New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday, January 16th, presented a $109.4 billion budget proposal, which navigates through complex financial challenges by sparing certain critical services from budget cuts while maintaining others.
The preliminary budget proposal, unveiled by Adams at City Hall, sets in motion a period of intense negotiation with the City Council as they work towards a final budget before the 2025 fiscal year commences on July 1.
Initially, due to the financial strain caused by the migrant crisis, Adams had mandated a uniform 5% budget reduction across all city agencies, an extension of a similar cut implemented last November.
This earlier cut led to noticeable public service curtailments, including the end of Sunday hours across all branches of the city’s three public library systems.
However, Adams, in his Tuesday speech, revealed that certain departments, the NYPD, FDNY, Department of Sanitation, and public library systems, would be exempt from this latest round of cuts.
The mayor also reinstated some of the reductions from November, allowing the NYPD to proceed with a previously canceled Police Academy class of 600 and ensuring the retention of thousands of litter baskets on city streets that were originally scheduled for removal.
Adams also mentioned that his preliminary plan includes reductions in the latest cuts for various city departments.
These departments encompass New York City Public Schools, responsible for the nation’s largest public school system; the Department of Social Services, overseeing the city’s shelter system; and the Department for the Aging and the Department of Youth and Community Development.
According to City Hall, the cut for the city’s education department is being reduced to 0.6%, while the Department of Social Services is now facing a 2.7% reduction instead.
Reversing some of the cuts could assist Adams in addressing his record-low polling numbers, which have resulted from New Yorkers’ dissatisfaction with the service reductions he enforced in November.
Adams stated, “We made these adjustments because we know that these are the services that are important to New Yorkers, and they’re important to this administration.”
The mayor credited the ability to revise the budget cuts to improved tax revenue forecasts and mentioned that his administration has successfully reduced the estimated cost of caring for the tens of thousands of recently arrived migrants in the city by $1.8 billion until the end of June 2026
The mayor mentioned last week that the savings were achieved through new initiatives, such as implementing a rule that restricts asylum seekers to 30-day shelter stays for individuals and 60 days for families.
At a media briefing last week, Adams said, “These steps help bend the cost curve below the forecast we released in August, and thanks to the exceptional work of our public servants, we have continued to move forward to running the city efficiently throughout this entire crisis that we are facing.”
Adams’ budget director, Jacques Jiha, confirmed that the city now expects an additional $2.9 billion in revenue over the next two fiscal years.
Moreover, Governor Kathy Hochul has pledged $2.4 billion in state aid to address the migrant crisis, including $500 million in emergency funds.
Despite these positive developments, Adams has not reversed all the cuts from his November plan and has introduced further austerity measures.
According to budget documents, the preliminary plan includes hiring freezes for nearly all city agencies as a cost-saving measure.
Additionally, the preliminary plan outlines that NYC Public Schools would be required to make a $50 million cut in the upcoming fiscal year from the city’s universal 3-K program.
Meanwhile, the Department of Parks would need to discontinue a community garden program aimed at “at-risk youth,” resulting in a city savings of $140,000 in the 2025 fiscal year, as detailed in the documents.
City Council Democrats, led by Brooklyn Councilman Justin Brannan, have expressed their intent to reverse many of these cuts, particularly those affecting the public library systems.
Brooklyn Democrat Councilman Justin Brannan emphasized that a top priority is reversing the $24 million cut made to the library systems in November, which resulted in the elimination of Sunday services.
Brannan said, “It’s great that we’re saving Saturday service, but we still want to restore Sunday service.”
He added, “There’s still some cuts that we’d like to see restored from the November plan.”
Mayor Adams has left open the possibility of another round of cuts this April, contingent on the level of state and federal support for the migrant crisis.
He remained non-committal on whether Governor Hochul’s aid would suffice to avoid these cuts, highlighting the need for a detailed analysis of the proposed aid.