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.
SOURCE: Yonkers City Hall