan only undermines the health, safety, and recovery of our city.”
Mayor Adams’ budget is only in the preliminary stages. In the months before the final budget is agreed upon there will be various calculations, consultations, and negotiations with the relevant parties. The City Council will play a significant role in this process.
The New York State budget will also determine how Mayor Adams’s final budget, required to be published before July 1, will look. “Our disciplined and efficient budget keeps us safe and allows us to continue to provide the essential services New Yorkers rely on. This is just the beginning of a process, and we look forward to working with our communities and our Council colleagues on the final budget. There may be those who say that we should do things differently, that we should extend ourselves further, save less and spend more. But as mayor, the buck stops with me. It is my responsibility to keep our city strong and resilient, prepared for whatever lies ahead,” Adams wrote in an op-ed.
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