City Council adopts 2017 Yonkers budget
Post Date:06/02/2017 3:48 PM
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YONKERS, NY - The Yonkers City Council passed the City's $1.154 billion budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year on Thursday. The on-time budget stays within the property tax cap while restoring vacant positions in vital emergency services thanks to changes proposed by the Council Majority.
Yonkers City Council President Liam McLaughlin said, "This is now the fourth consecutive, bipartisan balanced budget in four years. The Mayor and the Council have worked together cooperatively and have overhauled the way the City manages its money while instituting tough new financial controls and keeping the City of firm financial footing."
Despite recent fiscal challenges, due to the financial management practices instituted by the Mayor and the City Council, the City has its first "A" bond rating in thirty years.
Majority Leader John Larkin said, "This on-time budget stays within the property tax cap and fully funds vital services along with important community initiatives like the Untermeyer Performing Arts Council. I'm proud we were able to restore positions in the budget without having to raise taxes to do so."
The adopted budget remains within the state-mandated property tax cap while taking steps toward fixing many inherited structural problems in a balanced manner. The Budget includes a $557.3 million appropriation for the Board of Education, along with $35.75 million for school improvements and $5 million for textbooks and equipment, the largest contribution to the BOE in the City's history.
On the municipal side, the adopted operating budget is set at $314 million. Once again, the Council has passed a budget which within the state mandated tax cap with a proposed 0.23% increase in the property tax levy, the lowest increase in 20 years. Funding for the Untermyer Performing Arts Council was also maintained in the final adopted budget.
Council member Mike Breen said, "We have worked in a bipartisan fashion with the Mayor to restore positions in the police and fire departments which will keep Yonkers as the second safest City of our size in America. We've also proudly provided the largest contribution in history to our schools."
Council member Dennis Shepherd said, "The Council Majority and the Mayor are proving that bipartisan government is alive and well in Yonkers, and it works. Perhaps Albany and Washington should take a page from our book."
Albany lawmakers have compounded the stress on the City's budget, with state-funded Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) remaining flat for Fiscal Year 2018 at $108 million for the fifth consecutive year. AIM funding is down $20 million from 2009 levels.
The budget has no cuts to vital services and restores the elimination of vacant positions in the Police and Fire Department, a change sought and adopted by the Council Majority. The budget also hires five new guidance counselors for the school district and restores four parks employees who maintain and clean City facilities. The budget does not contain any layoffs. In the last four years, the City had settled all municipal and school labor contracts, many of which were years overdue.
The budget was adopted by a vote of 7 - 0.