Mayor Mike Spano’s Press Notice Included at Bottom of Page
YONKERS, NY – June 10, 2014 — Yonkers City Council President struck the gavel at 11:32 p.m.
City of Yonkers auditor Nick DeSantis mentioned that a separate packet, handed out this late evening supplants the initial $1 billion budget by a $2.8 million budget increased overall. The additional budget increase alleviates some tax increases initially called for, as well as an additional $1 million allocated for the benefit of the Yonkers Board of Education (YBoE). 1,969 employees will henceforth report to City of Yonkers (CoY) departments rather than their former YBoE employer. The income tax surcharge has been reduced. A total summation of fees, reduced, decreased , or staying static will be defined sometime this morning from the Office of the Director of Communications Christina Gilmartin. Most of the items included in the proposed budget and the supplanted budget were too quickly divulged to record them for this report.
Mr DeSantis’ explanation of the budget proposals supported the approval earlier this evening made by the Yonkers Board of Education Board of Trustees’ unanimous, 8-0 approval of the Inter-Municipal Agreement between the YBoE and the CoY infers similar outcome by the Yonkers City Council. The very understanding of the YBoE action, coupled by the inclusion of the YBoE into the greater budgetary planning that allows for city government to fund all departments under its scrutiny, infers that the Yonkers City Council has verbally tendered their approval of an Inter-Municipal Agreement between the Yonkers City Council and the New York State Legislature.
Councilman Michael Breen repeated that the problem is in Albany; there is no money in Yonkers.
“Changing the lives of 27,000 people in 6 months time is too fast, ” noted Mr. Johnson.
Councilmember Corazon Pineda said it was said that only an additional $1 million set aside for education, it is not much, but it is symbolic. As for the perpetuity of the IMA, and the way the issue transpired has me discomforted.
Yonkers Majority Leader John Larkin (6th District) was first to speak to the issues prior to a vote being cast. Mr. Larkin stressed that Yonkers has been short-changed for years. Mr. Larkin admitted that a contingent of some Yonkers City Councilmembers went to Albany in the hope of gaining greater financial support from the New York State Legislature only to find they were dismissed without gaining a dime. You could hear the seething anger in Mr Larkin’s voice as he recapitulated the financial troubles suffered by CoY. Mr. Larkin pointed out that “we don’t a fair share of funding from Albany.” Mr. Larkin stressed that $5 million was specifically set aside to benefit the Yonkers Fire Department with respect to future contract negotiations. Mr. Larkin suggests Yonkersites point the finger of blame directly at Albany. Mr. Larkin said, “I don’t agree to every aspect of the IMA agreement but it needs to be done. I did the best I could with the funds we had,” noted Larkin.
Minority Leader Michael Sabbatino was next to comment. “I don’t think every one of us are totally thrilled with this budget.” The issue of “perpetuity” is “forever and ever” and that troubles me.
Councilman Dennis Shepherd said that the suggestion for $5 million in contingency funds specific to the Yonkers Fire Department was initiated by the Republican Majority stressed Mr Shepherd said, setting the record straight. “We don’t get the funding we should from Albany,” Shepherd hammered away.
Like Larkin, Shepherd said, “we were threatened by Albany.”
Councilman Chris Johnson said, “I want to thank the mayor for his initial budget proposal because it was better than the one that is before us this morning. Mr. Johnson will vote against the budget because he opposes the $100 million in one shots that the Yonkers City Council voted to not accept years ago. We should not be penalizing our teachers, our students because of a mistake. We need to invest in our education and in our children. That being the case, Johnson said, “So, fund it!”
If we are not taking care of our children; then we are not taking care of our city,” Johnson said.
Yonkers City Council President Liam McLaughlin agrees with his colleagues that Albany is to blame for shortchanging the city. There are a lot of things most of us would like to change. We are not tonight voting on deficit funding; there is time to vote on that issue. Mr McLaughlin thanked his staff and the administration, finance department, and Corporation Counsel staff, and the auditing staff.
The vote began at 1:02 a.m.
Items 1-4 amend the code to conform items with the budget…each item was approved 7-0.
Item 5 amends Parking Violations Bureaus 7-0
Item 6 increases fire inspection fees 7-0
Item 7 Adjudication Court 6-1
Item 8 Sewer tax costs 6-1
Item 9 Increasing water rates 6-1
Item 17 – Special Ordinance for bond $11 million Certiorari Taxes 7-0
Item 19- Cable Franchise Agreement to increase franchise fee 6-1
Item 20 – IMA and YBoE Agreement 3-4 Adopted
Item 11 – Confirming the tax role 6-1
Item 12 – Adopting Capital Budget 7-0
Item 13 – Grant Budget 7-0
Item 14 – Withdrawn
Item 15 – Ordinance for Anticipation Note 7-0
Item 16 – Tax Anticipation Note 7-0
Item 18 – Salary Schedule 7-0
Item 21 – Civil Service Job Adjustment 3-4
Meeting adjourned at 1:30 a.m.
