New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday, January 10th, a partial reversal of budget cuts previously set in November, affecting the NYPD and FDNY.
Mayor Adams’ decision, primarily influenced by updated and lower cost estimates for managing migrant inflows, will see the reinstatement of a police academy class and the continuation of staffing a fifth firefighter in 20 engine companies.
As a result of the budget being restored, 600 new recruits will join the ranks of the NYPD, as announced by Adams’ office.
NYPD Police Commissioner Edward Caban said, “We need every officer we can get, which is why today is a great day for the NYPD.”
At the City Hall media briefing, Adams remained tight-lipped about potential reprieves for other city agencies affected by the November budget cuts.
He indicated that Budget Director Jacques Jiha would provide more details during the upcoming preliminary city budget announcement for the fiscal year 2025.
The city administration’s move is seen as a strategic attempt to mend Adams’ tarnished political image rather than a significant fiscal adjustment.
The budget restoration, a mere $37 million of the previously announced $3.7 billion in cuts, arrives ahead of Adams’ upcoming annual budget discussions with the City Council.
City Council Member Justin Brannan, chair of the finance committee, critiqued the Mayor’s approach, highlighting inconsistencies in his rationale and questioning the credibility of the city’s budget narrative.
Brannan stated, “The mayor is doing a budget dance with himself, and his rhetoric is out of step with the math.”
Mayor Adams has been vocal about the necessity of budget cuts to balance the substantial costs associated with the city’s migrant housing and services.
However, the City Council, led by its Democratic majority, has disputed Mayor Adams’ approach, suggesting that tax revenue projections were underestimated.
Council projections estimate an additional $1.5 billion in tax revenue than the mayor’s team’s forecasts for the fiscal years 2024 and 2025.
Democratic City Council members argue that the surplus is substantial enough to overturn a range of cuts proposed by Mayor Adams.
These cuts, if implemented, would have led to the suspension of weekend library services throughout the city, hindered sanitation operations, and various educational initiatives, among other consequences.
Brooklyn Councilman Justin Brannan commended the reversal of cuts to the NYPD and FDNY but urged the mayor to reconsider spending reductions in other sectors.
The decision to roll back these budget cuts stems from an improved revenue outlook and decreased estimated costs for migrant-related expenses, dropping from $12 billion to approximately $10 billion through mid-2025.
However, specific financial details justifying the reversal remain undisclosed. The budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year, starting July 1, still looms at $7 billion.
Andrew Rein, head of the Citizens Budget Commission, acknowledged the necessity of cutting migrant spending and maintaining strong revenues while also emphasizing the city’s need to reduce planned spending to address next year’s budget gap effectively.
The November budget cuts had sparked widespread concern among New Yorkers, with a recent Quinnipiac University poll indicating that 83% feared personal impact from these reductions.
Concurrently, Adams’ approval rating has plummeted to a low of 28%.