By Jill Colvin
MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Friday that he will begin sending letters next week demanding new across-the-board cuts from city agencies as hope for additional state funding fades.
The mayor's preliminary budget for the coming fiscal year had relied on the assumption that the state would come up with an additional $600 million in funding over what Gov. Andrew Cuomo had outlined in his state budget plan.
But now it appears the mayor has given up hope that more money is on the way.
"Next week, we will send out a letter to all the agencies requiring them to give us plans in the next few weeks on how we're going to reduce our expenses by another $600 million," the mayor told WOR's John Gambling during his weekly radio sit-down.
He warned residents to brace for additional steep cuts to every city agency, in addition to the teacher layoffs and previous cuts that have already been announced.
"We're going to go ahead and do this. We don't have any choice. And it's really hard to see how Albany can come up with enough money to make a difference," Bloomberg said. "Nobody's going to be happy."
But Bloomberg did say he was "optimistic" about reaching a deal with the governor over replacing the state's seniority-based teacher firing laws with a merit-based system following a week of heated rhetoric that had the two men going head-to-head.
"Cuomo and I will work something out. I'm optimistic. I've always been," said Bloomberg, echoing comments the governor made Thursday saying the two would work together to find a plan.
Still, he warned that time was running out to reach an agreement.
"We have to do something right now. We have to decide in the very, very immediate future," Bloomberg warned.