Thomas Administration Announces Budget Town Hall to Ensure Public is Fully Info
MOUNT VERNON, NY — November 18, 2017 — Yesterday, at a last-minute Board of Estimate and Contract meeting, outgoing Comptroller Maureen Walker attempted a fiscal coup and tried to sneak on the proposed 2018 budget for a vote without any prior notice to the public or to the Mayor’s office.
Mayor Richard Thomas released the following statement: “I am extremely disappointed in outgoing Comptroller Maureen Walker’s action today. She and the City Council have repeatedly refused my office’s requests for a discussion and open dialogue on our budget proposal. Two monologues will never make a dialogue. It is a disservice to the people of Mount Vernon to continue the polarizing conduct which is why my office remains open to facilitate budget discussions with all stakeholders.
The budget process for our city must be transparent to protect the taxpayers. The budget package submitted concentrated on public safety, quality of life, and complying with federal mandates. It is a budget that charts a new fiscal course for our city, a course that the voters have made clear they want, to avoid ‘significant monetary penalty’ by the Justice Department. The political ploy that Walker and the Council are again attempting is designed to serve their own selfish interests. Last year they rejected a near zero percent tax impact and zero federal penalties only to increase property taxes and slash services. Specifically, they eliminated funding for a Police Commissioner, and 20 cops, reneged on funding sewer repairs, as well as other vital positions including Inspector General, Plan Examiner, City Engineer and other essential roles necessary to serve the public.
President John F. Kennedy warned that we cannot live in the past because it imperils the future. We warned about the tax threats related to the pollution in our waterways and the need to collect millions in secret loans made during former Mayor Davis’ and outgoing Comptroller Walker’s tenure. Yet a clean environment and paying back the taxpayers are apparently not priorities shared by Walker and the City Council.
The public should know that this Council and Comptroller have no intention of passing a responsible budget that will fund the city’s needs and they are still engaged in political games which will hurt the city’s residents. With all the unrest in the world about changes in federal tax codes, the last thing we need is a sneak attack from the City Council and Comptroller. Given their track record of obstruction, I will continue to take any and all steps to protect and grow our tax base while complying with federal and state laws to avoid crippling fines and penalties related to past mismanagement, malfeasance, and what appears to be patterns of corruption. We will not give up on fixing Mount Vernon’s broken system and keeping our door open to work with those that do not want to work with us nor work for Mount Vernon.”
On Tuesday, November 21st, at 7:00 pm, we will host a town hall in Mount Vernon’s City Hall Rotunda. We invite you to come out, learn about the proposed budget, get your questions answers and your concerns heard. Direct your RSVP by email to MayorThomas@cmvny.com or by calling 914-665-2361.
Background: Mount Vernon taxpayers have been told repeatedly by Comptroller Maureen Walker that there is over $20 million in the city’s fund balance (a.k.a. savings account). We have the money; it’s time we have the services.
Mayor Thomas has presented numerous cost-saving plans and launched initiatives to further economic development in the city so homeowners aren’t bearing the burden of excessive taxes. It’s time to invest in our city and our people.
SOURCE: Maria Donovan, Mayor Richard Thomas, Press Office.