Peekskill Holds First Public Hearing on Budget

A second public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 26.

It's been three weeks since Peekskill acting City Manager Brian Havranek's $35.6 million budget proposal was made available to the public.

Although the details have been looked at and scrutinized from a number of different angles, questions remained and the anxiety levels were as high as ever during Monday's public hearing on the budget.

“Will you guys please tell me how you will report to your family adn tell them you guys got laid off from your jobs, you can’t pay bills?” Jared Williams, a worker for the city’s Department of Public Works, asked Wednesday night. “Because that’s what everyone in this room is going to have to do.”

Havranek's proposal would cut 31 full-time employees, or 14 percent of the workforce, for a savings of about $2.9 million. Of those 31 positions, seven are currently vacant.

The city tax rate will increase by 6 percent, or about $12.16 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Havranek said plunging property values along with increased health care and mandated state pension costs are too blame for the city’s budget crisis. The city’s fund balance, which was $12 million in 2008, is projected to be a little more than $6 million in 2013.

That next public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 26, according to Foster. The Common Council has until Dec. 1 to approve the budget.

Diane Blank, who works in the City of Peekskill’s assessor’s office, said her job would be cut under the budget proposal. That would leave the office with only one part-time assessor to deal with the public.

“A lot of people think city employees make too much money,” Bank said. “Does anyone know what it’s like to ride on the back of garbage truck when its 99 degrees or when it’s sub-zero? I understand technology is being considered to replace me. Press one for assessment, press two for finance. How will that help the seniors. Some of them depend on me to mark an X on the line where they have to sign.”

Banks also questioned why the city never made gradual tax increases during the past six years to try and eliminate the need for drastic cuts.

James McNair, a Peekskill resident and city worker, said he still had issues with proposed cuts to two recreation department workers at the Kiley Youth Center  He warned that there will be a huge outcry from the community of those job cuts remain the budget.

“Before there’s fire, there’s smoke...If you want something in life you’ve got fight for it,” McNair said. “You’ve got to fight like the people who fought and died in this country to get what they want.You’ve got stand up.”

Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster said the none of the cuts are set in stone and that the common council is still reviewing the budget.

"The council has no plans to close the Kiley Center,” Mayor Foster said. “We will be scheduling a second public hearing on the budget once the council has gone through all our meeting with the department heads and have made recommended adjustments to the budget.”

