NEW YORK – Mayor Eric Adams intends to tighten the city’s budget again.
A deficit of billions is expected for next year.
For one, he has ordered a partial hiring freeze as he warns of an “economic tsunami” heading for New York City.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reports, this builds on what he asked those agencies to do back in September. He cites the local and national economy, financial markets, rising healthcare costs, high energy prices and inflation as reasons.
In a letter to city officials, the mayor’s budget director said that 50% of the vacancies in the city government remain unfilled – about 4,700 positions.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to find those efficiencies, to find the best possible cost savings, and then we’re going to move on to Plan B and Plan C,” Adams said.
This does not apply to uniformed members of the FDNY, NYPD, or teachers or revenue-generating positions.
That is, he issues this warning.
“No one escapes. We will do it at a level that does not compromise the delivery of services and the safety of the city,” Adams said.
Back in September, city officials were told to cut their budgets by 3% this fiscal year and nearly 5% next.
New York Comptroller Brad Lander criticized the so-called “gap elimination program,” responding to this new letter that the policy “reinforces our concerns about recruiting and retaining the personnel needed to implement critical programs from road safety improvements to housing applications.” ”
The mayor fired back.
“I just think he needs to focus on his office and delivering services,” Adams said. “We need to be prepared for the economic tsunami that’s coming our city… whether it’s some kind of tsunami remains to be seen. We will release an economic forecast in a few weeks.”
Elizabeth Brown is a member of the New York City Independent Budget Office’s bipartisan budget group. She says the number of city employees has declined since the pandemic.
“These positions are currently unfilled, but we have heard from certain agencies, for example the Housing Department, that have had high vacancy rates that are affecting some of the services they provide. As I said, it remains to be seen which agencies are affected.”
New York City had already declared a state of emergency in October because of the acceptance of asylum seekers. The mayor warned that if the city didn’t receive state or federal funding, it would run out of money for other priorities. Where’s the money he requested?
“Still in talks,” Adams said.
Authorities are also told that City Hall will not allocate funds to new initiatives or programs – they must fund themselves.
The administration is also in the process of renegotiating the employment contracts.