Mayor Eric Adams has canceled budget cuts that would have removed 9,000 litter baskets and eliminated the jobs of 1,400 seasonal parks staffers in another about-face that raised questions about whether the dramatic reductions were necessary in the first place.
The cuts to the sanitation and parks departments had threatened to undermine one of Adams’ key policies: the war on rats.
“As a result of these restorations, New Yorkers will continue to see fewer rats,” Adams said Thursday.
The seasonal parks staffers were part of a six-month jobs program for low-income New Yorkers. DC37, the city’s largest municipal union and an important Adams ally, had sued over the planned cuts.
Adams’ press conference at City Hall came one day after he announced the restoration of $37 million in funding to the NYPD and FDNY, allowing both agencies to retain uniformed officers. Critics said those cuts hindered Adams’ public safety priorities.
The back-to-back reversals prompted questions about the mayor’s fiscal management.
“The Council has said all along the money exists to avoid overly broad cuts and protect essential services relied upon by our constituents,” City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Councilmember Justin Brannan, who chairs the finance committee, said in a statement. “This latest move to restore litter basket services and the Parks Opportunity Program only reinforces the fact that these and many other mid-year cuts were unnecessary.”
Adams is expected to announce more cuts next week when he releases next year’s preliminary budget. Libraries and schools, which have already faced budget reductions, remain on the chopping block. Adams has said the cuts are necessary to close a $7 billion budget deficit tied to migrant spending and the end of federal pandemic aid.
“You’re seeing fiscal intelligence,” Adams said.
The mayor cited the city’s upgraded bond rating last year as a sign of his administration’s sound financial management.
The mayor’s decision emboldened the city’s teachers’ union.
Councilmember Shekar Krishnan, who chairs the parks committee, credited advocacy groups for helping to convince the administration to restore funding. At the same, he signaled that the fight was not over.
“From our public libraries to our preschool programs, City Hall must restore other vital services for New York City families,” Krishnan said.