YONKERS, NY – March 8, 2013 – Mayor
Mike Spano today announced his request of the Commission of Inquiry into the
Finances of the City of Yonkers to conduct an independent fiscal review of the
Yonkers Public Schools’ recently released study on infrastructure improvements
to city schools, entitled Yonkers PRIDE: Performance-based Rapid Infrastructure
Editor’s Note: The
study has not been released to the public or to the media.
“This is an ambitious proposal and I’ve been
looking forward to reviewing the alternative options to update our schools.
While I recognize the critical importance of devising innovative and expedited
solutions for the extraordinary capital needs of our schools, the City’s need
to frame solutions which promote fiscal stability is paramount,” said Mayor
Spano. “It is incumbent upon me as Mayor to do my due diligence and vet this
proposal to see what is best for both our public school system and our
taxpayers as we navigate our city back onto the road of fiscal stability.”
Under current law, the Mayor and the City Council
are responsible to taxpayers for decisions of large scale borrowing for school
systems. The Yonkers PRIDE proposal changes that system.
Editor’s Note: It turns
everything upside down. The YPS is wagging the City of Yonkers. The YPS
District is a separate entity and is not under the direction of CoY. The only
connection between the mayor and the Yonkers Board of Education is that the it
is the mayor who appoints Trustees to the Yonkers Board of Education Board of
Trustees. The Public Private partnership has been studied for years prior to
Mayor Mike Spano acceding to office, that is, under the former administration, that
of former Mayor Phil Amicone. The majority of appointees to the Yonkers BoE
Trustees Board of Directors were appointed by former Mayor Phil Amicone. By
requesting the Commissioner’s review of the proposal, the Mayor is seeking a
better understanding of the fiscal implications of that change for the Yonkers
taxpayers and the City’s school children.
Note: The Yonkers taxpayer will
become encumbered, that is liable, by action taken by an entity over which the
taxpayer has no sway.
Mayor Spano added, “The commission’s earlier work
in clarifying the size of Yonkers’ structural imbalances was invaluable. We
believe they can make similar contributions when reviewing the YPS proposal.”
The Yonkers Public Schools this week submitted the
proposal to Mayor Spano for consideration of the administration. The 144-page
report outlines various options for a proposed Phase I capital infrastructure
improvement project, which would address substandard conditions in six YPS
schools at a cost up to $1 billion.
Note: When YBoE Superintendent
Bernard Pierorazio first presented the Public Private Partnership, he has
already engaged the Yonkers Public School District in exploration of a solution
whose costs have yet to be revealed.
In 2012, Mayor Spano convened the Commission of
Inquiry on the City of Yonkers Finances, led by former Lieutenant Governor
Richard Ravitch, former New York State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, Jay Bryant
and Taurrus Richardson and several experts in local and state finances in order
to obtain a more in depth look at the City’s finances.
The City of Yonkers currently estimates an $86
million budget shortfall for 2013-2014, and a four-year budget gap of
approximately $500 million by 2016. Yonkers’ budget for the current fiscal year
is $955 million while the Yonkers Public School budget is $490 million.
Editor’s Note: The Yonkers BoE budget deficit is $48 million for this fiscal year. Add
$86 million more with respect to the city side of the equation, an additional
$8 million of infrastructure destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, $5 million in
overtime costs due to the delayed hiring of a new class of Yonkers
Firefighters, and the total is $147 million, which I will refer to as a $150
Editor's Note: Yonkers Tribune has made an official request of Yonkers City Hall, and of Corporation Counsel, and given notice of our conduct by cc'ing Inspector General Kitley Covill, as well as having made inquiry of Senator Greg Ball's Office and also of Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Assemblymember Shelley Mayer has advised she has now information over the P3 project because she is not engaged in the YPS Disctrict's Capital Improvement Plan.