NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS/WCBS 880) — The recession is continuing to sock it to New York City.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered a hiring freeze and another round of draconian budget cuts that could result in more layoffs and fewer city jobs.
The city is filled with police, firefighters, sanitation workers and teachers, but there could soon be fewer of them, because the recession is forcing Bloomberg to cut another $2 billion out of his already lean budget, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
“It’s hard to see us continue with a work force of this size,” Bloomberg said.
This is the ninth time the mayor has had to cinch the city’s budget belt in the last three and a half years. This time he’s asking agencies for $800 million in cuts this year and $1.2 billion next year.
“The job for every one of our commissioners is to find a way to do more with less,” the mayor said. “Can we do everything we want? No.”
The city has already felt the effects of the previous belt tightenings.
* Two years ago there were 311,000 city workers; now there are 303,000
* Two years ago there were 11,625 firefights; today there are 11,127
* Two years ago there were 7,723 sanitation workers; now there are $7,264
* There used to be 41,000 cops; now there are 35,000
These cuts have come as the population has continued to rise.
And sources tell Kramer the number of city jobs could fall even more with the newest round of belt tightening.
Needless to say, some city residents say it makes it more difficult to live here.
“It’s getting tough. It’s getting harder and harder. Actually a lot of people are out of work as it is,” said Susan Gold of Brighton Beach.
“Already the garbage is too much and it’s killing us in the city,” added Matthew Conduah of the Bronx.
“We’re already hurting from the austerity programs put in place the last several years. It’s hard. It’s hard,” said city employee and Staten Island resident Lois McAndrew.
“It’s the type of city that with less workers here the more difficult it is to defend the city and if we don’t have enough workers to take care of everything it’s going to make me very nervous,” said Dwain Daniels of the Bronx.
There is one bit of good news. The mayor said he is not — at this point — considering a property tax hike. But he said you can never say never.