Mount Vernon — The Board of Education of the Mount Vernon City School District, voted to have the School Attorney commence a lawsuit against the City of Mount Vernon, its officers, employees and agents, and such other persons or entities as shall be necessary to protect the interests of the Mount Vernon City School District and the educational services available to students of the District, at their Tuesday, October 18th meeting. (see BOE October 18th resolution below.)
It is the position of the School Board that the additions of new affordable housing buildings in the City of Mount Vernon, that are given PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes) has an adverse effect on the school district with the addition of families with children in the district who will attend school in the Mount Vernon City School District without paying their fair share of the taxes, putting the burden on homeowners, some who have no school age children.
“The school district prepares to sue the city,” School Board President Lesly Zamor tells BW. “Resident says that the board has acted in an effort to protect the integrity of the school district against potential double-digit tax increases from the development that will ensue because of tax breaks planned for developers. The county came out yesterday to praise the City Council for being so proactive. It obviously was a backhanded compliment as Mt. Vernon continues to bare the lion share of affordable housing in Westchester built with Tax pilots. The “Not in our back yard ” approach that White Plains and New Rochelle has adopted has had adverse effects in Mt. Vernon.”
The BOE by resolution formally adopted at its meeting on Tuesday, September 6, 2016, requesting the City of Mount Vernon enact a moratorium on approvals of all PILOT agreements involving the development of residential property located within the Mount Vernon City School District for a period of one year. The BOE states that the City of Mount Vernon and the Mayor of the City of Mount Vernon, Richard W. Thomas have failed to respond to the District’s request in any manner and continued to negotiate PILOT agreements which adversely affect the educational services offered to students of the Mount Vernon City School District.
“This influx of new housing will create conditions that will be irreversible if not stopped,” Zamor adds. “The residents of this city are over taxed and under served. I can debate this with any city official, at any time. As a fiduciary and trustee of the residents of this city, I will protect the interest of our existing families, students and taxpayers first, and not those of developers seeking pilots who don’t live here!”
Mount Vernon residents have filled recent City Council meetings complaining about the influx of affordable housing buildings in Mount Vernon, while the developers are given Tax Pilots putting an additional strain on homeowners who will have to make up the difference. Stay Tuned to BW for more on this developing story!
The Mount Vernon Board of Education President Lesly Zamor, Mount Vernon City School District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton, Mount Vernon City School District attorney Gus Mountanos, members of the Board of Education will hold a press conference to break down their legal action against the city of Mount Vernon at the Mount Vernon Education Center, 165 North Columbus Avenue, Thursday morning, October 20th at 10:00 A.M.