(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams is reversing some proposed budget cuts to the city’s police and fire departments that had been prompted by the migrant crisis.
On Wednesday, Adams announced that he is restoring funding for the New York City Police Department to add another police academy class of 600 new recruits set to join the ranks in April. This class of recruits will graduate in October and will join the three additional police classes scheduled to graduate this year.
The city is also walking back cuts in funding to the Fire Department of the City of New York, restoring funds to return a fifth firefighter at 20 engine companies and maintain 190 firefighters on payroll who are not expected to be able to return to full-duty status.
Adams said the restored funding reflects his administration’s efforts “to make the right financial decisions for our city and implement creative policies as we continue to see an influx of asylum seekers.”
“But we are not out of the woods and have fiscal challenges in the year ahead, and that’s why we still need help from our federal and state partners to offset the costs of COVID-19 funding sunsetting and the continuous influx of asylum seekers,” he said in a statement. “Our administration will continue to make the right fiscal decisions for our city, while keeping New Yorkers safe.”
The Adams administration said the city was able to restore funding to the NYPD and FDNY after saving over $2 billion through the reduction of spending on the migrant influx.
The cost of caring for migrants is now expected to cost the city $10 billion through the 2025 fiscal year, $2 billion less than initially estimated, the administration said.
In November, Adams announced that city agencies would have to reduce their budgets by 5% to help close a $7 billion budget shortfall, citing the rising cost of the migrant crisis, dwindling federal pandemic aid and an overall slowdown in tax revenues. Adams warned city agencies they should brace for more rounds of 5% budget cuts early next year if the city doesn’t get more state or federal aid to help with the influx of migrants.
A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 83% of New Yorkers are concerned that the mayor’s planned budget cuts would impact their daily lives. Meanwhile, Adams’ favorability has taken a nosedive, with a record-low job approval rating of 28%, according to the survey.
Patrick Hendry, president of the NYC Police Benevolent Association, welcomed the restoration of funding but cautioned that the city “can’t hire its way out of its staffing crisis.” He noted that the NYPD is still at least 2,700 cops “below the pre-‘Defund the Police’ headcount. Nearly 3,000 more cops quit or retired last year.
“Those who remain are stretched beyond their breaking point. 911 response times are still rising, and the City Council keeps piling on new burdens,” he said in a statement. “To keep our public safety gains from slipping away, the city must focus on retaining the cops it already has by improving their quality of life and providing incentives to keep them on the job.”