STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Mayor Eric Adams announced budget cuts this week that will mean fewer services for New Yorkers, and he blamed the ongoing migrant crisis.
From public sector unions, to public libraries, to his fellow elected officials, reaction to Adams’ cuts has been mostly negative, but the mayor has shown no sign of changing course in his November financial plan.
“For months, we have warned New Yorkers about the challenging fiscal situation our city faces,” Adams said. “To balance the budget as the law requires, every city agency dug into their own budget to find savings, with minimal disruption to services. And while we pulled it off this time, make no mistake: Migrant costs are going up, tax revenue growth is slowing, and COVID stimulus funding is drying up. No city should be left to handle a national humanitarian crisis largely on its own, and without the significant and timely support we need from Washington, D.C., today’s budget will be only the beginning.”
While Adams touted a “minimal disruption to services,” the reality on the ground has been much different, as the mayor’s administration deals with the migrant that it expects to cost the city $12 billion over the next few years.
MORE THAN 130,000 MIGRANTS
Since April 2022, more than 130,000 migrants have made their way to the five boroughs, with tens of thousands remaining sheltered in the city’s care.
The set up of more than 210 shelters around the five boroughs has led to previous cuts to the city’s budget, but the latest belt-tightening announced Thursday marked the most drastic slashing of funding allocations.
Members of Adams’ administration held a Thursday briefing on the budget cuts that offered little information. That was because the briefing took place shortly after the mayor’s office sent out a press release without any actual documents showing what was actually being cut — but impacted groups were quick to call out hizzoner.
CUTS IN LIBRARY SERVICE
The three public libraries in the five boroughs — the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Public Library — released a joint statement highlighting how the budget cuts will impact their services.
In addition to less spending on things like library materials, programming, and building maintenance and repairs, the libraries will need to cut Sunday services at the remaining branches that still offer it, including at Staten Isalnd’s Todt Hill–Westerleigh branch of the New York Public Library.
“Without sufficient funding, we cannot sustain our current levels of service, and any further cuts to the Libraries’ budgets will, unfortunately, result in deeper service impacts,” the libraries wrote in their joint statement. “We know how much New Yorkers rely on the vital resources we provide, and we remain committed to meeting their needs as best as we can.”
SMALLEST POLICE FORCE IN DECADES
Other impacts from the mayor’s budget cuts include an end to Staten Island’s e-waste curbside pickup program, a hiring freeze among all city agencies, and a staffing shortage at the NYPD that will see the smallest police force in decades.
Patrick Hendry — president of the Police Benevolent Association, which has been allied with Adams, a former cop — blasted the budget cuts, raising concerns about public safety.
“This is truly a disaster for every New Yorker who cares about safe streets. Cops are already stretched to our breaking point, and these cuts will return us to staffing levels we haven’t seen since the crime epidemic of the ‘80s and ‘90s. We cannot go back there,” he said. “We need every level of government to work together to find a way to support police officers and protect New York City’s 30 years of public safety progress.”