NYPD could blow past overtime budget by $400 million, budget watchdog says

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NEW YORK CITY — Just weeks after officials said funding for the New York City Police Department would be cut amid ongoing protests, a city budget watchdog on Tuesday projected the department could blow past the overtime budget approved by the City Council by $400 million.

The city’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget, passed in June, allotted for a roughly 60% decrease in overtime pay for the NYPD.

The slash was in response to local and nationwide calls to divert funding from local police departments as protesters demanded institutional change in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in May.

But a new report from the city’s non-partisan Independent Budget Office issued Tuesday said it predicts the NYPD could exceed the $268 million budgeted for overtime by nearly 150%, or $400 million.

“The budget adopted last month assumes that overtime spending by the NYPD will fall to $268 million in 2021,” the report said. “IBO estimates that police spending on overtime will be $400 million more than budgeted.”

The office said from 2017 to 2019, the NYPD averaged $723 million in overtime each year.

Overtime is estimated to have cost the NYPD $820 million in its previous budget year, ending June 30, in part due to the response to Black Lives Matter protests, the office said.

Now, the IBO said it expects the NYPD overtime budget for Fiscal Year 2021 to be closer to $668 million, instead of the $268 million projected in the June budget.

The city’s 2021 fiscal year began on July 1.

One of the chief criticisms of the proposed and approved NYPD budget was that much of the “defunding” came from slashing overtime projections, something that could likely be overshot. Critics also said the cuts could be attributed to clever accounting and budgetary tricks.

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