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Libraries and Arts Programs Spared From Cuts in N.Y.C. Budget Deal

LocalLibraries and Arts Programs Spared From Cuts in N.Y.C. Budget Deal

A major round of cuts to the New York City library system has been averted in an 11th-hour deal between the City Council and Mayor Eric Adams, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The restoration of $58 million in proposed cuts to the city’s three major library systems, which will be formally announced on Friday as part of a broader city budget agreement, has been one of the main focal points of the City Council speaker, Adrienne Adams.

City budget cuts forced all libraries to close on Sundays in November, prompting outrage among New Yorkers who rely on them. The additional threatened cuts raised the possibility of libraries closing on Saturdays; the $58 million restoration would avert those closings, and would probably allow the libraries to reopen on Sundays.

The budget, which is due on Sunday, is also expected to restore funding for arts institutions and community composting, according to another person who was familiar with the matter.

The mayor’s office and the City Council are in the final stages of negotiations, and deliberations have been contentious with the two sides not able to agree on basic revenue estimates.

Mr. Adams, a Democrat who is running for re-election next year, had initially proposed major cuts to schools, police and sanitation services, citing pessimistic revenue projections and the continued financial burden associated with an influx of migrants into the city.

But with tax revenue forecasts improving, the mayor relented on some of his proposed cuts in April, and seemed to leave the door open for further negotiations with the Council.

Ms. Adams, a Democrat from Queens, has pushed the mayor to restore $53 million for arts and cultural institutions and $7 million for community composting, which allows New Yorkers to drop off food scraps at neighborhood sites.

Council leaders also pushed for more funding for early childhood programs, including free preschool for 3-year-olds and services for young children with disabilities. It remains to be seen whether that funding will be restored.

But the leaders, buoyed by numerous community groups, pushed hardest on restoring the library cuts.

“Libraries are among our most precious public resources, and they deserve our full investment,” Ms. Adams said recently as City Council members held rallies with library leaders.

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