MOUNT VERNON, NY — February 28, 2019 — The Mount Vernon City Council vote of February 27, 2019, overriding Mayor Thomas’ veto, does not fix the problem, it exacerbates it. Here’s why.
Even under the duress of time — the rationale given to override the veto — the vote is a highly irresponsible decision by our elected leaders, especially at a time when the state agencies are watching.
Think about it. The majority of the City Council agrees that the budget is fundamentally flawed. And according to the lone dissenter, Councilmember Janice Duarte, “it raises taxes without adequately funding key City’s priorities.” Additionally, it underfunds pension benefits for a class of the City employees- a deficit that is a glaring omission, and has to be resolved by year-end.
Finally, to go forward with the vote signals an inability of our officials to diligently work through a crisis of misinformation and a potential lack of funds. This was not the Mayor’s budget, nor the Comptroller’s, or the City Council’s budget. This budget process is to protect our tax payers. To move forward without a credible assessment of the City’s cash flow and cash position from the comptroller, is tantamount to willful blindness – a move that will not ingratiate Moody’s or any ratings agency to restore the City’s credit ratings anytime soon.
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Derickson K. Lawrence, a resident of the City of Mount Vernon, is a former candidate for NY 16th Congressional District and a former member of Westchester County Charter Revision Commission. He is reachable at: firstname.lastname@example.org