May 26, 2024
Mayor Adams’ new budget plan doesn’t fully reverse $58M cut to NYC libraries: sources 

Mayor Adams’ new budget plan doesn’t fully reverse $58M cut to NYC libraries: sources 

Mayor Adams’ latest budget proposal doesn’t reverse a multi-million dollar funding reduction for the city’s public library systems, sources familiar with the matter told the Daily News on Wednesday, raising the specter of additional service cuts at library branches across the five boroughs.

The executive budget bid for the 2025 fiscal year, which Adams is expected to formally unveil at noon Wednesday, will clock in with a total price-tag of $111.6 billion, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to preempt the mayor’s announcement.

That’s an increase of $2.2 billion over the $109.4 billion preliminary budget plan Adams floated in January.

Despite the proposed spending increase, the executive plan does not fully restore $58.3 million in funding that has already been cut or proposed to be cut from the budgets of the city’s three public library systems, according to the sources.

While the sources told The News that the executive budget won’t reverse the entire $58.3 million cut, it was not immediately clear if it might earmark new money to plug parts of that reduction.

Spokespeople for the mayor did not immediately return requests for comment. Other details about the mayor’s latest budget blueprint were not immediately available.

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The New York Public Library in Manhattan. (Shawn Inglima for the New York Daily News)

Shawn Inglima/for New York Daily News

The New York Public Library in Manhattan. (Shawn Inglima for the New York Daily News)

As part of a string of austerity moves meant to offset billions of dollars in city spending on the migrant crisis, the mayor already slashed $22 million from the library budgets in November. Due to that cut, the city’s three library systems has eliminated Sunday services across all their branches.

To boot, Adams’ preliminary plan from January proposed reducing library funding by another $36.2 million for the 2025 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Leaders of the New York, Queens and Brooklyn Public Library systems warned in Council testimony last month that they’ll have to scale back to just five days of service at a majority of their branches if they’re subjected to the additional spending trim for the next fiscal year.

The systems would also have to delay openings of new library branches and curtail various programming, including everything from free U.S. citizenship and English language classes for immigrants to young adult literacy courses and career development programs for school-age kids, the leaders warned in their March testimony.

“The impacts will be both devastating and unprecedented,” New York Public Library President Anthony Marx, whose system is the city’s largest, serving Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, testified at the time.

The release of the mayor’s executive proposal kicks off the last sprint of the city’s budget season before he and the Council must adopt a final budget for the 2025 fiscal year by July 1.

In its budget response released earlier this month, the Council said it had identified $6.1 billion in unrealized tax revenue and funding as compared to the mayor’s preliminary plan.

Council Democrats led by Speaker Adrienne Adams have argued that additional cash infusion can be used to reverse the entire $58.3 million funding decrease for the library systems and avoid various other cuts to education and social services sought by the mayor. It was not immediately clear how much more tax revenue Adams’ executive budget will roll in.

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