NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio can only wait a few more days before he must send out layoff notices to about 22,000 city workers, he said Wednesday.
The clock is ticking for labor union leaders who rushed to Albany to convince lawmakers to allow New York City to borrow billlions of dollars, the mayor said.
"Labor leaders are having intense discussions with lawmakers in Albany," de Blasio said. "We're waiting for a resolution."
De Blasio has been lobbying for weeks to borrow $5 billion he says will prevent layoffs accross all city agencies.
But state lawmakers and the governor have to give consent, and so far they've been cool to the idea.
Another source of potential revenue is a loan from the Federal Reserve, but de Blasio said it would only provide short term loans and thus a short term solution.
"It would be robbing Peter to pay Paul," the mayor said.
The mayor did not specify when is the deadline to make a decision on layoffs, but he is obligated to give workers 30 days notice.
New York City faces a $9 billion deficit even as it mounts one of the most complex challenges in its history; reopening public schools amid a global pandemic.
Teachers unions have raised serious concerns about staffing shortages schools will face as students rely on both blended and remote learning.
De Blasio once again reminded New Yorkers that "thousands" of out-of-classroom Department of Education employees and subsitute teachers were prepared to join the effort, yet declined to specify how many.
"Yes it will cost some money," de Blasio said. "But it really comes down to our priorities."
Despite these challenges, de Blasio said New York was among the most successful cities in the nation when it came to stopping the spread of novel coronavirus.
"Journalists from the national perspective, [are] asking with a certain amount of amazement, how we've come so far," de Blasio said.
"Right now we're the envy of the nation."