MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - After much debate and community discussion, the Mount Vernon Board of Estimate and Contracts has adopted an amended $107 million that will see a slight raise in property taxes for homeowners.
Last week, the Board of Estimates approved a $106,992,370 spending plan - down from Mayor Richard Thomas’ initial proposed $114 million budget - a spending increase of approximately 3 percent over last year.
The proposed budget represents a 1.58 percent property tax increase, and the average homeowner will see a bump of less than $62 annually in taxes.
Thomas said that he is not fully on board with the current budget as it is laid out, but voted to adopt it in an effort to allow it to “move forward so it can be improved to address the priorities the people envisioned when they elected (him).”
“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 increase those taxes even more, while decreasing services,” he added. “I permitted this budget to move forward because I believe it is time for the people of Mount Vernon to have their say.”
Moving forward, there will be a meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, where the public can offer input not he budget, which must be adopted by the City Council as of Dec. 31. As currently constituted, the proposed budget includes slight cuts to service and the dissolution of the police commissioner’s position.
“I believe we need to restore public safety positions, fund a police commissioner, fix our streetlights, pave our roads, and most importantly, fix our beautiful Memorial Field,” Thomas said.
“It’s time to invest in the future and not settle for a budget of the past. I have spent the past five weeks advocating for what I know to be a wise fiscal plan for our city and I have not wavered. I encourage all Mount Vernon to come out to the public hearing and demand their government offers them the services they deserve.”