Mayor Adams will spare the NYPD, FDNY and Department of Sanitation from another round of planned budget cuts – but he orders his administration to find a way to cut $2.1 billion in planned housing spending and services for newly arrived migrants, according to a new memo from town hall.
The memo, written by Jacques Jiha, Adams’ budget director, was sent to all agency heads Monday morning. This comes days after the Adams administration introduced the mayor’s fiscal plan amendment in November, which would impose deep budget cuts across all agencies as part of a 5% reduction in government-wide spending municipal, first ordered in September due to fiscal concerns related to the migrant crisis.
While all agencies have successfully developed plans to meet the 5% spending reduction goal starting in September, the administration “needs to do more” to rein in costs while the city still faces a deficit of $7.1 billion for fiscal year 2025, which begins in July. 1, Jiha wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily News.
To that end, Jiha wrote that the administration would move forward with implementing a further 5 percent reduction in city government-wide spending in January through a so-called Program to Eliminate the Gap, or PEG . Agencies must submit their plans on how to achieve the January PEG target by December 8, Jiha added.
“I really wish there were other, less painful ways to resolve this budget crisis,” Jiha wrote to agency heads.
Unlike the September directive – which imposed budget cuts across all city agencies – the NYPD, FDNY and Department of Sanitation will not have to participate in the January PEG due to fears of additional budget cuts to those departments “could have an impact on public safety, health and public safety”. cleanliness,” according to Jiha.
Although these three agencies are exempt, Jiha wrote in his missive that the administration is implementing another, even more drastic, belt-tightening initiative in addition to the January PEG, which is specifically aimed at reducing costs associated with the care of newly arrived migrants.
The additional initiative, which The News first reported last week, will require the administration to cut planned spending on housing and providing services to migrants by 20% in the current 2024 fiscal year, which began on July 1 and will end on June 30. , 2024, Jiha wrote. By its own projections, the administration is on track to spend $4.7 billion to respond to the migrant crisis in fiscal year 2024, meaning the mayor’s team will have to trim that $940 million price tag. dollars to comply with the 20% savings guideline.
Jiha wrote that the same PEG will also require a 20% reduction in spending on the migrant crisis in fiscal year 2025, which runs from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025. With the administration planning to spend 5 $.9 billion to address the migrant crisis in fiscal year 2025. By 2025, this translates to an additional reduction of $1.18 billion, for a total reduction of approximately $2. $12 billion by mid-2025.
Jiha did not explain how exactly the administration would achieve such a significant reduction in spending related to the migrant crisis, but said Adams’ new Office of Asylum Seeker Operations would lead the charge for the developing a plan. His letter says the administration can generate savings by continuing to “reduce the length of shelter stays” for migrants, which has been a priority for the mayor since he implemented policies earlier this year limiting consecutive stays to 30 days for single adult migrants and to 60 days. days for migrant families with children.
Among the city agencies spending the most to respond to the migrant crisis are the departments of Homeless Services, Housing Preservation and Development, Emergency Management, and Health and Hospitals.
Adams spokesman Charles Lutvak would not say whether planned budget cuts for the migrant crisis would mean closing emergency shelters. Lutvak, however, reiterated that the administration must come up with a plan to close the $7.1 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2025 by mid-January, when the mayor is expected to release his first plan for the next budget from the city.
“We need to close an unprecedented budget deficit in just two months, and without the meaningful and timely support we need from Albany and Washington, we will be forced to find even more savings,” Lutvak said . “Our state and federal partners can help prevent these cuts by providing the funding needed to support vital city services.”
According to the latest data from City Hall, nearly 66,000 migrants, most of them Latino, remain housed in municipal shelters, costing the administration millions of dollars each week.
Democratic leaders on the City Council — who could block some of the spending cuts requested by the mayor — have expressed concerns for months that Adams’ administration is spending too much on the response to the migrant crisis by relying on for-profit entrepreneurs for hosting services. The city has historically relied on nonprofit organizations to outsource these services.
Asked about the planned 20% reduction in spending related to the migrant crisis, Brooklyn City Councilman Justin Brannan, a Democrat who chairs the Council’s Finance Committee, said he sympathized that the administration Adams was not receiving enough monetary aid from the federal government to deal with the crisis. migrant crisis.
But Brannan said the for-profit contract model the administration relies on does the city a disservice.
“Without real help from Washington, the administration relied on expensive emergency contracts with for-profit companies that cost the city billions of dollars in migrant care and now the bill is due,” a- he declared. “We need a full accounting of these costs and a long-term plan. »
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