Statement from Mayor Patterson-Howard on State Comptroller Budget Review

Tribune Budget, Community, Finance, Governance, Law, Mt. Vernon, New York State, People, Political Analysis, Politics 7 Comments

Shawyn Patterson Howard, Mayor of the City of Mount Vernon, NY.

MOUNT VERNON, NY — April 19, 2021 — On  behalf  of  the  City  of  Mount  Vernon,  I’d  like  to  thank  the New  York  State  Comptroller’s  office  for  its  continued  efforts  to  improve  the  policies  and  processes  of our  city’s  finance  system.  The  State  Comptroller’s  review  of  our  budget  confirms  the  challenging conditions  under  which  we  were  forced  to  create  this  year’s  budget.  My  office  has  been  clear.  In  our 2021  Budget  summary,  we  shared  in  blistering  detail  our  persistent  struggle  to  obtain  historical  financial data  as  a  basis  for  budgetary  assumptions  and  projections.  Recognizing  that  reliable  financial  information was  essential  for  drafting  an  accurate  estimate,  we  repeatedly  requested  detailed  accounting  statements, profit-and-loss  statements,  payroll  records,  operating  statements,  and  other  financial  documents  from  the City  Comptroller.

Despite  our  repeated  requests,  the  City  Comptroller  failed  to  deliver  much  of  the  necessary  information. In  fact,  the  State  Comptroller’s  own  report  shows  how  they  have  struggled  to  get  information  from  the City  Comptroller  herself.  The  subsequent  expense  and  revenue  projections  reflected  the  minimal financial  reporting  provided  by  the  City  Comptroller,  which  included  only  the  2019  revenue  and  2020 expense  reports  for  the  first  three  quarters  of  the  respective  years  (ending  September  30th)  and  updated information  around  our  debt  service,  health  benefits,  insurance  premiums,  and  departmental  expenses were  only provided by the  City  Comptroller’s  Office  after months  of request  in mid-January 2021. 

We were faced  with  difficult  decisions  which  included:  raising  taxes  by  20%,  finding  additional  revenues or  furloughing/laying  off  between  60-100  employees  across  public  safety  and  city  hall  departments.  We made  assumptions  that  COVID  relief  money  was  on  the  way  and  that  it  would  help  with  closing  some  of the  shortfalls. Therefore, we  made  assumptions  based on the  limited data  we  had received.  

Clarity  around  the  city’s  true  financial  state  is  this  administration  top  priority.  It’s  why  the  administration and  most  of  the  City  Council  are  on  the  same  side  in  providing  fiscal  oversight.  It’s  why  our  administration put  money  in  the  budget  to  close  out  its  outstanding  audits.  In  February,  the  Mount  Vernon  City  Council issued  subpoenas  to  Chase  and  Sterling  in  an  effort  to  gain  a  better  understanding  of  the  city’s  available resources.   

Our administration took the  steps  to mandate  that  every department  track and report  their expenses monthly. We  have  pledged to release  a  quarterly report  of the  finances  that  we’ve  track for this  fiscal year  and to incorporate  the  State  Comptroller’s  recommendations  going forward.  With the  first  quarterly report  coming  out  in  the  next  few  weeks. While  this  has  usually been done  by the  City  Comptroller’s office, the  administration is  once  again taking the  lead on providing  financial  transparency into how  our departments  spend taxpayer money.  Our office  will  continue  to make  the  very best  decisions  possible, based on the  limited information we  receive  from  the  City Comptroller. 

TribuneStatement from Mayor Patterson-Howard on State Comptroller Budget Review

Comments 7

  1. The mayor apparently is shooting in the dark. An unfortunate situation to be in when trying to run a city with a myriad of challenges.
    The entire administration seems to be operating in a circular firing squad. Lots of grandstanding and one-upmanship and a culture across administrations which shows a disdain for checks and balances.
    Now Covid relief millions being considered to be ‘hidden’ from the Comptroller and put under the City Clerk’s or possibly Water Department’s portfolio. We know the history of the use and access to Water Dept. account. The optics of this give pause.
    Then, the newly appointed Chief of staff who voters believed was focused on his position and responsibilities, seeking to vacate his position during an ongoing crisis to run for Comptroller.
    Administration needs to regroup. Voting one person out of office will just be a start. Truly competent and focused governance is needed across all departments.

  2. OMG AMEN
    THATS WHY I LEFT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY…PARTY OF SLAVERY…
    JUST KEEP US IGNORANT, ON DRUGS, NO JOBS, LOVERS OF WELFARE, KEEP GIVING US STIMULUS PACKAGES AND WE CANT EVEN SEE THAT THEY CONTROL US…
    CUOMO LEGALIZING KILLING BABY MOSTLY BLACK AND GIVE US WEED SO WE CAN STAY DUMB, LAZY AND WORTHLESS THEN FIND A WAY TO LOCK US UP…WAKE UP…

  3. What a mess. Decades of democratic unqualified rule.
    Look at Yonkers. We elect the same idiots to our council. All they know how to do is distribute face masks and hand sanitizer.

        1. Tashia Diaz half the time you can not understand what she is mumbling about-what a disgrace for a so called elected official- but then that’s par for the course in YONKERS.

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