Jobs and services could be cut in Yonkers due to money shortfall

YONKERS, New York (WABC) -- The City of Yonkers is facing a $31 million shortfall - and that means possible cuts to things like police and fire departments.

According to Mayor Mike Spano, the city is facing one of the more serious challenges as he prepares to present a new budget to the City Council.

"This is the first time we put forth a budget that we are going to cut real bodies and its those real bodies that are going to have an effect on the quality of life of the people who live in this city," says Mayor Spano.

With the projected $31-million dollar shortfall, the fallout could cost the city 200 jobs and possibly cuts to a number of city services that could impact police patrols and the number of fire companies. Taxpayers could also see a possible two percent property tax increase - about $100 per household.

"It would be devastating for the Yonkers community," says one resident.

Even with an increase in new construction bringing in new revenue and the economy improving by 25-percent over the past six years, Mayor Spano believes one of the big issues is the imbalance in tax revenue the city sends to Albany and the money it receives from Albany. "The money you give to your localities that stays stagnant or the same then you are essentially starving local governments," adds Mayor Spano.

Another resident believes, "White Plains and other subsidy areas, they get more money than Yonkers, unfortunately. And property taxes here are high."

With public employees salaries and benefits making up 80-percent of the budget, the mayor is also considering going to the unions.

"We will go back and ask labor leaders to maybe put off their pay raises for a year or so. We are not looking for anyone to lose anything," says Spano.

The Mayor will work with the City Council after he presents the budget to it next week in hopes this isn't the same budget that is passed. But he admits it will be bare bones.

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