New York City’s budget is projected to grow by an additional $4 billion over the next several months — bringing the overall annual spending plan to $102.8 billion.
The budget modification, which Mayor de Blasio announced Monday, is due to the billions of dollars in relief from the federal government to cover costs associated with the city’s COVID response and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
The last spending blueprint previously adopted by the city in June stood at $98.7 billion.
Tuesday’s announcement is the last budget statement de Blasio is expected to put out before he steps down on Jan. 1.
“The November Plan recognizes crucial help from the federal government which has allowed New York City to rebound strong and invest in our future, from fighting COVID-19 to climate change,” he said in a written statement. “As this administration comes to an end, we’ve substantially lowered budget gaps and increased reserves, leaving the next administration with a strong foundation to continue New York City’s recovery.”
Budget watchdogs, though, were not in total agreement.
Andrew Rein, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, noted that while the recent flow of cash from the federal government would effectively cover the city until the next budget, the next mayor, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, will be confronted with how to pay for ongoing expenses now being paid for through federal funds, which eventually could dry up.
Those expenses include de Blasio’s expansion of pre-kindergarten education for 3-year-olds and some non-profit funding, which is now being paid for by the city with federal money, Rein noted.
“There are still gaps,” Rein said of the city’s future spending. “Eric Adams has his work cut out for him.”
Adams has said that he plans to instruct city agencies to find savings once he takes office.
Given the likelihood that the current level of federal funding will eventually slow, or stop altogether, Rein said that’s a good idea — especially in light of labor contracts he’ll have to renegotiate as mayor.
“The budget essentially does not include money to pay for the next round of raises for city employees,” Rein said. “Mayor de Blasio did not take the opportunity to use extraordinary levels of federal aid to help restructure the city’s budget and workforce to be fiscally sustainable with recurring city revenues. Mayor-Elect Adams should proactively take steps to do so.”
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