New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced that thanks to measures the city has implemented to responsibly manage the city’s budget and strategically navigate significant fiscal challenges, funding will be restored to maintain 23,000 New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) litter baskets and allow DSNY to continue installing its Litter Basket of the Future — one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2023. Additionally, Mayor Adams announced that funding will be permanently restored for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) and New York City Department of Social Services’ (DSS) Parks Opportunity Program (POP), which gives thousands of low-income New Yorkers six-month paid opportunities and training programs each year. POP workers help maintain and operate New York City parks and facilities, and the training they receive through the program prepares them for full-time NYC Parks job opportunities.
The funding restorations build on successful efforts by the Adams administration to keep city streets and public spaces clean for all New Yorkers to enjoy — with efforts to containerize 100 percent of the city’s garbage, drastically reduce the time trash bags sit on city streets, and target hot spots for cleaning and rat mitigation within city parks during evening hours. As a result, the administration is also winning its “War on Rats,” with rat sighting complaints down 20 percent in 2023 in rat mitigation zones, where the administration is deploying targeted and effective rat-reduction strategies. The restorations also follow targeted and effective steps taken by the Adams administration in the face of a $7 billion budget gap in Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 due to federal COVID-19 stimulus funding drying up, expenses from labor contracts this administration inherited being unresolved for years, and the growing costs of the asylum seeker crisis — steps that have included helping put migrants on the path to self-sufficiency and reducing per-diem costs for migrants. The restorations will be reflected in the FY25 Preliminary Budget, which will be presented next Tuesday, at the City Charter deadline.
“When we came into office, we made it clear: out with the mean streets and in with the clean streets, and today’s restoration into programs at the Sanitation Department and the Parks Department help us continue to make the right investments in our ‘Trash Revolution,’” said Mayor Adams. “We’re building a city where New Yorkers won’t have to dodge rats or tiptoe around mountains of smelly black bags anymore, but these measured and reasonable restorations can only be made by making the right financial decisions and implementing creative policies going forward. And while we can celebrate this good news today, we still have a massive budget gap to fill in the next fiscal year and need more support from our state and federal partners going forward.”
“The strength and character of our city is derived from our public spaces — our parks, pools, recreation centers, clean streets, and plazas. They are our oasis, away from our apartments and desks, where the collective experience and magic of our city happens,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “We are grateful to all those who called and wrote and made their priorities known. Together, we will deliver a cleaner, greener New York.”
“There are 23,000 DSNY litter baskets across the city,” said DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch. “While we were prepared to remove 40 percent of them — over 9,000 baskets — in order to meet the crisis, this would have had a profound impact on the cleanliness of our neighborhoods, and we are grateful to instead be able to continue to ‘Get Stuff Clean.’”
“For 30 years, the Parks Opportunity Program has been instrumental in placing thousands of the most vulnerable New Yorkers into full time-employment,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “We are incredibly grateful for the commitment from this administration to continue on this legacy of providing access to green jobs and job training.”
“Despite unprecedented fiscal constraints, this administration has worked to ensure that there is minimal impact on critical services for vulnerable communities, and preserving funding for vital programs like the Parks Opportunity Program which offers employment supports for low-income New Yorkers reiterates that commitment,” said DSS Commissioner Molly Wasow Park. “We look forward to working with our partner agencies at Parks and DSNY to continue to find ways to support New Yorkers in need through vital partnerships, which can help them achieve long-term stability.”
In August 2023, Mayor Adams laid out projections estimating the cost of the asylum seeker crisis to grow to more than $12 billion over three fiscal years — between FY23 and FY25 — if circumstances did not change. From April 2022 through December 2023, the city has already spent an estimated $3.5 billion on shelter and services for over 168,500 individuals who came through the city’s intake center during that timeframe. With sunsetting COVID-19 stimulus funding, slowing tax revenue growth, expenses from labor contracts this administration inherited being unresolved for years, and a lack of significant state or federal government action on the asylum seeker crisis, Mayor Adams took action — announcing a 5 percent Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) on city-funded spending for all city agencies with plans for additional rounds of PEGs in the Preliminary and Executive Budgets. And, through strong fiscal management that included implementing measures to reduce household per-diem costs and helping put migrants on the path to self-sufficiency, the city will achieve a reduction in city-funded asylum seeker spending on the migrant crisis, which will be detailed in the FY25 Preliminary Budget.
As a result of the administration’s policies, nearly 60 percent of the asylum seekers who came through the city’s intake center have left the city’s care and taken the next steps in their journeys. Through the Asylum Application Help Center and the city’s satellite sites, the city has helped submit more than 25,000 work authorization, temporary protected status, and asylum applications, moving asylum seekers that much closer to being able to legally work and be self-sufficient.