John Finnigan October 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM
A second public hearing scheduled for November 26 ? Doesn't a budget have to be aproved by and in place by Decenber 1st ? Aren't they cutting it a little close there ? Updates and progress should be weekly and not at the last minuet.
Wendy Kelly October 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Has been almost 2 weeks since approval of Meth Clinic by Planning Commission.Nothing from Mary et al. about taking the Planning Commission to court with the Land Use Attys. Public deserves to be in the know.
Collegenurse October 23, 2012 at 01:19 PM
They need to balance the budget period. If it means cuts it means cuts, if it means tax increases it means tax increases...I am sure in some way shape or form we will all be affected...its just the way it is right now and if they do not act peeksill will be in ruins.
sayitsnotsojack October 23, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Peekskill is in ruins and it will take years of harsh reality checks to balance the budget, stop the wasteful spending and reduce the size of government to fix it. This sounds like the federal government also. The unions must face the facts that their members have to pay more for their health plans, and they are very much part of the reason the city is broke. It is not just the poor and it is poor management of city elected officials. Remember folks these people are elected so if you have trouble with how they act, become involved and vote, run for office.
real talk October 23, 2012 at 04:01 PM
point blank. stop hating on the city employees. every time something is brought up its about the workers. why don't y'all go out and work in the elements.
Rexford Tugwell, III October 23, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I think Brian did an excellent job in responding to all the attacks. He kept his composure and successfully repelled the threats made by the hysterical rabblerousers, crybabies and extortionists. While they were foaming at the mouth, he kept his cool. He should be made full-time City Manager. If I had to go into battle, I would want to follow a guy like Brian (and not just because of his girth). He's the George Washington of our time. Well done, sir.
joshua tanner October 23, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Havranek should be kept. Hes the first person I ever saw budget out his own job. Those are the people you need to keep. I'm sorry about the others but the unions would push for as much as they can get realitsic or not . If pols promised them 500k a year they would take it and then cry "not on our backs" when reality hit latter and numbers had to come back to earth.
real talk October 23, 2012 at 07:22 PM
it's easy to budget out your money when it is already contracted. the city has let go DPW bosses but kept all the water dept bosses. Why? there is 3 supervisors and a Forman. you need a Forman but do you need 3 supervisors. you only really need a chief filter plant operator and the water superintendent what is an assistant superintendent for?
Homegrown October 24, 2012 at 01:33 AM
"As you have given me your trust and respect, I can do no less than to trust and respect all of you". Who are you kidding Mary? You don't respect anyone - all you do is lie and bully. Klaxton, Bennett, McGowan,Torres, Rigger and Talbot - why are you afraid of her? what does she have on you? you should all be ashamed - letting her run the show and telling you what to do and say. McGowan - as you sat in your chair last night - did you know what was going on? One minute you tell the employees that the budget is not final - next thing we know - "some of those who spoke, there positions are already being eliminated, so they have the option of taking retirement and getting an incentive to do that". Has it already been decided? What is the truth and what is a lie? The employees deserve to know. As a lifelong resident I cannot believe the bs that goes on day after day. She needs to be stopped and the truth needs to be told. Come clean Council. If you so concerned McGowan why don't all of you give up your pay and save a job?
real talk October 24, 2012 at 01:28 PM
It is sad because these tax payers don't need an increase and people don't need to lose there job. how about for every dollar this administration has unjustly spent they donate 2 dollars to the cause of saving this city
john basic October 24, 2012 at 04:24 PM
One way or the other the budget has to be balanced. Cut expenses and or raise taxes. Either way people will be hurt. Taxes are raised, rents go up so its not just the homeowers that will pay the increase. The buy out is a good opetion as it at least gives some employees close to retirement a change to go out with dignity and a little extra cash.
john basic October 24, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Also, companies have been cutting jobs for years. The city is no different and probably has been over staffed in some areas. Not a nice thing to say but it is reality.
real talk October 24, 2012 at 05:14 PM
it's funny how all your comments goes thru but mines are not being approved. we are all adults here. the truth is the truth like I said why is Brian taking the fall for everything as the city manager. the water superintendent is now also doing the director of public works job. why isn't he backing Brian up. As a water superintendent and Director of Public works you are suppose to work side by side with the city manager but since the city have these problems he is nowhere to be found. why don't he start answering some questions. lets see how much he knows.
leesther brown October 24, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Are you saying that Kuhns is acting DPW boss for real?....
real talk October 24, 2012 at 06:35 PM
yes ma'am he's had that position since Howie Wessel left. these are the things the citizens don't know. Start talking to the employees like I have and you will learn a lot. Like they want the employees to pay for health care and at the meeting one lady said she pays 1600 a month for her benefits. that's her problem so because we all pay the city employees should pay too. BS. Do the citizens even realized these employees been working without a contract for about 2 years. if not more. So they had no raises but yet still come to work. they make less then the cops and fire and don't have a 20 and out plan but people are quick to wanna take more money from them. I think people are upset because they took the dirty jobs while we took our Wall Street jobs and it has paid off for them We need to stop trying to pinch their pockets and hold this administration accountable for what they have done. just remember. it is always easier to spend the money when it ain't yours.
