Mayor de Blasio and Board Chair Corey Johnson are finalizing a $ 87 billion budget agreement that will avoid city layoffs while cutting $ 1 billion from the Police Department’s budget through transfers and spending cuts, The Post has learned.
The agreement – which the City Council was briefing on Monday night – largely returned the cuts made by Hizzoner to the summer youth employment program, advisers for high-need schools and tuition assistance for low-income City University students.
But it also kept most of the other spending cuts proposed by de Blasio in April intact as officials sought to navigate the Big Apple deficit estimated at $ 9 billion, caused by a coronavirus pandemic outbreak and subsequent economic closure.
April Hizzoner’s budget – when the deficit was estimated at only $ 7 billion – continues the city’s tradition to save the NYPD from the budget ax even in difficult times.
Only a few weeks later, the brutal death of the police in the arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis skyrocketed on social media, sending tens of thousands of New Yorkers to the streets in protest – the first in a series of imminent dominoes – making Hizzoner politically besieged and fully improving the debate the budget.
The latest spending plan hopes to answer calls from protesters to ‘thwart’ the NYPD by cutting and transferring $ 1 billion from its budget, four sources confirmed. However, City Hall uses accounting standards which critics call ‘tricks’.
This transferred school security officers back to the Department of Education, moving $ 307 million from the NYPD budget in the first year. He also asked the school’s security agent to be transferred to another agent that was still undetermined, accounting for $ 42 million.
Controversially, sources told The Post, City Hall also calculated $ 134 million in additional benefits – such as health, dental and eye care – related to the employee to another agency, and calculated the savings toward the $ 1 billion goal.
The NYPD should also cut its overtime expenditure by $ 352 million by 2021 – roughly half of its annual expenditure, which exceeds $ 700 million in each of the last three budgets completed.
Most of the remaining savings came from reducing the number of departmental employees through reductions and by delaying cadet classes, the source added.
However, several popular programs cut by de Blasio in April have seen their funds partially or completely recovered, three sources said:
- The ‘Student Fair’ program that helps equalize funding between richer and poorer school districts in Gotham will keep funding flat, instead of facing a $ 100 million cut
- The popular ‘Single Sheperd’ counseling program from the Ministry of Education for high needs schools faces challenges but now has a $ 11 million budget back
- The ASAP CUNY assistance program for low-income students at community colleges also saw many of its deductions, returning funds to levels close to last year
And there was $ 100 million included to provide programming and jobs for urban youth during the summer, largely reversing one of the most controversial cuts from the April de Blasio budget.
In addition, sources say that the agreement between de Blasio and Johnson also avoids layoffs in the city workforce.
The mayor has publicly warned that 22,000 employees could be fired unless state lawmakers in Albany approve the emergency loan authority, only to see the state Senate reject his request twice.
However, the budget – which must be passed on Tuesday – will not be easy to sell.
One calculation seen by The Post shows that 15 out of 50 city MPs can oppose the agreement. The board has 51 seats, although currently one seat is empty.
“The Mayor has two objectives for this budget: maintaining security, and investing in the hardest-hit youths and our communities – all facing the toughest fiscal situation the city has seen in decades,” said City Hall press secretary Freddi Goldstein, who refused to comment on the details. “We believe that we have presented a plan that completes that mission and look forward to working with the Council to issue a budget that helps the city rebuild more strongly.”
Johnson’s office declined to comment.