Yonkers City Council Creates Budget Expected to Meet NYS Comptroller DiNapoli’s Demands By HEZI ARIS
YONKERS, NY -- June 30, 2012 -- The back-up papers presented to media was skimpy, that is, only one page that purported to differentiate the budget that did not win certification by the Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and the one that would go on to win unanimous approval by the City Councilmembership as did the previous one. The first document upon coming to a vote won unanimous approval; it was immediately followed by a second vote known as a “Motion to Reconsider”, under the standards set by Robert’s Rules of Order, could not be revisited additional times. The reason the second vote is designated as a “Motion to Reconsider”, is to permit the person voting an additional moment to reflect on the vote they just cast. This second action demands conscious and conscientious response to votes cast. By submitting to a “Motion to Reconsider”, the Yonkers City Council implies its action is taken with forethought, contemplation, study, due diligence, and responsibility. This was not to be.
Exacting a “Motion to Reconsider” was illegally adopted because the Yonkers City Council should have known that the NYS Comptroller has the right and responsibility to oversee the budget and he is the final arbiter whether the budget wins approval or is denied his necessary certification.
So the City of Yonkers (CoY) initial efforts to put together a FY2012-2013 Budget did not comply with standards long ago pre-set. No matter, CoY was going to get back to the drawing boards. In reality, the first attempt may be considered void abonitio, that is, “void from the beginning.” CoY lucked out on this one. In this writer’s mind, it is questionable one can vote on two “new” budgets in the same year. In reality we didn’t create the first one, which caused the drama, and the one voted upon today, may still reveal more drama, especially if the documentation is not dated correctly. This became evident when the Yonkers City Council voted on the “new” budget, did not use the “Motion to Reconsider”, [perhaps there are some who do listen to the Westchester On the Level radio program after all], so as to permit a “re-vote” due to initially voting on paperwork that did not reflect the revised paperwork.
And yet members of the administration suggest with full sincerity that they believe there is only one page to differentiate the first attempt at securing a budget and this one taken today.
The fund balance of the Yonkers Board of Education (YBoE) that fell below standards demanded by the NYS Comptroller’s Office were returned to the YBoE fund balance. The $6 million loss of its use was creatively resurrected by way of a “one shot”, that is borrowing $6 million and using the $6 million securely in the fund balance as collateral. I suspect we should be thankful “money” can be borrowed at the lowest if interest rates presently. Is the YBoE bonding for the $6 million or is CoY? Without “backup” paperwork no one is certain for sure.
Chief Administrative Officer Joseph Bracchitta send the following letter to Yonkers Deputy Mayor Sue Gerry on June 29, 2012, in which he writes:
“The Board of Education intends to approximate $15,095,574 in fund balance as revenue for the 2012/13 fiscal year. Of the amount, $8,745,574 is unassigned fund balance from the 2010/11 fiscal year and the balance is supported by $6,350,000 in committed fund balance existing from the 2010/11 fiscal year, as certified in the audited financial statements for that period.”
The above statement proves that the YBoE is hiding funds accrued by not spending as much as they anticipate by whatever means they design, saving cuts, less need, over budgeting, etc., and upon the end of year, to not divulge the “float” of funds left unencumbered under any line of any lefger. This conduct, is permitted on the YBoE side of the budget and on the CoY side of the budget.
When push comes to shove, rather than losing any personnel, CoY has gained one. A $90 million budget deficit that had the wrath of former NYS Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, and Richard Ravitch breathing down Yonkers neck with derisive comments, threats, and the imposition of a Control Board is theater unwarranted to be acted upon the City of Yonkers. Shame on them, and their powerful handlers.
The fact that this budget has been given pre-approval implies the powers that be want CoY to know they are NOT in charge, but Albany is. This may be extremely important to remember in our sub-conscious at all times.
So where are we now. We have no paper work to ascertain all said is written as it is said to be, and approval or certification by NYS Comptroller DiNapoli is expected within days.
Not expected is a deliberate and consistent study of how to collect arrears owed CoY for decades by property owners, collecting rent from businesses operating in CoY, collecting water bills from those given a pass, clawing back the sweet deals afforded certain business in parking subsidies, going after illegal apartments and/or dwellings not licensed for subletting, engaging in the study of consolidation of services, and so much more.
Former Mount Vernon Chief of Staff Yolanda Robinson attended this morning budget adoption process. She would not admit she works for the Off of NYS Comptroller DiNapoli. As far as she is concerned, “God is Good!”
Not one person came to address the Yonkers City Council's Committee of the Whole which was called for 8:00 a.m. this morning. Yonkersites are often classified as "cynical" when in reality they are prudent and pragmatic. They knowfull well no one cares to listen long enough to comprehend the issues or the concerns that must be addressed.
Expect this drama to subside and for greater dramatics to be infused into Yonkers politics in 6 month time when we go through this process again.