Mayor Adams’ budget plan restores NYPD funding, but won’t reverse $58M cut to NYC libraries

NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams’ latest budget proposal includes restored funding for the NYPD, but doesn’t reverse a multi-million dollar cut to the city’s public library systems, sources familiar with the matter told the Daily News on Wednesday, raising the specter of additional service reductions 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 undo the entire $58.3 million cut, it was not immediately clear if it might earmark new money to plug parts of that reduction.

Adams spokeswoman Amaris Cockfield declined to immediately say whether the executive plan will avert any chunk of the library funding cut.

Cockfield did note that the mayor cancelled two additional rounds of budget trims he initially planned to subject the libraries to this year and added: “We will continue to work with our partners in the City Council about funding for libraries as we go through the budget process.”

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 $22.1 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 lowering library funding by another $36.2 million for the 2025 fiscal year, which starts July 1, making the total reduction $58.3 million.

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 2025 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 executive budget will reverse cuts for some other agencies, including the NYPD.

In a private briefing on the budget with City Council members Wednesday morning, Adams reiterated he’s reinstating two previously cancelled Police Academy classes in order to bring on 1,200 new NYPD officers early next year. In the briefing, he revealed academy class reinstatements will cost the city $62.4 million, according to a recording of the call obtained by The News.

Asked in the briefing why he isn’t calling off more cuts to the libraries, too, Adams argued they could bridge some of their funding gaps with endowments they raise from private donors.

“I think it’s unfortunate, to be really transparent and honest, that some of these libraries are sitting on almost $1 billion in endowments,” he told Council members on the call. “I just really believe that our library boards, they could have done more.”

Library leaders have previously argued their endowments can’t be used for such purposes as they’re earmarked for research library costs.

Last week, Adams also announced his executive budget will restore $514 million in funding previously cut for education programs in the city, including the popular free 3-K program. Some education advocates say that restoration isn’t enough to ensure that all children in the city can access 3-K.

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.