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Mount Vernon Mayor, City Council, At Odds Over Adopted 2017 Budget

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas and the City Council - led by President Marcus Griffith (top) - are at odds over the 2017 budget.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas and the City Council - led by President Marcus Griffith (top) - are at odds over the 2017 budget. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Despite protestations from Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas, the City Council has passed a budget that was drafted by Council President Marcus Griffith and Comptroller Maureen Walker.

On Wednesday, the Council adopted a $106.7 million spending plan for 2017 with a tax rate increase of just 1.07 percent. The tax rate increase is one of the lowest in the city in decades, and will lead to an average increase of approximately $18 annually for taxpayers for an average home assessed at $10,000.

According to Thomas, the budget ignores infrastructure improvements and doesn’t address the illegal dumping at Memorial Field. He also said that it lacks the funding for a Police Commissioner and reduces the department’s force by more than 20 positions.

Thomas has vociferously opposed the budget, and has vowed to veto it, though it passed by a wide enough margin through the Council that the veto is not likely to be overturned. Griffith could not immediately be reached for comment late on Thursday.

“The Walker/Griffith budget is a holiday lump of coal from the City Council. I have repeatedly urged my colleagues to stop playing elaborate shell games with taxpayer money and to be transparent in their actions,” Thomas said in a scathing statement. “The City Council’s decision to vote on a budget without providing any details for the public is shameful.

“On behalf of the people of Mount Vernon, I will veto the broken budget and send the Council and Comptroller back to rework this failed document. Undermining safety and stopping progress in our city are the wrong options for our future.”

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