YONKERS, NY — June 13, 2018 — The Yonkers City Council reconvened the Special Meeting that was voted into recess last night at approximately 9pm. The televised presentation lasted what seemed to be no more than 10 minutes in duration, if that. Majority Leader Michael Sabatino presided. Yonkers Finance Commissioner John Liszewski presented the revised and seeming the last rendition of Mayor Mike Spano’s Proposed FY 2018-2019 Proposed Budget.
Governor Andrew Cuomo kept his word and filled the entire gap that was the revealed shortfall of the Yonkers Public School District. Bolstering the fiscal shortfall realized by the City of Yonkers Board of Education Department by $8.8 Million, layoffs, curricula, and ancillary services are kept whole and intact.
The proposed budget satisfying the City of Yonkers, often referred to as the “city side”, imposed a 6.2 percent tax. It should be noted that every 1 percent tax increase is equivalent to approximately $3.5 million and thereby is equivalent to filling the gap on the city side” by $21.7 million. The increased taxing revenue negates layoffs and loss of services.
A Special Meeting has been called for tonight at the Yonkers City Council Chambers to vote on the latest proposed budget. Last night’s presentation was focused on the gist of the proposed budget. The presumption is that a broader explanation of the proposed budget will be explained rather that the gist or essence of the presentation made last night.
The adjustment made to the budget, divided as it has been by the “school side” on the one hand, and the “city side” on the other exposes the litany that the City of Yonkers (CoY) is suffering its yearly fiscal crisis by not getting its “fair share” of funding from Albany. there are discrepancies over what other Big Five school districts receive by way of a formula that was said to always shortchange CoY. By filling the $8.8 million gap on the “school side”, how can CoY explain that in order to maintain employees and services on the “city side” required a tax increase equivalent to $21.7 million? One can only infer that CoY has fiscally mismanaged its fiscal needs and that the school formula that has been used as a bludgeon against Albany is misplaced because the need to fill the “city side” with an infusion of $21.7 million has nothing whatsoever to do with the “school funding formula”.
Further, if the needs of CoY and the needs of the YPS District are satisfied by Mayor Mike Spano’s FY2018-2019 Proposed Budget which could only be balanced by adding $8.8 million and $21.7 million to arrive at a total sum of $30.5 million, why were budgetary deficits presented at much greater sums than presented last night?
The skeleton information of the latest proposed budget is expected to come to a vote tonight. Will the Yonkers City Council receive and divulge the quarterly budget report to the public? Will Yonkers City Hall and the Yonkers City Council study how to wean the budget from the yearly anxiety inducing drama Yonkersites are forced to endure.
There are many proven and provable undertakings that can save CoY, the “city side” and the “school side” from further hemorrhage by instituting a different demeanor. CoY has lost its desire to be self-reliant while quick to admonish others whose prospects are nil, whereas Yonkers has means, but it chooses to take cup in hand to Albany to continue to play a “game of Chicken” with the Governor. It seems CoY blinked this time around, and for the first time in over 22 years.
if all that was required to fill the deficit on the “school side” there is a proven method that can be undertaken by the Yonkers Board of Education that in the first year alone can save a total of $15 million plus $1 million more by filing the appropriate paper work, and would be embellished and additional total of $18.7 million in year two and thereafter every year. A formula already shared with the powers that be. It is now up to them to follow through.
The yearly need to satisfy tax certiorari challenges that have cost the city $15 million plus the cost of bonding the debt to pay it off can be expunged.
Overtime must be expunged as must pension padding schemes. A situation that is a management concern. It is time for City Hall to let Department managers do what they are asked to do and not override the taxpayers’ money.
The patronage mill must be obliterated. Civil Service exams adhered to. No show jobs, and little show jobs not created to service political purpose or any other illegitimate purpose. yonkers must close its doors to being an employment agency.
The city vehicle fleet must be sold outright. those that want a car or need a car can lease or by it on their own. No reduced gasoline prices; gasoline must be used exclusively for police, fire and DPW equipment exclusively. federal tax allowances are available for those who adhere to tax standards devised by the Federal government. Insurance costs would no longer be necessary.
There is so much more to save and earn. City Hall must work with the Yonkers City Council membership. City Hall’s silence on many issues has caused them to buckle at the knees. Does the Yonkers City Council have what it takes engage the communities they represent responsibly. It is also time the three old guards still presiding over the Yonkers City Council make amends for their failed conduct so far. It is time for them to start an enlightened chapter, as must the newest members.
The savings are everywhere. The myopic conduct of CoY demands they get a pair of glasses. Yonkersites have been wearing glasses for years. Yonkersites know what has been going on. they have 20/20 vision. Perhaps City Hall will get the message and serve the Public interest at long last.
Most importantly, Yonkers can do better is dialogue and discourse was open and honest and news was not managed with falsehoods that have failed CoY for over 50 years.