“This budget prepares us for our future,” Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said late in the afternoon of April 14 as he delivered his 2022-2023 Executive Budget Proposal to the Yonkers City Council. The council is required to adopt a final budget by June 1.
Spano met with council members at Yonkers City Hall and was accompanied by Budget Director John Jacobson and Commissioner of Finance John Liszewski along with other administration officials.
“The fiscal 2022-2023 budget I present to you today is once again a lean, honest budget,” Spano said. “Overall our budget is $1.36 billion and I’m happy to report that this budget reaffirms our commitment to education with increased aid. There are no cuts to our workforce or services.”
The budget proposes a 2.93% increase in the tax levy but stays within the state mandated tax cap, thus entitling Yonkers property owners to state rebates allocated to residents of municipalities that honor the tax cap. Spano said there will be about a $100 million surplus but the city is facing labor contract settlements and rising costs due to inflation.
“If we’re not mindful about the money we spend, replacing the money as we move forward, we could end up in the same situation we were in back in 2011,” Spano said, referencing a time when the city was facing a massive deficit. “We are investing in our workforce and city services. We are hiring 10 new police officers … and we are investing in our employees by earmarking $250,000 for continuing education so that if anyone improves themselves through education and they work for the city they can get some of that money reimbursed.”
The budget includes $680.7 million for the Board of Education, about half of the entire city budget. The municipal operating budget is $687 million, including $43.7 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
Spano said that $86 million is budgeted for capital improvements including $30 million for the public schools and $750,000 for a proposed police and fire training facility. He said that the capital budget that’s passed probably will be a lot leaner than it has been in prior years because the economy has changed and interest rates are going up.The budget permanently funds Juneteenth as a city holiday.
Spano underscored that businesses are being attracted to Yonkers, and highlighted the movie studio that has already opened and the new sound stages under construction with even more being planned. He pointed out that Yonkers has grown to become the third largest city in New York state.
”We weathered the storm and the economic effects of Covid-19,” Spano said. “We’ve increased revenues, we’ve merged departments and we’ve made financial decisions that have allowed us to say on the road toward fiscal stability.”