LOWER MANHATTAN — The next mayor of New York City will have to balance a roughly $5 billion budget deficit and likely help manage billions more coming from the federal government.
“It seems to me the city is often more effective in administering government programs,” Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres said. “I am interested in allocating as money to cities, New York City in particular, as we possibly can.”
Torres’ words, following his meeting with Democratic nominee for mayor Eric Adams, gave some indication of how the federal government might dole out billions in infrastructure spending. It could mean an influx in cash to repair roads, expand broadband, produce childcare and in expand and improve NYCHA in New York City.
Adams said he welcomes the funding, but says the money needs to be better accounted for.
“We cannot throw good money into a bad situation,” he said. “I’m hoping they embrace my concept of ‘NYCHA Stat,’ so we can monitor the real improvement of NYCHA.”
Meanwhile GOP nominee Curtis Sliwa is open to allowing public housing tenets to work toward buy their apartments.
“With ownership, there’s more responsibility, more sweat equity,” he said. “We need to train the people who live in these NYCHA complexes to be the carpenters, the engineers, the electricians.”
But even with the promise of more money, the city budget itself is poised to see a roughly $5 billion shortfall next year. It ballooned to nearly $100 billion this year with the help of stimulus dollars.
Both Adams and Sliwa have signaled across the board cuts will be necessary, though Sliwa goes one step further. He wanted a state financial control board to keep an eye on city spending, an idea that harkens back to the city’s fiscal crisis of the 70s.
“You cannot trust the City Council or even the mayor to manage the city budget,” Sliwa said. “You have to have people overseeing every nickel, dime and penny, because guess what, that’s the taxpayers’ money.”
Adams dismissed the idea of state oversight.
“He [Sliwa] is basically saying he does not know how to run the city and he wants someone else to take over the finances of the city,” the Democrat said. “I say no to that.”