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Yonkers Mayor Delivers State of the City Address
Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone has delivered his annual State of the City Address to members of the City Council and other officials. Amicone described a city filled with "Hardship," adding "Many people have lost their jobs and businesses are closing or just getting by." He warned that there are huge budget deficits in store for the State and City governments, caused in part by incredible declines in revenues due to the economy. Amicone says there are two major factors threatening Yonkers' financial solvency, the economic recession and the lack of funding for the City.
The Mayor says he plans to present a detailed budget briefing to the City Council and says the news is "Grim." Amicone says "Every source of revenue for basic city services is down across the board. Sales taxes are down because people are not buying things at the same rate they were two years ago and income taxes are down because people have lost their jobs."
As a result, he says, the city will be forced to cut services and its workforce in such areas as police, fire, public works, and education.
Amicone blasted State lawmakers for approving such "Relatively small issues such as laws for bicycle riders, boating accidents and healthcare for people who race in a triathalon, but not Yonkers' request for a review of State education funding to the City."
The Mayor also called on the City's unions to "Join him with an open mind and a willingness to change for the good of the City." He says "Private sector unions have already made adjustments necessary to get through this recession. Now our public sector unions must follow."
City Council President Chuck Lesnick delivered the Democratic response saying "Mayor Amicone, while running in 2007, promised to streamline government and merge redundant services," adding, "The Mayor has yet to fulfill his promise."
Lesnick says the city and school district should combine purchasing, finance and personnel departments. He also says the City should consolidate functions of the Parking authority and the PVB. He also said the "City needs a clear strategy to help existing merchants and property owners weather the storm until the economy rebounds."
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