Tempers Flare As Mount Vernon Budget Remains Behind Schedule

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Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis and Councilwoman Debra Reynolds came to a head at the budget hearing.
Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis and Councilwoman Debra Reynolds came to a head at the budget hearing.

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Although Mount Vernon officials are overwhelmingly behind in their budget process, city officials couldn’t come together during Friday’s Board of Estimate and Contracts meeting, which saw councilwoman Debra Reynolds ejected from the building.

It was a circus-like atmosphere at City Hall, with in-fighting between elected officials, a constant, anxious, murmur from those in attendance and frustrated residents airing out their grievances to the board over the proposed budget, which represents a 7.78 percent property tax hike.

Tempers came to a head toward the end of the meeting, when Reynolds was escorted by police after speaking out of turn over children’s safety at the YMCA.

While Mount Vernon Corporation Counsel Nichelle Johnson was speaking in favor of the YMCA, Reynolds burst out several times, despite warning from Mayor Ernest Davis to let the speaker finish, warning her that “this isn’t the city council, I will have you escorted out.”

“There are pedophiles around the corner from that building. If there are pedophiles near that building, it will not be,” she proclaimed over both Davis and Johnson’s protestation. She was subsequently escorted from the room by two police officers to a rousing round of applause while shouting, “You should be escorted from here for raising our taxes!”

Following Reynolds’ outburst, the meeting descended into chaos, with several residents shouting vitriol at the board and each other over the budget and Davis’ treatment of Reynolds.

The meeting was formally adjourned when an employee of the school district lambasted Davis and his regime, calling it corrupt. A separate resident promptly took to the microphone in defense of Davis, and the two had a heated argument that needed to be broken up by police.

“This meeting was called to bring light and there are some people in this community who are designed not to hear anything positive, but to be disruptive,” Davis said when the acrimony was quelled. “I will not run a meeting with them in it. They will be removed any time I have a session that is disrupted to people who honestly want information.”

Last week, Davis presented a $96,090,198 budget for 2014, citing the ever-increasing cost of unfunded mandates as the reasoning behind the delays and property tax increase.

According to the timeline determined by Mount Vernon’s own officials, a budget is supposed to be proposed to the Board of Estimates and Contracts by the middle of September, and it is to be adopted no later than Dec. 5. This year, Mayor Ernest Davis’ proposed $96 million budget was presented on Jan. 10.

“You heard a lot about tax caps and all of that. The reason we cannot have the tax cap the way the governor said is because of state mandates,” Davis said. “All of the [combined mandates] causes us to scramble and try to bring some creativity to the budget.”

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Comments (28)

Yes, DV, when have we ever seen you at a City Council meeting? MV taxpayers, attend the public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 22 and sign the online petition calling for adherence to the tax cap at:


Maybe the DV will have one of their reporters attend the next public hearing on Wednesday, January 22, at 7:00PM in the Mount Vernon City Council chambers, and report what actually happens.

b4 or after thy knock us off th 1st page?

lets try again n maybe this time dv u dont delete my comment.

dennis mcdermot, seen u call reynolds 'unbalanced' here. thats real 'conducive'.

when r we talking memorial field again n .'destructive, inflammatory and unproductive' reg track? cause track meets n all that wont help taxpayers.

well not if davis s sttin in the ticket booth takin his cut.

Good catch, Mount Earnin. McDermott also said she should be removed from office. Apparently disagreeing with the mayor is now an impeachable offense.

thank u.

basic math get u thrown out 2.

Perhaps the mayor should set the example by trimming his staff of the fat cat leaches who feed off our tax dollars. Get rid of those no show jobs that require assistants to the assistants to the assistants.

If you want us to believe, then show us that you want to relieve!

"The City That Believes", in reality, isn't it "THE CITY THAT GRIEVES?"

gotta say dv when u do it right u do it right. u actually wrote on reynolds being taken out something no else did. cept the kiss up at the inquirer.

reynolds is the only 1 standin up for the people.

thomas a narcissist like davis. something wrong with that guy. twistin himself so many ways to play to who he needs to he's gonna hurt himself lol

walker as big a crook as davis, people get that yet?! no computers in her office. wonder why huh? no record!!

mt v never gonna recover from this. not for years. no 1 stoppin it. cuomo n thomas are buds, he stoppin it? nope. gotta be prez. more imp.

n now mt v dems want $ 4 stevenson, the guy takin bribes in the bronx.

messed up

Ten letter words for naive person include forthright, unseasoned and unschooled.

I'm a relative newcomer to Mount Vernon - I moved here in 1999. I've tried to be a good citizen. I have conversations with my neighbors. I have conversations with elected officials, with commissioners, with the Mayor, with school board members and with school officials. What I've learned from my conversations is that the great majority of us want the same things: a safe, reasonably affordable city with good schools. In my opinion, the only way to achieve that is if people work together toward positive outcomes. The comments to this story are not conducive to positive outcomes. They are destructive, inflammatory and unproductive. It's really very sad.

Dennis whats sad is the state of affairs in Mt Vernon City Hall. I have lived in MV for over 40 years and watched this city decay the most in the past 5 years. Ernie Davis is a pathetic feeble minded pot smoking old man who's only interest is his own and his constituent crooks. Did you know that he actually lives in Yonkers..just follow him home..he does not pay MV taxes nor does he care about raping the residents of every hard working dollar they earn honestly..he made unfilfilled promises of bringing development and revenue to this City and has not one check mark next to that. He should be removed from office and criminally charged; that will be the only way this city, which has great potential, will have any positive outcomes. People have tried to work together but they are stalemated at the stairs of City Hall.

