BUDGET VOTE: City Council approves spending plan with NYPD defunding, other big cuts

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability on COVID-19. City Hall. Saturday, April 11, 2020. (Photo by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech

With just a few minutes before the midnight deadline, the City Council approved late Tuesday a spending plan that includes reducing the NYPD’s budget by a billion dollars.

Hours before the annual midnight deadline on June 30, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a municipal budget deal for New York City that slashes $7 billion in spending, and shifts away a billion dollars in resources from the NYPD toward youth and education programs.

The budget also includes $1 billion in labor savings with the layoffs of 22,000 municipal workers this fall still on the table if the city and unions reps can not come to an agreement.

The Council vote was originally scheduled for 6 p.m. June 30, but that was pushed back to 8 p.m. A delayed hearing caused a further delay in the vote, which is expected to occur imminently.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson acknowledged the difficult nature of forming the budget during the COVID-19 pandemic and current movement toward ending police brutality and racial injustice across the United States.

Johnson acknowledged the disappointment of some lawmakers who sought a deeper cut from the NYPD budget — noting that he, too, believed it didn’t go far enough. Nevertheless, he believes additional changes will come as the city embarks on reinventing the NYPD in the months to come.

“We are going to reimagine policing in New York City, and we’re not going to stop until we get there,” the speaker said. “I believe we can rise to the greatest challenge of our time, and become the city I know we can be…. A New York that ends police brutality, school segregation and housing segregation. A New York that protects our most vulnerable and picks up our bothers when they’ve fallen.”

Watch the vote here (see a tally of the votes below):

The budget deal de Blasio outlined Tuesday afternoon comes out to $88.1 billion in spending, a slight increase from the previously proposed $87.3 billion plan. But both plans represent a dramatic reduction from the original $95.3 billion spending plan that de Blasio announced in January.

Weeks later, the city became gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in widespread shutdowns that tanked the economy and forced the city to start tightening its belt.

Then, in May and June, protests broke out across the city following the police-involved murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Advocates called upon de Blasio and the City Council to “defund” the NYPD and move resources toward enrichment programs benefitting communities in need.

De Blasio announced that the budget contains $430 million in cuts and $537 million in shifted funds from the NYPD’s capital funding. Now, $115 million of those funds will be used to provide Summer Youth Programming to 100,000 young people. Initially, de Blasio’s 2021 budget had proposed slashing Summer Youth Programming entirely.

Another $116 million will go towards education, $134 million to family and social services. Of the funds that will be diverted, $450 million will be shifted from the NYPD to New York Housing Authority and Parks youth recreation centers and $87 million to NYCHA broadband expansion effort.

Even so, as part of the budget, $400 million will be cut from the Department of Education.

The mayor confirmed that the city will cancel the upcoming July class of NYPD officers lowering police headcount by 1,163. The city will reduce overtime expenditures for NYPD officers by $296 million with reducing non-personnel costs and contracts. De Blasio added that the city will transfer NYPD crossing guard and homeless outreach responsibilities.

The city will now use the funds slated for a new police precinct in Southeast Queens for a new Roy Wilkins Community Center in Jamaica.

“This is real redistribution, this is taking resources and putting them where they are needed most with a particular focus on our young people,” de Blasio told reporters on Tuesday. “It fits what we have been trying to do for years.”

Votes on the budget

x-YES: 32 (Adrienne Adams, Queens; Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Brooklyn; Diana Ayala, Manhattan/Bronx; Justin Brannan, Brooklyn; Fernando Cabrera, Bronx; Andrew Cohen, Bronx; Margaret Chin, Manhattan; Robert Cornegy, Brooklyn; Daniel Dromm, Queens; Mathieu Eugene, Brooklyn; Vanessa Gibson, Bronx; Barry Grodenchik, Queens; Andy King, Bronx; Peter Koo, Queens; Karen Koslowitz, Queens; Rory Lancman, Queens; Stephen Levin, Brooklyn; Mark Levine, Manhattan; Farah Louis, Brooklyn; Alan Maisel, Brooklyn; I. Daneek Miller, Queens; Francisco Moya, Queens; Bill Perkins, Manhattan; Keith Powers, Manhattan; Ydanis Rodriguez, Manhattan; Deborah Rose, Staten Island; Rafael Salamanca Jr., Bronx; Ritchie Torres, Bronx; Mark Treyger, Brooklyn; Paul Vallone, Queens; Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, Brooklyn.)

NO: 17 (Inez Barron, Brooklyn; Joe Borrelli, Staten Island; Steven Matteo, Staten Island; Chaim Deutsch, Brooklyn; Ruben Diaz Sr., Bronx; Mark Gjonaj, Bronx; Robert Holden, Queens; Ben Kallos, Manhattan; Brad Lander, Brooklyn; Carlos Menchaca, Brooklyn; Donovan Richards, Queens; Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn/Queens; Carlina Rivera, Manhattan; Helen Rosenthal, Manhattan; Eric Ulrich, Queens; Jimmy Van Bramer, Queens; and Kalman Yeger, Brooklyn.)

ABSENT: Costa Constantinides, Queens.

x-majority of quorum reached.

With reporting by Robert Pozarycki

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