(The Center Square) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that his office had come to an agreement with the City Council on an $88.1 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts Wednesday.
The Council was expected to vote on the measure Tuesday evening, although Speaker of the Council Corey Johnson seemed more resigned than enthusiastic about the prospects of its passage.
The budget is about $7.2 billion off from what de Blasio proposed earlier in the year, with the cuts needed because of lost revenue from the drastic declines in business and tourism due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The current plan also does not include any stimulus funding from Washington or borrowing approval from New York state officials. While de Blasio said he would continue to work on both fronts, the lack of either resource could force the city to cut as many as 22,000 jobs starting in October.
In Tuesday afternoon news conference, the mayor said the budget focuses on keeping New Yorkers safe, healthy, fed and housed.
“This budget also sets our foundation for us to continue the restart of our economy, continue our recovery, but do it in a way that just doesn't bring back a status quo that existed before but helps us to become a fairer city,” de Blasio said.
The New York City Police Department was not spared from the cuts as the law enforcement agency saw its July cadet class canceled and more than $500 million in the department’s capital plan that was reassigned to youth centers, recreational activities for kids and improved broadband access for families.
Johnson in a news conference later in the afternoon said he was not happy with many things in the budget, especially since he wanted bigger cuts on police spending and retain more funding for discretionary projects as well as social “safety net” services initiatives, including child care vouchers, legal services for the poor and mental health programs.
“I think there are going to be a lot of no votes from people who thought we should have cut more, and I understand their point,” said the speaker, who added he wanted to cut four NYPD cadet classes.
The agreement cuts only the July class cancellation, which would have been larger due to the city scrapping the April class because of the pandemic. That will take more than 1,150 officers off the payroll.
The next cadet class will begin in October, de Blasio said.