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Mount Vernon Councilmen Propose Further Budget Cuts

Mount Vernon Councilmen Richard Thomas, pictured, and J. Yuhanna Edwards say that cuts by Mayor Ernie Davis to the proposed budget are a good start, but they would like to cut more.
Mount Vernon Councilmen Richard Thomas, pictured, and J. Yuhanna Edwards say that cuts by Mayor Ernie Davis to the proposed budget are a good start, but they would like to cut more. Photo Credit: Greg Maker

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — Councilman Richard Thomas says cuts made to the 2013 proposed budget by Mayor Ernie Davis are a good start, but he and fellow Councilman J. Yuhanna Edwards suggest further reductions.

Thomas said that Davis reduced the tax hike to 6.5 percent at a meeting Thursday, adding that cuts include reduced garbage dumping and rejecting unfilled positions in the fire department. Thomas said he would like to see dumping cut further for more savings.

“It’s a start, but we need to cut more,” Thomas said. “Councilman Edwards and I are proposing to cut dumping by 75 percent and force the city to rethink how we can dispose of our waste and add to our recycling. We are getting rid of a lot of stuff that we can reuse.”

Other cuts proposed by the two councilmen include selling 30 city-owned taxis at $30,000 apiece and upping the price of taxi medallions from $500 per year to $2,000 per year. Thomas said it would give the taxi industry incentive to sell the medallions.

“Our cabs are old and faded and would never be on the street in New York City,” Thomas said.

Thomas and Edwards are also proposing to transition the responsibility of the Mount Vernon Public Library to the city School District, which, Thomas said, would save more than $2 million in municipal taxes.

“It would result in a school tax increase if the School District doesn’t figure out how to absorb it in a sustainable way,” Thomas said. “The library needs to operate like a real business. We are currently paying them to be closed on nights and weekends, which doesn’t serve anybody.”

Mayor Davis’s original proposed budget included a 9.8 percent tax increase. A public hearing will be held on revisions to the budget on Dec. 21 in the City Council chambers at City Hall.

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