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Mayor Eric Adams says requested budget cuts for city agencies could be avoided with state, federal aid for asylum seeker crisis

Mayor says NYC agencies may need major cuts to help pay for asylum seekers
Mayor says NYC agencies may need major cuts to help pay for asylum seekers 02:09

NEW YORK -- Major cuts could be coming to agencies across the city that New Yorkers rely on.

Mayor Eric Adams says it's to help pay for the asylum seeker crisis.

"Everything is on the table now," Adams said.

Police, fire, sanitation and schools are all at risk when it comes to cuts, he says.

The mayor announced Saturday he's directing city departments to prepare to slash 5% in spending by November with an additional 10% possible early next year. He says potential cuts will not include layoffs but will still hurt.

"The die is not yet cast. We can still avoid these cuts if Washington and Albany do their part by paying their fair share," Adams said.

So far, about 110,000 asylum seekers have arrived in the city, and it continues to receive about 10,000 each month.

This comes at a time of reduced revenue growth and COVID funding running out.

The city estimates the influx of asylum seekers will cost $12 billion over three fiscal years.

"Twelve billion dollars of running our city -- sanitation, police, education, libraries, everything that we have to run the city. there's a minimum amount of money that comes in that we have to address this crisis that's a national crisis, and we've been ignored," Adams said.

"We can't have this open-ended commitment to sheltering migrants and all of the other care that we give them when they arrive because the city just can't support it," City Councilmember David Carr said.

Carr is worried cuts will only continue.

"Every dollar we've spent so far and will spend is a dollar that we can spend on something else ... Every time the city can't hire workers, like they're announcing now, to carry out basic municipal functions, that's costing you."

"The rapid influx of migrants have put a radical strain on city finances, but we need to understand that they are less than half of the city's budget problems," said Andrew Rein, president of the watchdog group the Citizens Budget Commission.

Rein says the mayor's plan is critical to closing the massive budget gap.

"The mayor is taking the right step right now by asking agencies to start three rounds of savings programs," he said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul had this to say about the ongoing financial crisis Thursday: "It is a challenge for all of us, but we have to focus not on the politics of this but focus on doing what's right. And the answer falls with Washington, with resources ... all the issues that were on my agenda when I went to the White House last weekend."

Adams said the administration will seek to minimize disruption to programs and services, and there will not be layoffs. The city council speaker and finance chair echoed the mayor's plea for support.

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