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Gothamist

The City Council is fighting budget cuts, so far they’ve saved the libraries

Initially not-so-optimistic about revenue projections, Mayor Eric Adams had proposed significant cuts to libraries, cultural institutions, composting, schools, police, and sanitation services. Thankfully, an 11th-hour deal announced yesterday has successfully avoided any hypothetical cuts to the N.Y.C. library system.

After his extremely negative revenue projections and his views on the financial burden that has come with the influx of migrants currently in the city, Mr. Adams was bombarded with criticism. According to The New York Times, economic indicators of inaccuracies in the projections were cited by The City Council, the Independent Budget Office, and multiple watchdog groups. Even the extremely conservative Citizens Budget Community thought the mayor’s projections were out there.

Mr. Adams is also in serious hot water regarding public safety, hiring procedures, and rent increases. City Council speaker Adrienne Adams made her opinions on the mayor’s charter revision commission more than obvious when calling it “wholly unserious”, fighting to restore the $58 million proposed cuts to the city’s three main library systems. She has also pushed for $53 million in restoration for arts and cultural institutions and $7 million for community composting. Council leaders, say The New York Times, are also pushing for funding for early childhood programs.

While grand ideas on Ms. Adrienne Adams’ and the City Council’s part, not everything will be achieved. The final stages of the negotiation between the mayor’s office and the City Council have had continuing deliberations about basic revenue estimates. They better start agreeing quickly though, the due date for the entire budget, Sunday, June 30, 2024, is fast approaching.

Despite the City Council’s urges, libraries remain the top priority. Back in November, New York citizens who relied on library resources were outraged when budget cuts forced the buildings to close on Sundays.

N.Y. libraries also faced hard times last year, narrowly avoiding $30 million in cuts when former Mayor Michal R. Bloomberg constantly threatened their funding. While she celebrated the restored library funding as a “big win”, according to The New York Times, executive director of the 5Boro Institute Grace Rauh also brought up a valid point: why are libraries used as a way for politicians to “one-up” each other? Will we ever answer that question? Probably not, but rest assured book lovers, our libraries are safe.

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