EDITOR'S NOTE: The following post was submitted by the Peekskill Common Council and has been sent out by the Peekskill Democratic Committee as well. If you would like to post your news to Patch, click here.
Peekskill, NY -- Mayor Mary Foster and the Peekskill Common Council blast New York State for its failure to get control of the sky-high increases in mandatory pension payments required from Peekskill.
Pointing to the City Manager’s proposed 2013 budget, Mayor Foster explains that Peekskill has been collecting about $50 million in revenues in recent years but payments to Albany in 2013 will be over $4.5 million, having doubled since 2010.
“This situation forces very difficult choices in keeping taxes low and maintaining city services,” Mayor Foster said. “The shame is – Albany’s continued failure to slow down these skyrocketing costs forces higher taxes and reduced services on Peekskill taxpayers. Instead of actually doing something about these skyrocketing costs, Albany operates as if municipalities are ATM machines that endlessly dispense local cash to cover their failure to control costs."
Up until now and despite these debilitating increases, the city protected taxpayers and the local workforce by freezing management salaries, consolidating services, and reducing perks and management benefits. Additionally, the city mitigated the impact of the economic recession on city revenues by: using some reserves; keeping the tax burden on local property owners well below regional averages; and maintaining city services.
Unfortunately, Albany’s 2013-2014 pension mandates – a whopping $4.4 million and $5 million respectively – made it impossible to continue this delicate balance. As a result, the City Manager’s proposed budget calls for a reduction in the city’s full-time workforce of 31 employees.
“Our legislators and Governor need to realize that their failure to act is going to directly result in job losses in the City of Peekskill,” said Deputy Mayor Drew Claxton. “The members of our local work force are a vital part of our community. These workers are our neighbors, our colleagues and our friends, and it infuriates me that some of them will lose their jobs because of Albany’s negligence.”
“Through the ongoing budget review process, our number one goal will be to minimize the impact of these cuts to direct service delivery and focus instead on trimming overhead and administration,” said Councilwoman Marybeth McGowan. “Unfortunately, while we didn’t make this mess, we’re the ones who have to clean it up.”
Over the next 60 days, the Mayor and Council will be meeting with department heads and the City Manager to prepare a final budget for adoption. The City must adopt a final budget by December 1.