Budget battle pits Mt. Vernon's new mayor, City Council president against comptroller

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Mount Vernon may have a new mayor, but some of the old drama that plagued the city for the last four years seems to have resurfaced.

Once again, another budget battle is brewing in Mount Vernon, pitting city leaders against each other.

Fireworks erupted at a Board of Estimate meeting Tuesday over the $117 million 2020 budget that still has not been passed yet. The impasse has pitted new Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and City Council President Lisa Copeland against Comptroller Deborah Reynolds.

The mayor claims she has tried to work with Reynolds to finalize the spending plan, but Reynolds refused when she rebuffed the comptroller's wish to give herself a hefty raise.

"Mayor Patterson-Howard has been here for 20 days, and I see 20 days of recklessness so far," says Reynolds.

Reynolds has told a different story, and feels Patterson-Howard went about the budget process the wrong way.

"What she did was illegal by taking it upon herself ... and deciding we're going to push the budget through, whether it's right or wrong," says Reynolds.

Reynolds believes taxpayers could see tax increases as high as 7% this year, regardless of what the mayor has promised.

The 2020 budget is headed to City Council. The public will have a chance to weigh in before it is finalized.

 

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