Mayor Adams’ budget plan restores NYPD funding but keeps $58 million cut to city libraries

NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams’ latest city budget proposal would pump more than $62 million into hiring new NYPD officers — but keep in place a similarly sized spending cut to New York’s public library systems that their leaders say could deal an existential blow to their branches’ ability to operate.

The executive budget for the 2025 fiscal year, which Adams formally unveiled in a speech Wednesday, comes with a total price tag of $111.6 billion — an increase of $2.2 billion over the $109.4 billion preliminary budget plan Adams floated in January.

Despite the higher amount, the executive plan leaves in place a combined $58.3 million cut to the budgets of the city’s three public library systems, a maintained spending trim first reported by the Daily News ahead of the mayor’s speech. Library leaders have said those spending reductions would force them to enact deep cuts to everything from open hours to social programs.

On the flip side, the executive budget restores $62.4 million in previously cut NYPD funding that would allow the police department to hire 1,200 new officers who’d be ready to hit the streets early next year.

Asked after his budget speech why he opted to restore NYPD funding over library funding, Adams called it a “tough choice,” but said he can’t “do anything in the city that’s going to impact public safety.”

“People that go to libraries, I want them to get there safely,” he said.

In his announcement, the mayor ticked off a list of budgetary challenges the city has faced in the run-up to releasing the latest spending plan — like the expiration of temporary federal funding for a variety of city programs, including education initiatives, and the unexpected cost of the migrant crisis.

Adams has for months argued he must slash city spending on various fronts in order to offset the tens of millions of dollars the city’s spending on the migrant crisis every month. He said Wednesday that the cost-cutting measures his administration has undertaken have “worked,” saving the city some $7.2 billion over the current and next fiscal years.

“We made smart choices, trimmed agency and asylum-seeker budgets and made conservative revenue forecasts. This, combined with better-than-expected revenues in a booming economy, resulted in a balanced budget and the stabilization of the city’s fiscal outlook,” Adams said. “We did not resort to tax hikes, major service cuts or layoffs.”

But City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and council Finance Chairman Justin Brannan said the executive budget leaves “too many cuts in place,” including for libraries.

Brannan told reporters after the mayor’s announcement that there’s still more than $1 billion in revenue presently on hand to restore prior cuts.

“It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not the full loaf that we’re looking for,” he said. “There’s more than enough here to restore all the cuts, get us back to zero and then some.”

The council has consistently projected rosier tax revenues than the mayor’s office, a perspective its Democratic leaders say should allow the city to avert nearly all budget cuts the mayor has implemented and sought. On Wednesday, even the typically fiscally hawkish Citizens Budget Commission said Adams’ latest spending plan “significantly underbudgets,” leaving an unclear fiscal snapshot for how the city “will maintain, expand, or shrink critical programs.”

The presidents of the city’s three public library systems said they were “deeply disappointed” by the executive budget blueprint.

“The $58.3M in cuts that libraries are facing, if enacted, threaten to upend much of the progress we’ve made over the past few years, and will severely impact vulnerable communities who need our services the most,” New York Public Library President Anthony Marx, Queens Public Library President Dennis Walcott and Brooklyn Public Library President Linda Johnson said in a joint statement. “We’ve already lost seven-day service city-wide, and are looking at most branches being open for only five days a week should these cuts go through.”

If the cuts are pushed through, the systems would also have to delay openings of new library branches and curtail various programming, including everything from free U.S. citizenship and English language classes for immigrants to young adult literacy courses and career development programs for school-age kids, the leaders warned in March.

In a briefing later in the day, an Adams administration official, who only spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while the NYPD would avoid immediate cuts under Adams’ executive plan, the department is looking at some trims in the long run. That includes not being able to hire two new classes of officers that are supposed to start in spring and summer of 2025 that “remain unfunded,” the official said.

The NYPD’s overtime budget, meantime, continues to skyrocket. NYPD overtime spending is set to hit $961 million this fiscal year alone, a massive figure driven by increased subway patrols and responses to recent protests in the city, according to the administration official.

On the education front, Adams’ executive budget would restore $514 million in funding previously cut for key programs, like the free 3-K and pre-K programs.

Some education advocates say that restoration, which was first announced last week, isn’t enough to ensure all children in the city can access the popular programs.

In his news conference, Adams promised the programs would be universally accessible.

“Everyone who wants a seat will have access to a seat, and we’re not going to put someone on the E train and send them all the way out to South Jamaica, Queens, if they live in Manhattan,” Adams said. “We’re going to be accommodating as we always have been to make sure that these children are getting that early childhood education.”

Various cuts to other city agencies remain in the executive budget. That includes eliminating a parks department “community garden program for at risk youth,” budget documents show. By scrapping that program, the city will save $140,000 in the 2025 fiscal year, the documents say.

The release of the mayor’s executive proposal kicks off the last sprint of the city’s budget season before he and the council must adopt a final budget for the 2025 fiscal year by the July 1 deadline.

In its budget response released earlier this month, the council said it had identified $3.3 billion in unrealized tax revenue as compared to the mayor’s preliminary plan. Council Democrats have argued that additional cash should be used to avoid nearly all of the mayor’s cuts.

The mayor’s executive budget also predicts a rosier revenue picture than his preliminary plan. However, the executive plan isn’t quite as optimistic as the council’s projection, predicting $2.3 billion in more revenue as compared to the preliminary blueprint from January.

“We have to be extremely conservative, we can’t get it wrong,” Adams said of why his office’s revenue forecasts remain lower than the council’s.