ED HICKEY October 24, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Bottom line...Cuts have to happen and Brian submitted a fiscally responsible budget to work with. Should be more meetings and the police force should be off limits in considering cuts; in times like these, an effective force is necessary. If our acting City Manager has to be the scapegoat, then so be it and kudos to you sir. Someone has/had to take this "running with the bulls" by the horns. Difficult times are ahead and I, in no way, lighten or try to downplay the hardship that many fear and may have to experience. We already are feeling it and have been ... some more than others. There are only two options: throw the towel or tighten belts and battle through it.
Garbage Man October 24, 2012 at 10:26 PM
they work us like dogs
Garbage Man October 24, 2012 at 10:38 PM
They just hired a kid in june (2012) only to become a Victim of the(The City) lay offs > And save 1 full timers job > they should left him summer help
Garbage Man October 24, 2012 at 10:40 PM
THANKS REAL TALK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
real talk October 25, 2012 at 12:18 AM
this is about more then one persons position. all due respect he was hire 4 months ago. you have people wit 20 plus years being laid off. We as tax payers and the employees have to find ways to make this work and get through it. what I did notice in Brian's budget showing was general funds. we need to know a little bit more where these funds come from and what they consist of because if you ask me it's hard to put a predetermined number on general funds because these funds came come from anywhere. the question is though where are these funds going. Right now there is private contractors doing drainage work on Harrison ave etc. we already pay for the employees to do this work. if we don't have money for ourselves how do we have money for outsiders. this is real money real problems and most certainly real talk
bruiser October 25, 2012 at 01:10 AM
The unions must face the facts that their members have to pay more for their health plans, and they are very much part of the reason the city is broke. Plain and simple sayitsnotsojack,bologna.
ED HICKEY October 25, 2012 at 02:03 AM
This is certainly a real problem and understandably there is going to be real emotion throughout. The budget, in it's entirety, needs to be scrutinized and all aspects understood by the people. Realtalk raises legitimate questions that absolutely need to be addressed. In NYC, back in 2006, all major projects that had already been approved were halted ie: Javits Center expansion. Even the entire block north of the center had been cleared of remaining buildings, but when real money issues were evident, this project halted. The same should apply in Peekskill. There truly is no room for emotions that prevent people from objectively facing and working together on arguably the greatest financial crisis in the city's history, compounded by the drop in real estate, and the illegal immigration issue that continues to grow exponentially. Forget politics as usual ... that is and was what put Peekskill in the position it is in.
real talk October 25, 2012 at 12:21 PM
you are absolutely right. the illegal immigrants creates a big problem not only for Peekskill but for our country in a whole. how do we expect our economy to grow when the illegal immigrants come here make our money and then don't spend it in our economy but sends it back to there country so it could be spent there. also we spend money for their medical and food. we also spend money on there education and we wonder why our kids lack the knowledge they should have because the classes are to big. it's one thing to be legal and getting all these services but they are illegal. I don't know why but it seems like they get special treatment in Peekskill too. they are allowed to congregate in groups and stand around by the post office and McDonald but let a group of white or black people stand around like that it becomes a problem. we get hit with loitering trespassing and whatever else they can throw at us.
ED HICKEY October 25, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Again, I agree with you wholeheartedly. The problem of undocumented workers is exactly as you describe and it has been happening this way for long enough to undermine our economy. Could the reason that voter turnout never appears to reflect the population of Peekskill be because the city's population isn't legal to vote? Yes. And the problem is one that needs to be addressed nationally. Once again, many of us are to blame by utilizing cheap labor for our own greed creating a market that was communicated back "home" for the pioneer illegals. If we expect things to change in a positive direction, we ALL have to look in the mirror and make that change (got that from Michael Jackson yes) ... I have been deemed a hopeless idealist at times in my life, but I'm not changing.I love Peekskill. Born and raised with deep roots I cherish. This was a community of true neighbors ... and I know there are still many out there. Keep it real and stay levelheaded and together, minus the "politics as usual", it is possible to endure.
Garbage Man November 01, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Now thats REAL TALK
voice of reason November 03, 2012 at 01:57 PM
hey real talk, you seem to know alot about what's going on "inside". just sayin
leesther brown November 03, 2012 at 02:38 PM
@voice of reason...after while folks get tired of being crapped on.....The first man continuously harasses the staff,it's been reported that staff has worked up at the "Big House"......Staff has even showed the "Master" where to place utilities for that illegal apartment over the garage for young "Master" this administration has created an air of corruption and deception...workers are literally Physically and Emotionally sick under this tyrant...
real talk November 03, 2012 at 02:57 PM
maybe i do maybe i dont know the "inside" voice of reason. Is there something im saying bothering or hindering you? My voice of reason tells me that you are probably upset because you are either part of the problem or you support everything thats going on. No matter what i will continue on with the real talk and you can continue on hating the truth but the one thing that will never change is the problem within this administration. So you are either with the citizens and employees or against us because you seem to be offended by what has been said. Just saying
voice of reason November 03, 2012 at 05:15 PM
you sure read alot into my simple statement, jumping to conclusions again? I'm not offended and don't get me wrong . . I love the truth, it's the half truths that I have a problem with. so many comment here and think they have the whole story, but they don't. there's no easy answer to the problems that are going on and not just in Peekskill, not just in NY, it's all over the place.
john basic November 03, 2012 at 08:40 PM
i agree that the problems going on dont have an esay answer and are going on throghout the country. I think a lot of thngs could be addressed if the politicians took a year off from attacking each other and just worked to gether for the good of the country, state and cities but I guess I am in fantasy land to think they would do that


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something