Time to sharpen the budget knives -- again. City Hall bean-counters have asked city agencies to make deep new cuts for this year and next -- cuts which may include lay-offs.
Agencies have been asked for plans to cut $550 million from this year's budget and between $1.2 billion from next years budget, NBCNewYork.com has learned. Uniformed agencies -- cops and firemen -- and the Department of Education will face a duller budget axe, with smaller cuts expected for this year and next.
But other city agencies will have to make deeper slashes, according to an Office Management and Budget memo obtained by NBCNewYork.com. The new cuts would come on top of $3-plus billion dollars in cuts already enacted by the cash-strapped city government.
Schools and uniformed agencies are expected to slice an additional 2 percent from their budgets for the Fiscal Year 2010, which started in July, while other agencies will have to make 4 percent cuts. It gets worse -- or better, depending on your perspective -- in 2011 as city schools and uniformed agencies will be asked to slice 4 percent and other agencies 8 percent.
In January, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled a "doomsday" budget that called for 23,000 layoffs -- among them teachers and uniformed officers. By May, the mayor had backed off layoffs for teachers, firefighters and police officers avoiding what Bloomberg called "the worst case scenario."
Today's news comes just moments before Albany lawmakers are scheduled to convene to address the state's $3-billion budget deficit. The timing may not be a coincidence. So far there is no deal on how to close the state budget gap but state cuts could leave New York City at least an additional billion dollars in the hole. Gov. David Paterson said late today that he doesn't expect any action on Tuesday -- which was the latest target date for legislative action.
Digging the city out of its looming budget crisis while preserving services is the most pressing challenge facing Mayor Bloomberg in a third term.