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NYC Council outlines budget response to fund library services, free 3K programs

The New York City Council unveiled its budget proposal on Monday — with calls for the Big Apple to keep libraries open on weekends and fully fund free 3K programs.
The New York City Council unveiled its budget proposal on Monday -- with calls for the Big Apple to keep libraries open on weekends and fully fund free 3K programs.

The New York City Council unveiled its budget proposal on Monday — with calls for the Big Apple to keep libraries open on weekends and fully fund free 3K programs.

“The city has the resources to protect essential investments into New Yorkers while safeguarding our fiscal health, and prioritizing both goals is the path to a safer, healthier, and more stable city,” said Council Speaker Adrienne Adams in a statement.

The legislative body’s budget response comes months after Mayor Eric Adams, no relation to the speaker, presented his $109.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2025 — with a dire warning that dwindling federal COVID stimulus funds could lead to cuts to some programs, including 3K and other schooling initiatives.

A budget proposal hopes to keep libraries open on weekends and fully fund free 3K programs. Stephen Yang
A budget proposal hopes to keep libraries open on weekends and fully fund free 3K programs. Stephen Yang
The legislative body’s budget response comes months after Mayor Eric Adams presented his $109.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2025. Matthew McDermott
The legislative body’s budget response comes months after Mayor Eric Adams presented his $109.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2025. Matthew McDermott

But council leadership said there was $3.35 billion more in incoming tax revenue that City Hall had not accounted for, which would allow the Big Apple to fund those programs and others.

Among the top takeaways in the council’s budget response are $1.63 billion in funding restorations, which include:

  • $170 million in funding for 3K and Pre-K programs

  • $60 million to expand full-day, full-year Pre-K seats

  • $10 million in outreach for that early childhood programming

  • $60 million in programs shown to reduce recidivism

  • $235 million in mental health services

  • $2.9 billion in NYCHA capital funding over five years

  • $58 million to restore funding to libraries for Sunday service

“It’s not a wish list but rather a vision for the city’s budget that fulfills our obligations to New Yorkers,” Speaker Adams said during a City Hall press conference.

The council’s budget proposal also calls for the reversal of cuts to programs it says have been proven to reduce recidivism, including “Alternatives to Incarceration” and supervised release, as well as an extra $9 million for mental health courts and diversion programs for district attorneys.

“The city has a responsibility to invest in programs that are shown to reduce recidivism rather than cutting them,” Speaker Adams told reporters. “The solutions are in our grasp, but they need the city support and funding. This is critical to make our communities safer.”

“The city has the resources to protect essential investments into New Yorkers while safeguarding our fiscal health, and prioritizing both goals is the path to a safer, healthier, and more stable city,” said Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. Michael Nagle
“The city has the resources to protect essential investments into New Yorkers while safeguarding our fiscal health, and prioritizing both goals is the path to a safer, healthier, and more stable city,” said Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. Michael Nagle
Council leadership said there was $3.35 billion more in incoming tax revenue that City Hall had not accounted for. Robert Miller
Council leadership said there was $3.35 billion more in incoming tax revenue that City Hall had not accounted for. Robert Miller

The council and mayor’s office have been at loggerheads over the city’s revenue projections as they balance the budget with the $10 billion migrant crisis.

City Hall has railed that the council’s expectations were too high while the lawmakers have criticized the administration for being far too conservative.

“New York City has record reserves and steady tax growth overall,” Council Finance Chair Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) said Monday. “We maintain that the administration’s blunt cuts were never necessary in the first place, and will be fighting for and expecting to see full restoration.”

In a statement, a City Hall spokesperson defended the mayor’s proposed budget, adding, “We look forward to working with the City Council to negotiate a budget that reflects our shared priorities that keeps the city safe, clean, and a welcoming place to live, work, and raise a family.”