New York City allocated $5.53 billion for its police department in the fiscal year 2023 budget adopted Monday, a slight increase from the $5.44 billion allocated in last year’s adopted budget. At a time when rising crime has contributed to a shift away from calls for progressive police reforms, including cuts to the NYPD, police spending remains one of the most closely scrutinized aspects of the city’s spending plan. Advocates have called the NYPD budget the largest in city history, while Mayor Eric Adams and council leaders have said spending remains flat from the previous fiscal year. Both are true, in part.
The NYPD usually ends up spending more than its allocated budget, and that will happen this year, as well. The NYPD is forecasted to directly spend $5.88 billion by the end of fiscal year 2022, on June 30. So by that measure, the $5.53 billion allocated this year is a significant reduction of more than $300 million – if the department sticks to the budget.
The city itself is spending an additional $442 million on the NYPD: $5.23 billion, up from $4.79 billion in fiscal year 2022 – but down $58.9 million compared to Adams’ executive budget, which was released in April. That extra spending is due in part to significant reductions in federal and state funding, compared to last year. State funding for the department in fiscal year 2022 totalled $21.7million, but dipped to $732,000 in fiscal year 2023, while federal funding dropped from $780 million in fiscal year 2022 to just $11.8 million in the budget approved Monday, according to budget documents. The mayor’s office said it expects an increase in federal grant funding to come in throughout the year, however. The money was not included in the adopted budget, which may mean the budget is likely to grow in the coming months.
Criminal justice reform advocates have criticized the fiscal year 2023 budget as the largest in the NYPD’s history, citing $11.2 billion in total funding. “This year, the NYPD’s budget will continue to be an oversized portion of the city’s budget, which will result in more police flooding our neighborhoods and the continuation of failed, abusive policing tactics. While the council pats themselves on the back for merely restoring already insufficient community investments, the already bloated NYPD was given its largest budget ever,” Darian X, a spokesperson for the reform advocacy group, Communities United for Police Reform, said in a statement.
The $11.2 billion figure accounts for operational spending, as well as the NYPD breakdown in “central costs,” which are budgeted as one line item across all city agencies for expenses such as pensions, health insurance and debt service on capital investments. This overall NYPD budget has increased significantly from the $10.4 billion spending plan approved in fiscal year 2022, according to the fiscal watchdog nonprofit, the Citizens Budget Commission. But that doesn’t mean cops are being singled out for raises. “The city as a rule negotiates health insurance collectively for all city employees with the Municipal Labor Council, so it’s not like the city can negotiate a specific set of benefits with the NYPD,” Vice President of Research at the Citizens Budget Commission Ana Champeny said, noting that uniformed city employees often retire at an earlier age, meaning the city pays their pre-Medicare costs for a longer period of time. “The city has incredibly generous retiree health benefits.”
While that $11.2 billion number is a more accurate account for all of the money the city devotes to the NYPD, it can also be misleading. Police reform advocates like to cite this calculation to emphasize the enormous spending on cops, but similar accounting is rarely if ever used when talking about other agencies’ budgets, such as Housing Preservation and Development, or Sanitation.
Here’s where the council and mayor’s office made changes to the NYPD budget from Adams’ executive budget, according to budget documents released Tuesday (The numbers account for city funding only):
-Added $13.3 million to account for the paid Juneteenth holiday. “Juneteenth transfer is kind of like collective bargaining. In last year’s plan, they put the total cost of the additional holiday in one line citywide. In this plan, they are allocating that spending to each agency,” Champeny said.
-Deducted $13.5 million for uniform allowance. The allocation was transferred to a miscellaneous city fund. The mayor’s office described the change as a “labor-related . . . technical adjustment.”
-$3.8 million less for the NYPD’s fleet of vehicles and motorcycles. “This was savings taken in the Executive Budget as part of a Citywide Fleet Savings Initiative,” the mayor’s office said.
-$19 million less for spending “other than personal services,” meaning anything that does not relate to an employee, such as supplies, utilities, equipment and contractual services. The mayor’s office attributed the reduction to “an initiative related to IT needs.”
-$46 million reduction in personal services, which accounts for salaries and fringe benefits. The NYPD budget maintains the fiscal year 2022 uniform headcount at 35,030, but includes a reduction of 604 civilian positions. The savings is from vacant positions, the mayor’s office said.
-The council also negotiated the inclusion of six new “units of appropriation” under the NYPD budget “for the first time in council history,” according to a press release. These are the building blocks that make up the city budget, so new U/As, as they’re called, means city leaders will have more input and oversight into where allocated money is spent. The new units include both “personal service” spending and expenses “other than personal services” for patrol, communications, intelligence and counterterrorism. “It gives them slightly more control over what parts of an agency the funds are being directed to or what programs they're putting the funding towards, or increasing the funding for,” Champeny said.
-The council also installed several reporting requirements for NYPD spending. The department must provide data on the demographics of uniformed personnel by Oct. 15, along with quarterly reports on overtimes spending, broken down by precinct and patrol borough. The Department of Education and Department of Transportation are required to submit reports by Sept. 30 on the deployment of school crossing guards, including details on how locations are determined and the number of crossing guard vacancies. And the Department of Youth and Community Development must report to the council by Feb. 1, 2023 on its summer Saturday Night Lights recreational sports program, including the budget and access to people with disabilities, among other details.
Here’s how the budget differs from fiscal year 2022. (The numbers reflect federal, state and intra-city funding, along with private and non-governmental grants, in addition to city spending):
-NYPD overtime, which has been historically under-budgeted is expected to total $453 million in fiscal year 2023, down from $659 million in the previous fiscal year. “Absent some very significant procedural and structural reforms, that's going to be a hard number for the NYPD to hit based on historical overtime,” Champeny said.
-$558.42 million decrease to the administration budget, which includes the commissioners offices, information and technology and labor relations, among other departments. The dip in funding is largely due to an influx of federal and state funding in fiscal year 2022. The city’s portion of funding for the administration budget will actually increase by $33.7 million in fiscal year 2023.
-$28.6 million in added funding for the housing bureau.
-$13.5 million more for school safety.
-$32.2 million in additional funding for the transit bureau.
-An additional $31.4 million for support services, including maintenance of vehicles and equipment.
-$12.7 million in additional funding for the Brooklyn North Patrol Borough. Funding for the Bronx Patrol Borough decreased by $6.6 million, while the Brooklyn South Patrol Borough budget was reduced by $10.8 million, and $10.9 million was added to the Manhattan North Patrol Borough. The Manhattan South Patrol Borough also received $6.2 million in additional funding, and the Queens South Patrol Borough budget was cut by $8.5 million. Funding for the Staten Island Patrol Borough was also reduced by $7.9 million.
-The city expects to receive a federal security/counterrorism grant later in the year, but it is not part of the adopted budget, which reflects a $170.5 million reduction in the grant allocation from last year’s budget since the funds have yet to be received.