Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday unveiled a nearly $100 billion operating budget for New York City that includes additional funding for social programs, education, parks, support for immigrant New Yorkers but also—contrary to his initial pledge—more spending on the NYPD.

The latest budget proposal adds $228 million in the current fiscal year and around $182 million to the NYPD compared to the preliminary version that Adams released in February. The mayor has staked his mayoralty on bringing down crime, which has soared amid the pandemic. But he had previously said he would keep police spending flat by making the NYPD more efficient.

The mayor, however, said he does not plan to increase the number of uniformed officers.

At a press conference with reporters at City Hall following his budget presentation, Adams said the added spending would go towards covering the union contract for NYPD detectives, overtime pay, as well as new initiatives like the anti-gun unit which rolled out in March.

“This is not spending, this is investing,” he asserted. “A safe city is going to be a productive city and that's what those dollars are going for.”

The additional spending on police did not come as a surprise to budget experts. The Independent Budget Office had projected that the city would need to add $200 million alone to cover overtime costs.

Prior to releasing a detailed version of the budget, the mayor laid out his vision for a safe and equitable recovery during an hour-long address at the historic Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. Hundreds of supporters and city officials poured into the venue—a restored 1929 movie theater with an opulently carved interior—where Adams had initially planned to hold his inauguration ceremony before rising COVID rates led to its cancellation.

One day after leading members of the City Council called on the mayor to increase investments in social services, intervention programs, and poor communities, Adams appeared to heed some of their requests.

“It’s going to be hard for people to hate me,” Adams told the audience.

He said he would set aside an additional $55 million for a program that would deploy mental health workers in lieu of police officers to those experiencing a crisis. Councilmembers had sought $61 million, which they said would fully fund the initiative.

The mayor highlighted a $171 million initiative that he announced over the weekend to create 1,400 new shelter beds in so-called Safe Havens, low-barrier homeless shelters that focus on helping those who live on the streets.

A wide shot of Brooklyn's Kings Theatre where Mayor Eric Adams presented his executive budget.

Mayor Eric Adams presented his executive budget at Brooklyn's Kings Theatre.

Mayor Eric Adams presented his executive budget at Brooklyn's Kings Theatre.
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

On education, the mayor seeks to provide $7.4 million to fund new dyslexia screening sites and literacy programs. He will allocate another $33 million for the Department of Education to launch new career training programs.

He also introduced a childcare plan to aid low-income families. Beginning in June, families of four earning less than $55,000 a year will pay only $10 weekly for full-time subsidized childcare. They are currently paying $55 weekly, the mayor said.

And in a reversal, the mayor restored $18 million in funding to the city’s nascent curbside organics recycling program. The initial decision to cut the initiative’s planned expansion drew howls from environmentalists who pointed out that Adams had campaigned on a pledge to create universal composting.

The mayor, who said he would announce his housing plan in the coming weeks, said he would spend $5 billion over 10 years on housing, including money directed to the city’s public housing projects. But he immediately faced criticism from affordable housing advocates, who have noted that he originally pledged to spend $4 billion a year on housing.

“With tens of thousands experiencing homelessness, hundreds of thousands living in substandard NYCHA conditions, and millions facing rising rents, it is no surprise that the issue New Yorkers are most concerned with is the lack of affordable, safe housing,”

Rachel Fee, executive director of the New York Housing Conference, said in a statement. ”Unfortunately, the Adams administration’s modest capital increase for housing merely treads water and will not make a meaningful dent in this emergency.”

Some city officials offered some tempered praise for the mayor’s latest spending plan.

“The Executive Budget took real steps to incorporate funding for many critical priorities from @NYCCouncil’s response that will make a difference, yet we know work remains ahead for us to ensure the right budget for NYC,” tweeted Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, who hugged the mayor shortly after the speech.

Brad Lander, the city comptroller, said the mayor took “several important steps forward on transportation, parks, and safe shelter to bring our city back stronger.”

But he criticized the mayor for not coming up with a detailed plan on how to spend billions of dollars in federal stimulus funding dedicated to education and for aiding job recovery among Black and Latino New Yorkers, who are experiencing unemployment higher than twice the national average.

Lander also accused the mayor of failing to address the ongoing management crisis in the city jails system while setting aside funds to hire nearly 600 more correction officers.

Progressive lawmakers have argued that the city needs to spend more, targeting the most vulnerable, to bring about an equitable recovery.

But Andrew Rein, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a fiscal watchdog group, chastised the mayor for spending more without finding more savings,

The latest budget will expand the city’s municipal headcount by 3,000.

“Spending more now is seductive, but shortsighted,” he said in a statement.

Mayor Eric Adams (at podium) with his director of the Office of Management and Budget Jacques Jiha.

Mayor Eric Adams (at podium) with his director of the Office of Management and Budget Jacques Jiha shortly after presenting his executive budget.

Mayor Eric Adams (at podium) with his director of the Office of Management and Budget Jacques Jiha shortly after presenting his executive budget.
Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

James Parrott, an economist at the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs, said that based on what he had seen so far, the mayor’s new budget proposal was “cautious but with good reason.”

Although the mayor noted some good signs, including the fact that occupancy at city hotels was dnow 80% of pre-pandemic levels and that Wall Street profits were soaring, there are sobering challenges confronting the city.

New York City has been lagging the country in jobs recovery since the pandemic began, and the slow return to office—exacerbated by the omicron variant—have resulted in record-high commercial vacancies.

And the national outlook recently became gloomier after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell announced that the central bank intends to raise interest rates “expeditiously” so as to bring down inflation.

“It’s sinking in to people that the Fed is determined to put the brakes on inflation,” Parrott said. “And they are prepared to risk a recession to do that.”

The mayor’s latest budget proposal will result in another round of hearings before the Council set to start in May. It’s then followed by talks between the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget and the Council’s budget negotiation team, which will last for several weeks.

The budget is due on June 30th.