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Updated: January 10, 2024, 8:12 PM

Adams reversing planned $37M migrant cuts to NYPD, FDNY after reallocating budget gap

By Craig McCarthy

Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday rolled back planned cuts to the NYPD and FDNY, saying the city overestimated how much cash it needed to balance its checkbook while covering the cost of the migrant crisis.

The reversal means the Police Department will be able to send a class of 600 recruits through the academy in April, and that the Fire Department can restore full staffing at some of its busiest engine companies.

The restored funds, which total roughly $37 million, were reallocated after the city realized its November budget projections were too conservative, Adams said.

“In the November plan, we didn’t have any clear understanding of what the fiscal outcome was going to look like,” Hizzoner said from City Hall.

“We wanted to be as fiscally prudent as possible,” he added.

“Instead of having to go back to the team and tell them we underestimated, we wanted to make sure we were getting the right numbers.”

Asked if any other planned cuts — such as Sunday library services and litter baskets near parks and greenways — would be reversed, Adams would only say that his budget director, Jacques Jiha, would brief the media on the budget next week.

The mayor did say that the city was forecast to shave off 20% of migrant shelter cuts by the end of fiscal year 2025 in June.

The price tag of the migrant crisis through next fiscal year was now pegged at a little over $10 billion, rather than the previous $12 billion estimate, Adams noted.

Members of the City Council have said for weeks that the Adams administration was underestimating tax revenue and being too aggressive with its budget cuts and projections, which they anticipated would later be reversed.

“It’s great news but we’re not surprised,” said Justin Brannan, chairman of the council’s finance committee.

“Someone at [the Office of Management and Budget] must be a Billy Idol fan because it seems they’re budget dancing with themselves,” the Brooklyn Democrat added.

“I’ve personally been fighting for more cops and restoration of the fifth firefighter for a long time. Now let’s talk about restoring community schools, composting, and libraries!”

Under the now-reversed changes the FDNY would have had to cut the so-called “fifth man” at 20 of the busiest engine companies around the city — a move that the union had slammed as potentially deadly.

The department also would have had to fire disabled firefighters who were assigned to long-term light duty after an on-the-job injury or illness.

The NYPD will no longer have to freeze hiring its next batch of recruits, but staffing on the force is still expected to dip below 30,000 — for the first time since the 1990s — by the end of 2025.

The future of the department’s next four academy classes, however, is still uncertain.

The rolled-back cuts were met with a lukewarm response by the NYPD and FDNY unions, which have been strong supporters of the mayor.

“We’re happy to hear that the city is funding another Police Academy class, but the NYPD can’t hire its way out of its staffing crisis,” said Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry.

“Nearly 3,000 more cops quit or retired last year. Those who remain are stretched beyond their breaking point.”

Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro said he was “very happy” City Hall managed to come up with the funds for the “fifth-man” before the cuts proved deadly.

“We were in constant contact with the mayor’s office over the last few weeks over fires where the fifth firefighter would have been of great use,” said Ansbro, adding, “There were no loses of life connected to the cuts but that possibility was always there.”

“The FDNY is in dire need of resources and as of now only 10% of engine companies as the fifth firefighters,” he said. “There should be no empty seats on a fire engine in NYC.”