NEW YORK -- After just seven weeks in office, Mayor Eric Adams is giving New Yorkers a peek into how he plans to spend taxpayer dollars, saying he has to prioritize public safety for the city's economy to recover from COVID.
He got elected by promising to keep the city safe, and despite the pandemic of gun violence and an economy still hobbled by COVID-19, Adams says he's going to keep that promise.
"Reducing crime is a prerequisite to prosperity and recovery. Our city's economic outcome is picking up steam, but that recovery will be delayed if New Yorkers do not feel safe," Adams said.
The mayor's $98.5 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 makes note of just how much major and violent crime has increased.
- To view the spending plan, click here.
But faced with an increasingly progressive City Council, where hiking the NYPD budget might be problematic, the mayor tread carefully about just how he will reduce crime.
"Does this mean that you're going to be hiring more police officers?" CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer asked.
"We're going to maintain, right now, we have 35,000 ... Before we bring on an additional police officer, we're going to look at who we have. Why do I have police officers that are sitting doing clerical duties? So once we bring our officers back to patrol, we can do a real analysis of how many officers we need and we're going to do something else, better deployment with our manpower," Adams said.
But the "Defund the Cops" crowd in the City Council shouldn't necessarily take that as a victory.
"No matter what we have to do, the number of police officers, I'm going to make sure we have the right number of officers to keep our city safe," Adams said.
The mayor's blueprint to end gun violence also calls for changes to bail reform and other state laws. He got testy Tuesday over press reports that a personal trip to Albany to lobby for bail reform tweaks didn't go well.
But Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins made it clear Wednesday that bail reform is not exactly something the legislature thinks is necessary now.
"There's a national spike in crime, so for us to pretend that our bail reforms that, again, are addressing misdemeanors and non-violent felons is responsible for the national crime wave is just, it's just irrational," she said.
This is only Adams' preliminary spending plan. He'll do a real budget, a final proposal, in the spring after he finds out how much money he gets from Albany and whether Albany lawmakers are willing to make any changes to criminal justice laws.
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