Mount Vernon Approves $96 Million Budget, 7.78 Percent Tax Rate Increase

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Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis' budget was approved by the City Council.
Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis' budget was approved by the City Council. Photo Credit: File

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Despite the misgivings of some residents and elected officials, the Mount Vernon City Council has adopted the proposed $96 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

The City Council voted 3-2 in favor of the budget at a special meeting, Thursday night, Jan. 30. The budget represents a 7.78 percent property-tax rate increase for residents. This year’s tax rate increase is substantially larger than the 6.15 percent increase that was agreed upon the last two years – much to the consternation of the public.

The budget has been a hot-button issue in the city, with residents and public officials lambasting Mayor Ernest Davis’ budget for its tax increases. Tempers came to a boil two weeks ago when Councilwoman Debra Reynolds was ordered ejected by Davis from a meeting  after speaking out of turn.

“It’s baffling to me that our taxes keep going up, but it feels like our quality of life is decreasing on a yearly basis,” resident Paul Haynes said. “Where does all the money go that we’re feeding the city each year?”

Davis, like many of his counterparts throughout Westchester County, continues to be handcuffed by escalating unfunded mandates. This year alone, city employee benefits account for $29.1 million, a 5.4 percent increase from last year ($27.6 million).

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 its 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).

“I don’t understand how they passed the budget as it’s currently constituted,” Grand Street resident Bob Arnold lamented. “Our taxes keep going up, and yet the value of our property continues to plummet. Until we get some new leadership at the top, I don’t see any end in sight.”

Davis could not be reached for comment on Friday, Jan. 31. The specifics of the now-approved budget can be found here.

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Comments (7)

At the end of the day nobody can complain. Thiese are the people that was reelected. Who was surprised that this wouldn't happen then their a fool. The people in MV had choices but they put them all back in. And those that didn't vote shame on you too. The city is heading down the same path as Detriot. The police department is antiquated and mismanaged. The fires department is short on manpower and you haven't seen a city plow or salt truck all winter. You get what you vote for. When I walk to streets of MV, I have yet to meet a person that will admit the reelected them but some how they got in LOL amazing

In my opinion, the voters have no choice. This city is, governed by one party, ruled by the Democratic Party MACHINE. Until a candidate, not selected by the machine, with power comes along, we taxpayers have no choice but to pray for a state takeover, which is also ruled by the Democrats.
Yes D.K.J. do you know people powerful enough to defeat the MACHINE?
The fix is always in. Is this "amazing" (LOL)? Your statement reeks of, in my opinion, naivety.

I believe you tried; how did that work out for you?

sed b4 the election griffith not a good guy. fooled people. guess he made a deal to get back on the council.

enuf with the library. $ supposed to come from schools i think?

IN THE CITY THAT "BELIEVES," THE FIX IS ALWAYS IN!

Mayor Davis and his four minions on the City Council (Apuzzo, Edwards, Griffith, and Thomas) continue to financially rape the taxpayers. There is no justification for overriding the state-mandated tax cap of 1.66%. The only City Council person who voted for it staying within the cap was Deborah Reynolds, who is the only one consistently working for the people and not against, as do the others.
Davis always gives the excuse of unfunded state mandates for the financial problems in Mount Vernon. I suppose it has nothing to do with the Mayor and his appointed Commissioners being incapable of efficient financial management?
Sadly, most of the people in Mount Vernon have become resigned to the fact that the Mayor and his minions will do whatever they want, regardless of what the people want. That's their reason for not bothering to attend the City Council meetings and any public hearings on financial issues.
Mount Vernon continues its slide down the hill, into the pool of bankruptcy awaiting.

IN MY OPINION:

IT’S VERY HARD TO “BELIEVE”, WHEN WE ARE TAXED SO HIGH, SO FREQUENTLY; WITHOUT R.O.I. (services)

A shout of praise must go to Council members, REYNOLDS AND THOMAS, who are doing their job in attempting to protect us from the wrath of over taxation.

It appears we, the taxpaying public, are now a welfare agent for this administration’s ineffective leadership and inept performance. (Political paybacks and no show jobs) The mayor wants the control of the school taxes? Sounds like gang warfare by Reverse Robin Hoodlums as we feed the VORACIOUS gluttony of the VERNON BEAST. In my opinion, it’s time to reduce this government and lift the welfare burden off our tax paying backs.
HMMM….
Get employed by the city, pay no taxes, as the taxes paid by others satisfy, in part or whole, any obligations that a resident government employee has or may have. REAP THE WILD WIND!

“Employee benefits account for $29.1 million, a 5.4 percent increase from last year ($27.6 million).”

“Davis, continues to be handcuffed by escalating unfunded mandates” or should it read DAVIS AND HIS CITY COUNCIL FLUNKIES NEED TO BE HANDCUFFED?

“HAIL CAESAR”

"Tempers came to a boil two weeks ago when Councilwoman Debra Reynolds was ordered ejected by Davis from a meeting after speaking out of turn. "

“20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's.”

The "Hail Caesar" of antiquity (although at the time of the Horatti a Caesar had
yet to be born) was transformed into the "Heil Hitler" of the modern period.

The vote was 3-2 in favor of this budget. If we had elected a different replacement for Karen Watts, the outcome would have been different. Newly elected Councilman Marcus Griffith made no comment for the record on his reasons for voting in favor of this budget. This silence is all the more egregious since he is the new chair of the finance and planning committee and touted himself during the campaign as a financial expert.

There are serious questions about how the tax cap override vote was taken and talk about asking for outside review of its legality.