NYC agencies spend nearly $1 billion more than planned

NEW YORK Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:37pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City's agencies spent almost $1 billion more than expected the current 2012 fiscal year, partly due to overtime for police and firefighters, a problem that will trigger more cuts in expenses, a mayoral aide said on Friday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who already has ordered nearly a dozen rounds of budget cuts since 2007, forecast that the city will collect only an extra $81 million from now until next year's budget ends on July 1, 2013.

New York City's high overtime expenses are often criticized by fiscal monitors. The Occupy Wall Street protests have only added to a problem made worse by last winter's spate of snowstorms and this summer's Hurricane Irene. Winter storms drove up the costs of overtime for sanitation workers, which the mayoral aide also cited.

The city's economy -- which usually would rank as the 18th largest in the world if it were a country -- depends on Wall Street's profits. But Europe's debt crisis is rattling markets and prompting tens of thousands of layoffs by banks and brokerages around the globe.

BAD DAY FOR THE MUSEUMS

New York City is expected to lay off about 250 workers this year -- about half at museums and performing arts centers funded through the Department of Cultural Affairs.

About 320 layoffs are planned for next year, according to Doug Turetsky, a spokesman for the Independent Budget Office.

Some of those workers are employed by museums, which will lose funding from the city, under the mayor's plan. The City Council, which is led by Democrats, must approve that plan.

Libraries and the Transportation Department are also targeted for layoffs in next year's budget. Further, about 1,100 jobs over this year and next year will be cut through attrition.

The Department of Education was spared personnel cuts, a contrast with the early autumn layoffs of school aides.

About $226 million in police overtime was added for this year, and $240 million more a year after that, Turetsky said. The Police Department will have a hiring freeze for civilians; the Fire Department will cut 44 civilian jobs through attrition this year and 29 people next year.

Close to half of the savings after 2013 -- when the mayor's third and final term ends -- will not produce recurring savings, Turetsky said, noting this is a break from Bloomberg's usual policy.

Specifically, the agencies will cut $1.5 billion this year and next year, but in 2014, the savings shrink to about $630 million.

The programs whose funding rises include the Young Men's Initiative, which helps disadvantaged minorities, and the Department of Homeless Services for apartments to be shared by small families with children.

(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Jan Paschal)

(This story corrects to specify layoffs planned for museums and performing arts centers)

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