Mayor Adams, Facing a Deficit of Billions, Orders Budget Cuts and Hiring Freezes
By Yehudit Garmaise
When Mayor Eric Adams took office nearly a year ago, thanks to the overspending and financial mismanagement of the previous administration, NYC faced a projected total of $8 billion in deficits in the next three fiscal years.
The city also faces another nearly $4 billion owed in “annual debt service,” which is the total amount of principal and interest payments made over a 12-month period, City Councilman Joe Borelli, of Staten Island, pointed out a year ago.
High energy prices and inflation were the reasons the mayor gave in September when he told city agencies that they have to cut their budgets by 3% this fiscal year, and nearly 5% the next.
Then, in October, after more than 20,000 migrants arrived in NYC within several months, the mayor did everything he could to accommodate the city’s newest residents, but he also had his eye on the city’s budget.
At the time, the mayor warned the city would run out of money for other priorities if the state or federal government did not provide funding, which has not been forthcoming.
With the city once again facing another multi-billion dollar deficit in 2023, Mayor Adams, who warned of an “economic tsunami,” coming to crash down on NYC like a giant wave, ordered city agencies to slash their budgets and to stop filling open positions, CBS news reported.
Mayor Adams also told city agencies that they will have to be “self-funded,” as the budget will not be covering them.
In addition, as many as 4,700 jobs, which account for 50% of open city government positions, will not be filled this year, according to a letter the mayor’s budget director wrote to the commissioners of city agencies.
The staffing cuts will not apply to uniformed members of the FDNY, NYPD, teachers, and any positions that generate revenue said the mayor, who provided reassurance that the staffing cuts will not “hurt the delivery of services, nor the safety of the city.”
"We're going to do everything we can to find those efficiencies and to find the best cost savings as possible,” Mayor Adams said.
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, however, voiced worry that the mayor’s fiscal belt-tightening would lead to crucial staffing shortages that would affect NYC residents.
“[The mayor’s financial savings program called, ‘Eliminate the Gap,’] furthers our concerns about recruiting and retaining the staff needed to implement critical programs from traffic safety improvements to housing applications," Lander said.
Not one to be deterred by criticism, Mayor Adams hit back by saying, "I just think that [Lander] needs to focus on his office and delivering services.
"We need to be prepared for the economic tsunami that is coming toward our city: whether it is a tsunami sort of remains to be seen.
"We will be putting out an economic forecast in a couple of weeks."
Photo criedt: Flickr