Yonkers City Council passes new budget

The Yonkers City Council adopted a new budget Saturday that will increase property taxes and slash overtime for police officers, firefighters and Department of Public Works employees.

In a series of 5-2 votes, the council approved a slimmed-down $896 million budget that raises property taxes by nearly 5.8 percent, but does not raise the city's income tax.

Mayor Phil Amicone's latest proposal had called for a $903 million budget, increasing the property tax by 6.6 percent and increasing the city's surcharge on the state income tax by 5 percent.

The council's approval of the budget came 20 days late and only 11 days before the beginning of the city's new fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Under the new budget, police officers' overtime will be cut by $2.2 million, firefighters' overtime will be decreased by $800,000 and 11 vacant jobs at the DPW will be eliminated. The budget, however, does not call for layoffs.

"What you've done here is you drastically cut police presence for the public," says Eddie Amour, president of the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association.

The City Council also approved a series of fee, fine and rate increases on parking violations and utilities. In addition, the adopted spending plan calls for the transfer of $1 million to the municipal budget from the city's board of education.

"We need to tighten our belts, and it's going to be painful," says Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick.

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