Yonkers – The 42nd Mayor of the City of Yonkers, Mike Spano gave his 2017 State of The City Address, before a packed house of local, state leaders, City Court Judges, Board of Education Trustees, Superintendent of Schools and the public, Wednesday night at the Yonkers Riverfront Library where he focused on bringing people together.
“The national discussion seems to be about division, our leaders seemed to me more interested in pointing fingers, than extending a helping hand,” Mayor Spano shares with the audience. “Here in Yonkers, we do better than that. Yes, we can be scrappy and passionate about our politics, but we don’t lose our respect for our one another. We have more ethnic and political diversity than most, but we don’t let it get in the way or our common goals. We speak many languages in this city but the one languages we all have in common is respect…”
“I can say today we have arrived,” Spano said during his State of the City address Wednesday night at City Hall. “After five years of plans to solve our problems, we can now say those solutions are working. After five years of steering past the storms, today we are on a favorable course with the wind at our back.”
The positive signs Spano cited included one of the lowest crime rates for a city its size, a high-school graduation rate above the state average and 4,000 housing units in various stages of development — about a 5 percent increase in the city.
His biggest proposal is his intention to ask nonprofit organizations that own properties worth more than $1 million to voluntarily make payments in lieu of taxes, known as PILOTs. Big nonprofit property owners in Yonkers include Sarah Lawrence College, St. Joseph’s Seminary and St. John’s Riverside Hospital.
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.