NYC Mayor Announces Cuts as High as 15% for All Agencies Amid Ballooning Migrant Costs

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is pictured during a press conference at City Hall on July 19, 2023, in New York. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/TNS)

NEW YORK (New York Daily News/TNS) — Mayor Adams announced Saturday there would be cuts as high as 15% to all city agencies by next spring — including the police and health departments — in response to the costly migrant crisis, which could further impact the delivery of city services.

The mayor made a surprise speech over the weekend telling New Yorkers that the lack of substantial support from the federal and state government regarding the crisis — at a time when COVID aid is drying up — has forced the city to impose austerity cuts.

“We are in the middle of a humanitarian crisis involving asylum seekers, a crisis that will cost our city $12 billion over three fiscal years,” Adams said. “While our compassion is limitless our resources are not.”

Those cuts, the administration said, intend to “minimize disruption to programs and services, and there will not be layoffs,” according to a press release on the announcement. The current budget stands at $107 billion.

The cuts must be submitted ahead of the city’s budget update in November. If the city doesn’t get more federal help between now and January, Adams warned that there could be an additional 5% cut in January and another 5% in April. Adams also intends to impose a 5% cut in the following four years. City agencies could stave off those cuts if more federal and state aide comes through, according to Adams.

Adams’ announcement comes as the city continues to take in thousands of migrants mostly entering from the U.S.-Mexico border. To date, there have been somewhere around 110,000 migrants arriving in New York City.

An estimated 60,000 migrants are currently under the city’s care, according to the government figures.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams — who leads the 51-member body that’s heavily scrutinized the mayor’s strategy on the crisis — had no immediate comment regarding the budget cuts.

But City Comptroller Brad Lander, who’s been a staunch critic of the mayor’s handling of the migrant crisis, agreed that more federal and state aid is needed to manage the crisis.

“But while our office will review these proposed cuts, one thing is immediately clear: Scapegoating asylum seekers will not improve education, public safety, housing affordability, or quality of life for New Yorkers,” Lander said in a statement.

For months, Adams has sounded the alarm over how the crisis has stressed the city’s social safety net, saying the city is running out of space to house the migrants. Advocates for the migrants said the city can do more to effectively respond to the crisis, including renting more vacant hotel rooms or provide city-funded housing vouchers to free up space in the shelter system.

The fight for more federal funding has put Adams at loggerheads with the Biden administration, which hasn’t fully responded to Adams’ needs.

On Wednesday, Adams predicted that the crisis would “destroy” the city without greater federal and state intervention, provoking the ire of left-wing groups who believed the mayor was scapegoating migrants.

Adams on Friday stuck by his words, warning that without help it will impinge the delivery of services to migrants and “long-time New Yorkers who are already struggling,”

“We already had a homeless population, we already had low-income New Yorkers that were struggling to feed themselves and to stay in their homes,” Adams said on Friday. “We are going to transform this city, if this is not under control, with a price tag of $12 billion.”

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