In your job, Mr. McDermott, you have every reason to go along and get along with city officials. They excel at hoodwinking newcomers, bringing them into the fold, so that no opposition to their cozy arrangements will emerge. It is very difficult to get accurate information about what's happening in the city. The "club" has been successful in large part because they operate under the radar. They all proclaim that they want the best for our community. Their actions and the outcomes say otherwise. Take another look and join those of us who want to save the city before it's too late. We have very few forums for public discourse and frustration leads to the hyperbole you read in these comment sections. You will also read here information that no news outlet will report because the mayor plays the race card at the first hint of criticism.

@dennis.mcdermott.9 - The comments to this story are NOT "destructive, inflammatory and unproductive." All the comments are honest and forthright. The MV city administration is rife with corruption, starting in the Mayor's office, and spreads right through to the Board of Education, which oversees one of the worst school districts in the state. This city needs major changes NOW, with all these corrupt admin people being tossed out or, better yet, cuffed and dragged out.

If the city council president, Pro- tempore, sits in, we all know how this will turnout, they might as well not waste our time; WE ARE DOOMED to mediocracy and very large tax bills. It would be very convenient to have all are tax bills mailed IN CARE OF the Mayor.
Some times it may be convenient to use another address for tax obligation documents. HMMM.... does this sound familiar?

remember this story published by this site?
What are the findings of the ethics committee regarding the city council president? Or are they awaiting results from the FBI?

What we can do now is to urge the City Council to stay within the 1.66% tax cap. Sign the online petition at:


The members of the Board of Ethics are all beholden to the mayor. They will do nothing; they're just window dressing. An inspector general could make a difference, but that position is not, and will not be, filled under the current mayor, although there is a salary for this person in the budget.

The people of Mount Vernon deserve this. They elected Davis four times and will do it again when he runs for his fifth term. Too many people have nothing to worry about, financially, because they are on the receiving end and pay nothing. Some day it will come to an end, but not before the city is in total ruins. And Davis continues to be "on the take" from his core group of "supporters".

To: Edwards,

I believe all of us, taxpayers, can tolerate a further delay, JUST GET IT RIGHT!

A special meeting of the Board of Estimate and Contract will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mayor’s Conference Room, First Floor, City Hall, to adopt the annual estimate (budget and associated tax increase) for Fiscal Year 2014 and other business as may be presented at said meeting.

The public may attend, but may not speak, at this meeting.

Or I should say, the public may speak, but only if they agree with the mayor. LOL

Doesn't this just mean the Board of Estimate will adopt the proposed budget, but then it gets sent to the City Council to be worked on to (maybe) reduce some of it?

It does go to the council next. We can hope that Reynolds will be able to work her magic again this year and get a reduction in the tax increase. Thomas is trying to make himself scarce in this fight, voting first for the tax cap override, then abstaining, then being absent for the vote after the Governor proposed an income tax credit if we stay within the cap. It is rumored that Thomas wants to go to Albany as our next state senator, so he can't offend the Governor as Apuzzo did when she called his tax relief plan "political" at the January 8 council meeting. If Griffith can be persuaded to do the right thing, we can have the cap and the tax credit.

I think the passing of the budget is a forgone conclusion; as Edwards (in my opinion) is the Mayor's boy. The vote will be 2-1 for the budget, as I believe Edwards does not have the GONADS to oppose the KING!

You are absolutely right. Edwards NEVER opposes the mayor. He'll make the occasional bleat but ALWAYS votes in favor of whatever the mayor wants. Apuzzo, as new City Council President, replaces Edwards on the Board of Estimate, so the vote will still be 2-1 for the mayor's budget. Both Edwards and Apuzzo have voted three times in the past two months to override the state tax cap so the mayor can have his 7.78% tax increase.

Many people walked out of the hearing in protest against the removal of Councilwoman Reynolds. She is the only City Council member who voted to stay within the tax cap.

The Comptroller, for the second year, voted against the budget, stating that it has, among other things, math errors. Much has been said about the corruption of this administration. It also suffers from basic incompetence.

"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."

What can honest citizens expect from a leader who cannot manage his personal affairs?

It appears that the state of this city is very reflective of his personal traits.

What choice do we really have when we are ruled by Democrats who oil the machine?

Render Caesar his dues and pray for the army of righteous retribution for those who rob and have robbed the decent law abiding residents of this city.

What really are the highest priorities, pot holes or, tennis courts?

Mayor Davis' narcissism was in high gear at the Friday hearing. He also showed his sociopathic nature (something inherent in most career politicians with too much power). He threatened some citizens/property owners who spoke against the unjustifiable pending increase in taxes, while allowing his "buddies" (city employees in high-salary positions) in favor of the increase, to speak freely.
The honest property owners pay their taxes, while the dishonest people don't pay anything. This has to stop, otherwise a state authorized investigation will have to be made into what's really happening with the taxpayers' dollars.
Mount Vernon is well on its way to becoming another Detroit, on a smaller scale, but definitely on its way in that direction.