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New Yorkers worry city budget cuts will impact quality of life

How will NYC budget cuts impact city services?
How will NYC budget cuts impact city services? 02:44

NEW YORK -- Major budget cuts are coming to New York City agencies.

Mayor Eric Adams unveiled details Thursday, including cuts to the NYPD that will drop the number of cops patrolling the streets to the lowest number since the 1990s, fewer litter bins on street corners and fewer resources for cleaning up vacant lots and greenways, cuts to education programs including pre-K and 3-K, and many more.

CBS New York's Lisa Rozner and Ali Bauman spoke to New Yorkers about how these cuts could impact their quality of life.

Lisette Orsini knows everyone at the Astoria Houses. She's lived there for three decades, but since last year, her neighborhood has seen a rise in almost every major crime, and quality of life, she says, is suffering.

"Like in the buildings, we sometimes can't even go inside the buildings 'cause there's people there just sleeping there. So it's kinda hard in every way," she said.

Orsini worries what will come from the budget cuts that City Hall announced Thursday.

Sanitation Department cuts

"It used to be cleaner," one person said.

"I think it's terrible," another person said.

New Yorkers and tourists alike told us they've noticed more trash in the city, and it's likely about to get worse.

Watch Lisa Rozner's report

New Yorkers concerned how budget cuts will affect quality of life in NYC 03:15

A $5.5 million cut to sanitation means there will be fewer litter baskets and cuts for cleanup of sidewalks and greenways, and it's not just concerns about a dirty city, but a potentially dangerous one.

Police Department cuts

Also being cut are the next five classes at the Police Academy.

"Nobody wants the cops to do anything, and now you're going to cut them more?" said Michael Knoll, who works in Midtown.

The number of officers is expected to drop by around 5,000 from nearly 34,000 to 29,000 in the fiscal year that starts next July.

Watch Ali Bauman's report

What do NYC's budget cuts mean for New Yorkers? 02:40

The Police Benevolent Association president said in part, "This is truly a disaster... Cops are already stretched to our breaking point, and these cuts will return us to staffing levels we haven't seen since the crime epidemic of the '80s and '90s. We cannot go back there."

"We will work with the police in Times Square to make sure that we stay safe," Times Square Alliance President Tom Harris said.

Harris says there is private security that works closely with cops, as well as an 80-person sanitation team that will keep the area clean.

Education & other related cuts

The public library will have to close certain branches on Sundays as of December.

"It is a disservice to the students and them having someplace to go to study," one New Yorker said.

As for schools, the education department says $120 million will be eliminated from pre-K and 3-K programs, along with rollbacks to summer school.

"If they're cutting up all these programs, where are the kids gonna be? In the streets? That's where they're gonna be," Orsini said.

The teachers union projects 43% of the school system will be hit with mid-year budget cuts.

That's exacerbated by a record number of homeless students, many of whom are seeking asylum and learning English.

"This is going to become a really ugly public fight ... Our schools dealing with the asylum seekers are under tremendous amount of stress and pressure because they're not getting a lot of support, and now they're gonna get cuts on top of it," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said.

Why are these budget cuts needed?

Even though tax has outpaced projections, Adams says the city has to close a $7 billion budget gap in the next fiscal year.

He blames the cuts on federal COVID aid ending and costs of the migrant crisis rising.

City Councilman Justin Brannan chairs the council finance committee. He says there will soon be oversight hearings to evaluate the budget plan.

"I think some of these proposed cuts are really puzzling, and I think the onus now is on the council to put forward some alternative proposals," he said.

On top of all this, City Hall says agencies should prepare for two more funding cuts in the next six months.

"We need help, and them cutting everything off is gonna be worse 'cause we're not gonna have nothing," Orsini said.

But the mayor says on the bright side, he's not raising taxes.

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