Agencies Face Up To 12% Cuts Under Mayor Bloomberg Plan

NY Daily News - November 17, 2009

by Frank Lombardi and Adam Lisberg

Mayor Bloomberg wants to slash $1.75 billion from city spending over the next 18 months - leading to almost 12% cuts in many city agencies.

His budget director yesterday ordered $550 million in cuts by next July, and an additional $1.2 billion in the year after that - still barely a third of the huge $4.9 billion hole in next year's budget.

Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler would not rule out layoffs, saying agency heads will have to come up with savings plans and some may include personnel cuts.

"It is serious, and it is serious for every agency," said Skyler, who insisted the cuts won't necessarily devastate city services. "You shouldn't measure government by how much it spends," he said. "You should measure government by the results."

Uniformed agencies like the Police and Fire departments will face combined cuts of almost 6%, with a slightly smaller reduction at the Education Department. Most other departments will face cuts almost twice as large.

Bloomberg has made six previous rounds of cuts, trimming about $3.2 billion. The new cuts will be worth more than half of all the previous ones combined.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the Council will weigh in on Bloomberg's proposals .

"I don't know what cuts are going to be proposed, but, I think, you can assume those types of issues around public safety and education are going to be on the top of our list," Quinn (D-Manhattan) said.

Meanwhile, single-family homeowners will face an average $285 property tax hike thanks to a state-mandated annual adjustment. Co-op taxes will rise an average $463 annually, and condo taxes will rise an average $662.