Mount Vernon Mayor's Proposed Budget Would Boost Tax Rate 7.78 percent

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The proposed 2014 Mount Vernon budget represents a 7.78 increase in the tax rate.
The proposed 2014 Mount Vernon budget represents a 7.78 increase in the tax rate. Photo Credit: File

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis has presented a $96,090,198 budget for 2014, representing a 7.78 percent property-tax rate increase for residents.

Last year, there was much consternation and bickering among both city officials and residents, as the budget came down to a last minute deal on New Year’s Eve. This year’s discussion could potentially lead down a similar path, as the 7.78 percent tax-rate increase is notably larger than the 6.15 percent increase that has been agreed upon the last two years.

The public will have a chance to air their grievances to City Council members this week, at a 2014 city budget hearing at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10, in the City Council Chamber.

Once again, the budget has been affected by escalating unfunded mandates – a factor that has troubled communities throughout Westchester County. This year, city employee benefits account for $29.1 million of the budget, an increase from $27.6 million (5.4 percent).

Under the proposed budget, the police department would receive a small bump in funding for additional overtime and modernization, while the Department of Public Works would receive funds to make repairs to their facility and equipment. The public library stands to be one of the biggest losers under the proposed budget, and would see a $550,000 slash in funding, from $3.35 million to $2.8 million (a 16.4 percent decline in funding).

You can see the proposed budget here. Let us know what your initial thoughts are in the comments section.

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Comments (8)

As a realtor working in lower Westchester, I know how heartbreaking it is for homeowners in Mount Vernon who own wonderful properties in a city where total taxes have gone up 55% since 2000 while the recent
financial crisis wiped away some 30-40% of sales value. House prices, assessments, market values and taxes need to have some logical relationships. With taxes going up, market values reset downward (to stop tax grievances), assessments numbers virtually fixed from when a property was built, it leaves only sales prices to make the adjustments - a perfect formula for eroding confidence in the future - the "tax vortex" which Mount Vernon needs to escape.

The message from the mayor at the budget hearing last night, Jan. 10, is that Mount Vernon has the highest taxes in the state, has drained its reserves, and there is nothing that can be done about it other than to raise our taxes further. This man is a pathetic excuse for a public official.

The video of the hearing can be seen in its entirety at:

The Mayor, and most of the City Officials, are incapable of managing finances. They know very little if anything about financial matters. The Mayor's attitude is, the public is a fully loaded ATM and can be used any time for any reasons.
One thing the Mayor didn't say, after showing that Mount Vernon has the highest property taxes in NY State, is, Mount Vernon has the lowest assessed values in NY State.

The city motto has been changed back to quote THE CITY THAT BELIEVES unquote
When the Young regime was in power it was “A CITY OF PRIDE AND GREATNESS”
I said then:

A government without ethics, "A city of pride and greatness?"
A city of shame and corruption led by a mayor and a bunch of thieves who make Ali Baba and his band look like amateurs.
This WHOLE City government, for lack of a better word, SUCKS!”

The only change I have seen thus far, in my opinion, is the motto.

Last night, Jan. 8, the City Council voted to override the 1.66% tax cap. Voting for the override were Council President Apuzzo, Councilman Edwards, and new Councilman Griffith. Voting to stay within the cap was Councilwoman Reynolds. Councilman Thomas was absent.

This vote took place in a comedy of confusion, as the City Clerk advised the council that a second vote would be required. The council president not only ignored this strong admonition but didn't even bother to address it. Councilman Edwards made comments that displayed his lack of understanding of the protocol. Councilman Griffith, who made the motion, cryptically described it as "strategic".

This override is all the more devastating because Mount Vernon residents will not receive the state income tax credit proposed by the Governor, which will only be available to individuals who live in municipalities that stay within the tax cap.

Only a few people attended this City Council meeting. If we are to prevent the financial disaster the mayor has planned for us, we must generate a massive public outcry and the press must intensely scrutinize, investigate and report on what is happening here.

Please alert your neighbors and friends about the budget hearing on Jan 10. Plan to attend and bring a neighbor with you. We may not be able to stop them, but there is no reason why they should be comfortable while they destroy us.

Activist Bill you hit the nail right on the head...Mt. Vernon is the new Detroit. How Ernie Davis has not been impeached and imprisoned along with his special interest cronies is beyond belief.

Hopefully every tax payer shows up Friday night along with legal and media representatives.

Another property tax increase! What are we paying for? Snow removal is extremely slow, roads need repairs wherever you look, crime rate is high especially in the south side, and people are leaving the district.

How much is the mayor proposing to allocate to Special Needs Education? Why is the Library budget being cut? Doesn't he know about the importance of educating our young people and providing access to these resources? Why do you think crime is so high, especially in the south side, and the vast majority of crimes being committed by our African American youths?

Mayor, you need to focus on education - that is the way out for generations of poverty, low paying jobs, single parent families and other "illnesses". Just look at other thriving districts close by and examine how there budgets are set!

This proposed increase is completely unjustifiable. If it passes, it will add a tremendous burden to the already over-taxed Mount Vernon property owners. This property tax, coupled with the also completely unjustifiable school tax, will continue to push people out of the city. Mount Vernon is well on its way to becoming bankrupt, similar to Detroit, even if on a smaller scale.
NOW is the time for ALL property owners to make their voices heard and attend the budget hearing on Friday evening. I know most people will not attend, mainly because they won't know about this, but I'll get word out to as many people in my neighborhood, as possible.