Asserts Budget Would Decimate Police Service and Harm Quality of Life
Yonkers, NY — Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone today addressed the members of the Yonkers City Council by letter in which he writes, "I am returning to you special ordinances relating to the Fiscal Year 2010 Operating Budget, without my approval. Effective today I have vetoed this legislation and this message outlines my reasons for doing so."
Mayor Amicone pictured vetoing budget legislation.
In the next paragraph Mayor Amicone states, "I must begin by expressing my utter disappointment over the reckless and irresponsible manner with which you have conducted this year's budget process. For the third year in a row, you have disregarded your City Charter mandated responsibility to adopt a budget on time by June 1. Instead, you placed the city in jeopardy of running out of money by adopting a budget three weeks late. In effect, you risked shutting down city government because of your inability to do your job."
Admonishing the Yonkers City Council further, Mayor Amicone continues, "Aside from your flawed process, this budget is unacceptable and I cannot in good conscience sign it into law because:
1. the budget you adopted does not adeqautely provide for the safety of the people of Yonkers;
2. the budget you adopted will negatively impact basic city services and quality of life throughout the city."
"In summary," Mayor Amicone continues, "your budget makes too many compromises with respect to the publick's safety and welfare that I find completely unacceptable. Further, the service cuts you have enacted will undoubtedly impact quality of life across our city for the worse."
Municipal services most adversely affected by the City Council's budget cuts fall within the police department, which had $2.2 million-or 18%- slashed from its overtime budget. The overtime cuts would impact nearly every aspect of police operations including foot posts, neighborhood patrols, traffic details, anti-crime units, anti-drug units, and security at special events. Details follow:
-Elimination of the precinct Anti-Crime Units – 2 sergeants and 4 police officers
-Elimination of the Domestic Violence Unit – 4 police officers
-Unable to provide additional police coverage at special events
-Transfer two detectives to Field Services
-Reduction of Housing Unit police officer minimums
-Transfer a police officer from the Criminal ID Unit to late tour patrol
-Transfer a police officer from the Criminal ID Unit to early tour patrol
-Transfer a police officer from the NYSPIN Unit to late tour patrol
-Transfer two police officers from the Traffic Unit to patrol
-Transfer a sergeant to late tour Communications Division
-Transfer a sergeant from the Traffic Unit to Patrol
-Transfer a sergeant from the Housing Unit to Patrol
-Reduce minimum manning level in Detective Division by one detective
Total Police Cuts: $2,200,000
The police department wasn't the only one hit hard by the City Council's budget. A 2% across-the-board cut to most city departments will result in many other citywide service reductions, some of which are listed below.
City Council Budget Cuts (non-public safety):
-Cut at least half of the community group funding through parks department
o Boy's & Girls Clubs (12 in total)
o My Sister's Place
o Yonkers Philharmonic
o African American Heritage Festival
o Youth Theater Interaction
o Puerto Rican / Hispanic Day Parade & Festival
o Untermeyer Performing Arts Council
o Cultural concerts (Italian, Irish, etc.)
o Youth programs (Global Basketball, Westchester Invaders, Runyon Heights, etc.)
o Recreational programs (Westside Tennis, Yonkers Kayak Club, etc.)
-$1.2 million cut to affordable housing projects
-Elimination of grant matches for senior citizen services
-Elimination of support services for internet-based city services
o Online cahier payments for city taxes, parking fines, violations, etc.
o Action Center / 311 Help Line
o GIS services (property / tax records)
-Delay in implementing court-ordered firefighter civil service examination
-Elimination of building department's 24-hour Heat & Oil Program
-Code enforcement reductions (litter, noise violations, consumer protection, etc.)
Mayor Amicone continued to assail the City Council budget, "These cuts would affect everything from youth programs to maintenance of public facilities. They would profoundly impact quality of life in Yonkers by impeding our ability to enforce city code requirements, construct new affordable housing and continue key economic development initiatives. These cuts are extremely shortsighted and would cause more damage to the city over the long term than the minimal savings they would produce in the short term."
"The City Council failed to meet its City Charter mandated deadline to adopt a budget by June 1, finally passing a scaled back version of the budget three weeks late on June 20. The Council's delay and inaction has pushed the city to the brink since the budget must still be sent to the state comptroller for final certification," concluded Mayor Amicone.
The budget now goes back to the City Council for reconsideration. Five votes are needed to override a mayoral veto.
A request for a comprehensive response of the Office of the Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick made of Adam Brill is pending dissemination.
Source: Cuts supplied by the Yonkers Mayor's Office