MOUNT VERNON, NY — October 3, 2018 — Today, Mayor Richard Thomas released a letter sent to the City Council and Comptroller Deborah Reynolds on the serious financial implications contained in Westchester County’s proposed amendment on Memorial Field.
Mayor Thomas raised concerns with language in the proposed amendment that poses a serious threat to the City’s finances. The County wants the City to be on the hook for paying an untold amount of money to the County within six (6) months of the completion of a forensic audit of the monies expended by previous administrations.
The possibility that the City may have to repay funds improperly spent by a prior administration is not new, nor a surprise. What is new is the County’s demand that the unknown sum be paid by a fixed date.
Mayor Thomas has been asking the County to add language to the proposed Amendment requiring the County to provide the City with a “reasonable timeframe” to repay any funds which may have been misspent. Thomas managed to get language stating that the County would discuss the issue, but not that it would agree, nor that it would be reasonable. Verbally the County has been saying that it would be fair, but for unexplained reasons, it refuses to put that promise in writing.
According to Thomas “If the City is responsible, we will pay. However, I cannot in good conscience obligate the City to pay millions of dollars we do not have by a fixed date. The County must promise, in writing, that it will be fair and reasonable in any repayment agreement that may be required”
Thomas noted that the City has other pressing urgent issues including fixing broken sewers and paving roads.
Mayor Richard Thomas said, “We have negotiated in good faith and collaborated with the City Council in order to give Westchester County control of the project in order for it to be completed. I am extremely disappointed that the County is refusing to state in writing that they will be reasonable. Instead, they seek to force the taxpayers of Mount Vernon to pay monies they simply don’t have. This an unfair burden on our city. The people of Mount Vernon desperately want and deserve Memorial Field back but not at the price of bankrupting the entire city.”
SOURCE: Mayor Richard Thomas Press Office.