14 Jul Budget Deal for Yonkers Closer as State Moves to Restore Ed Aid (NY)

July 14, 2010

By: Vishal Persaud and Abby Luby
Source: The Daily News

The Yonkers budget doomsday clock got set back Tuesday after word that Albany was ready to restore major funding cuts to its schools.

"We have received word from Albany that the Legislature and the governor will over turn the $36.4 million funding cut," David Simpson, spokesman for Mayor Phil Amicone, said late in the day.

Simpson said the mayor’s latest budget after revisions could now be submitted to the city council today, although the education funding had yet to be officially restored in Albany.

Simpson said state Controller Tom DiNapoli had agreed to certify the budget if the city includes that funding in its budget prior to it actually being restored in Albany.

"It will take time to get it done up there, and we have to move down here," said Simpson. "That means there is no excuse for the city council to hold the city budget up for that reason tomorrow."

Amicone submitted an amended budget of $858.2 million to the council last Wednesday that saved eight police jobs, after negotiations with the unions, but laid off 134 firefighters, sanitation workers and other city employees.

The council voted it down Saturday after School Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio said the city would lose a big chunk of its state education funding.

"We are facing a situation of not having enough money to continue operations," said Simpson. "We need a budget soon, so we can print the tax bills."

He said a budget imposed by the state control board would be like an indiscriminate scalpel. "The control board is not attuned to the local concerns of the residents and elected officials."

Yonkers’ Board of Education had been reeling from Gov. Paterson’s budget veto last week that cut the school funding, with 218 teachers, administrators and other staff already lai d off.

There were also reports of behind-the-scenes talks with the Teamsters union that could lead to a budget allowing some rehirings that would restore two-day-a-week garbage pickups. The trash pickups were cut to one day because of the budget crisis that also saw layoffs in uniformed services.

It would also involve holding the line on any property tax increase beyond the proposed 4% hike for Yonkers homeowners.

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