Re-verification of votes will be appended with City Hall input by midday Wednesday.
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YONKERS MAYOR SPANO’S 2014-2015 BUDGET ADOPTED
Adopted Bipartisan Budget Increases School Funding, Contains No Cuts to Services and Stays within the Tax Cap for Third Consecutive Year
Board of Education (BOE) Saves $9 Million through Non-Academic Consolidations and Sweeping Reforms with Signing of Intermunicipal Agreement with City of Yonkers
Yonkers, NY – June 11, 2014 — Following weeks of budget hearings, public hearings and productive negotiations among legislative leaders, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano’s 2014-2015 City Budget was adopted with bipartisan support early this morning by the Yonkers City Council. The budget increases funding for the Yonkers School District for the second consecutive year, contains no cuts to services and stays within the tax cap for the third consecutive year.
“When I took office, I said I wanted to end the year-to-year budget crises in Yonkers,” said Mayor Spano. “We’ve gotten through this budget by working together, democrats and republicans, solving problems and putting Yonkers first — without layoffs and without cuts to services while staying within the property tax cap.”
Despite the Board of Education’s $55 million overstatement earlier this year that potentially could have derailed the city’s progress, the 2014-2015 Budget maintains Mayor Spano’s commitment to education by increasing education funding and preserving current programs. This year’s budget also features sweeping governance reform with the signing of a historic Intermunicipal Agreement (IMA) between the Yonkers School District and the City of Yonkers. The groundbreaking IMA, which was passed unanimously by the Board of Education last night, is the first of its kind in New York State and may serve as a model for other cities in New York. It provides for $9 million in savings through the consolidation of non-academic functions, including finance, human resources, IT, legal and communications.
“The ramifications of the Board of Education’s error could have devastated the city and our schools,” said Mayor Spano. “We were facing hundreds of layoffs, a stop in our capital programs, downgrades in our bond ratings and more, but I am proud to say that with the collaborative work among our Governor, state delegation, City Council, Board of Education Trustees and Superintendent, today, we have emerged with minimum drama and prevented drastic cuts to the schools and the city.”
“I am particularly pleased that our negotiations resulted in governance reform that will provide for greater transparency and accountability among the Board of Education and the city,” continued Mayor Spano. “By consolidating duplicative non-academic functions, the IMA empowers the Board Trustees to concentrate on their core mission of education and focus resources in the classroom.”
As a result of the signed Intermunicipal Agreement, Yonkers also has secured an additional $28 million in state aid for the coming fiscal year. This is in addition to the $17 million increase for Yonkers in school aid in the state budget, the largest increase of any Big Five city in New York State. The adopted budget also includes an increase of $1 million in the City’s Maintenance of Effort to the Board of Education.
On the municipal side, the adopted 2014-2015 budget keeps all departments and City services whole, funding vital services such as police, fire, public works and parks personnel. Additionally, the adopted budget keeps property taxes within the property tax cap for the third consecutive year, making Yonkers residents eligible to receive state property tax rebate checks averaging $200 over the next 24 months. The budget also includes an increase of 1.75% in the personal income tax of a resident’s New York State tax liability, or $1.10 per week increase for the average household.
“Overall, I want to thank the Council members, education leaders, department heads, particularly our Finance team, union leaders and employees who came together for the good of the City and our schools. By bringing all parties to the table and putting party politics aside, we were able to keep our commitment to education and property taxpayers. While our City still faces challenges ahead, this year’s adopted budget reflects our administration’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and stability,” said Mayor Spano.
· Historic governance reform with signing of Intermunicipal Agreement between Board of Education and City
o Consolidation of five non-academic functions, saving BOE $9 million
o Provides greater transparency and accountability between Board of Education and City
o Secures $28 million in state aid for classrooms
o Preserves funding for Pre-K, music, sports and art
· Increase of $1 million in City’s Maintenance of Effort to Board of Education
· No eliminations of municipal positions or cuts to vital services
· 1.37% increase to tax levy/1.84% increase in tax rate – 2nd lowest since 1998/within tax cap for 3rd consecutive year)
o Allows residents to receive state property tax rebates averaging $200 over the next 24 months
· Personal Income Tax increased by 1.75% to 16.75%; average household will see $1.10 per week increase)
· $1.02 billion total budget
· $499 million municipal budget
· $522.9 million public school budget
The City of Yonkers fiscal year begins on July 1.