Mount Vernon – After the recent controversy over the 2017 Budget, The Board of Estimate and Contract (Mayor Richard W. Thomas, Comptroller Maureen Walker and Council President Marcus A. Griffith) held a special meeting on Monday, November 21st and adopted the annual estimate of $106,992.370 for the 2017 City Budget (see full budget below). This represents a spending increase of 2.98% and a tax increase of 1.58% over the 2016 adopted budget.
“The 1.58% increase represents the lowest tax increase in over 20 years,” Comptroller Walker tells BW. “A home assessed at $10,000 will pay an additional $61.80 in property taxes. The 2017 budget represents a fiscally sound and responsible budget that will preserve services to our seniors, veterans and youth. Our residents and businesses will receive adequate services in police and fire protection, along with public works and sanitation.”
The budget will continue to keep Mount Vernon a financially stable city as it has in previous years, according to Comptroller Walker. Council President Marcus A. Griffith echoed the comptroller’s position. The 2017 spending plan was approved by all three members of the Board of Estimate and Contract (Mayor, Comptroller, City Council President).
“The City has a future based sustainable annual budget with a historically low tax increase,” Council President Griffith tells BW. “The Comptroller, the Mayor, and the City Council President voted unanimously to keep Mount Vernon’s financial health strong.”
Even Mayor Thomas who previously referred to Walker & Griffith’s proposed budget as a ‘Back Room Budget Deal,’ voted in support of this new adoption of the budget, despite the fact he feels, “the current budget fails our future.
“As Chairman of the Board of Estimate and Contract, I permitted this budget to move forward because I believe it is time for the people of Mount Vernon to have their say,” Mayor Thomas tells BW. “The people of Mount Vernon deserve an on-time budget and a transparent process. Therefore, I allowed this budget to move forward so it can be improved to address the priorities the people envisioned when they elected me as mayor. Mount Vernon is an expensive city and the current budget fails our future. We pay the highest tax rate in Westchester County and this budget increases those taxes even more while decreasing services.”
Comptroller Walker feels with the adoption of the 2017 City Budget, we will continue to keep increases in spending to a level that our residents and businesses can sustain.
“Dramatic increases in spending lead to unconscionable increases in property taxes,” Comptroller Walker states.
Mayor Thomas continues to disagree that Comptroller Maureen Walker and City Council President Marcus Griffith’s budget “preserves” and gives “adequate” services…
“I believe we need to restore public safety positions, fund a police commissioner, fix our streetlights, pave our roads and, most importantly, restore our beautiful Memorial Field.”
Comptroller Walker explains, “The 2017 operating budget is separate and distinct from our capital budget which addresses expenditures for capital projects, including our infrastructure.”
The unanimous approval of the 2017 spending plan was approved by all three members of the Board of Estimate and Contract (Mayor, Comptroller, City Council President) is definitely a welcomed development by residents who have had to endure all the division and public fighting over the matter by our elected officials. As we see they still do not see eye-to-eye, but a budget has been adopted for 2017 and that is all most residents want, some sort of compromise to move Mount Vernon Forward.
Below you can view and download the 2017 adopted Mount Vernon Budget.
Stay tuned to BW for more on this developing story.
***Story updated to include Mayor Thomas comments, Wednesday, Nov. 23rd at 6:05 PM***