Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone’s FY2011-2011 Executive Budget proposal promotes a 4.81 percent tax increase. Even so, Mayor Amicone (extreme right) projects sales tax revenue despite the incessant delays by Forest City Ratner in completing the Ridge Hill development. Mayor Amicone will conduct a ribbon cutting ceremony of the cinema in May of this year at Ridge Hill. The balance of the property will come to life in October, while the anchor to Ridge Hill, Lord & Taylor’s, will open in 2012 asserts Mayor Amicone.
The “balanced” budget has been formulated by dispensing 47 percent to the municipal side and 53 percent to favor the Yonkers Board of Education. This formula, asserts Mayor Amicone, is fluid. It can change at any time prior to its deadline of June 1, 2011, the date designated by law by which the Yonkers City Council must accept or deny the mayor’s budget proposal. Mayor Amicone will advise the Yonkers city Council as new figures are gleaned.
700 hunded jobs are to be lost at the Yonkers Public School District. These are projections by YPS Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio (right). His budget has, as last year, not been officially submitted, as deduced by Councilmember Joan Gronowski, upon questioning Mr Pierorazio and then demanding it be forwarded for Yonkers City Council scrutiny.
Mayor Amicone has dug his heels into the ground; not another penny for eduction he assserts, this while concluding his open session at which he advised the Yonkers City Council of the budgetary issues, and proclaiming that the dire situation is all about “our children.”
The drama was there but Mayor Amicone’s delivery was catatonic. It was Mr Pierorazio who exhibited the drama with greater flair. Either way, those who would have to pay the increases, suffer the lack of planning over these 16 years in continued silence.
The parents of students have said nothing. The unions that would suffer cuts in staff have said nothing; then again, Mayor Amicone will not speak any of them.
Yonkersites love the drama more than they are concerned with the issues not being discussed in the budget. Yonkersites are silent about the $4 million in red light traffic camera fees they will likely pay to the tune of $4 million. Firefighters are safe for about two years because of a federal grant. Police will have 23 new positions after the graduating class but rather than getting on the streets to the second most safe city of a like population as claimed by Mayor Amicone, they and Yonkersites alike will find our numbers, no longer able to be fudged, will pummet Yonkers to horrendous levels. This, because City Hall has not planned to do right by The People.
Yonkers Mayor Amicone admitted at the meeting that his greatest failure has been his inability to convince Albany that Yonkers was not getting its fair share of funding. His failure is his shame but it will be born on the backs of Yobnkersites, not by him.
At every turn in Mayor Amicone’s proposed budget, Yonkersites will have to dig deeper to “balance” Mayor Amicone’s budget. Development has failed Yonkers because Yonkers’ elected stewards were inept. The Amicone administration has soaked Albany for funds which were most often transformed for use other than for their intention. There is no ballpark in Chicken Island. There is no minor league ball team. They are bankrupt. Still the money has not been repaid. Not only regarding Chicken Island but on many more projects Yonkersites will not speak about.
Yonkers Tribune will not get caught up in this drama. Let those who must speak, speak. If like a parent who does not defend their own child, who will? Yonkersites must challenge the Amicone or remain complacent. Same for Mr Pierorazio; his praises are heard but he does not graduate even 50 percent of all students who enter the student population at the Yonkers Public School district. Pierorazio must open the Yonkers BoE books; he must present a formal budget proposal, among so many other issues and concerns. Like Mayor Amicone, Superintendent Pierorazio will not budge an iota.
If, as is in the past there is silence in Yonkers on these issues, when it is time to pay the piper with lost jobs, services, and quality of life concerns, we can look to the mirror to find the protagonists responsible for letting Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone and Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio off the hook.
Let’s agree to protect our favorite sons from blame or shame. We know they tried their best. Yonkersites must ponder if that has ever been good enough. The merry duo are counting that good enough is good enough.