Yonkers Mayor Spano Reveals Four-Year Financial Projections
City’s Collective Budget Deficit Projected to Increase Up to $428 Million by 2016
YONKERS, NY -- After his recent participation at the Mayors Summit on Municipal Finance where Mayors from around the State compared their fiscal projections, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano today released the City’s projected four-year financial forecast. Assuming the gap between the recurring revenues and expenditures continues to grow, it can be projected that the City’s aggregate budget shortfall could rise to $428 million by 2016. Mayor Spano’s four-year projection is the first one ever supplied by Yonkers since the Mayor issued an executive order mandating one be released each fiscal year.
“For the first time, Yonkers is looking ahead and evaluating our accurate future sources of revenue and expenditures,” said Mayor Spano. “By identifying these figures now, we can best set a course plan on how to right the wrongs of the past in our cities’ finances and make the tough choices that will provide for a better tomorrow.”
Yonkers’ projected budget deficits for the upcoming years are based on actions taken during this year’s budget. The revised figures are as follows:
· 2013-2014 = $86 Million
· 2014-2015 = $155 Million
· 2015-2016 = $187 Million
Mayor Spano added, “What we are seeing and what was realized at the Mayors Summit, is that these budget gaps are not bridgeable in just Yonkers but in other municipalities across the State as well. However, the proverbial buck stops here, in Yonkers, and we must take accountability, stop the gimmicks and make the very difficult choices necessary to move this City forward.”
In calculating these deficits, the City assumes the following: a rise in property taxes limited to the two percent tax cap per year; a three percent increase in revenues from sales and use tax per year; the annual increase in Yonkers Board of Education expenses up to seven percent; and the rise in debt service, retirement and healthcare costs up to 10 percent. These assumptions are subject to continued rethinking and change.
Mayor Spano’s fiscal goal is to overcome these challenges by closing the severe structural gap between recurring expenditures and recurring revenues. Mayor Spano believes cities must commit to the goal of self-help through sound and honest budgeting reform and equalizing recurring expenditures and revenues, supplemented with precision targeting of state and federal aid requests.
“I am committed to building fiscal stability in Yonkers and I believe that identifying our fiscal obstacles now is the next step in embarking on a comprehensive overhaul of its historical budgetary practices,” said Mayor Spano.
Some of those fiscal obstacles include the erosion of the City’s tax base due to the lack of re-evaluation in nearly 60 years, outstanding labor contracts, lack of City oversight on Board of Education spending and capital infrastructure that is in need.
Mayor Spano already has begun addressing Yonkers’ financial crisis by convening a Commission of Inquiry into the City’s Finances earlier this year. The Commission, led by former Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch and New York Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, has been charged with providing the Administration with a clear understanding of the City’s budgetary crisis. The Commission identified an $89 million budget deficit for 2013 that Mayor Spano has since closed. The Mayor will also continue to participate in the coalition of New York cities which was formed this week and which will be developing its action agenda into the fall of 2012.
SOURCE: Christina Gilmartin, Communications Director, Office of the Mayor.