YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano has pledged to continue to search for ways to cut costs within the fire department after a state supreme court judge temporarily nixed a plan to reduce overtime spending by pulling trucks off the road on an as-needed basis.
“We need to tackle and resolve this sooner rather than later, or our city will never be financially stable,” Spano said in a statement Tuesday. “As a result, we are exploring all legal options, as well as other operational changes we can make to fill the $5 million gap which the court has now created.”
On Monday, Westchester state Supreme Court Judge John LaCava issued a temporary restraining order preventing Spano from implementing a policy that would have subjected two fire stations to temporary closure and taken two trucks off the streets on any given day.
The plan was set to take effect Tuesday and would have closed the New School Street station and another on Fortfield Avenue on an as-needed basis, transferring its firefighters to other stations if staffing levels citywide dropped below 54 firefighters.
City officials estimated the plan would have saved taxpayers $5 million but the firefighter’s union adamantly opposed the move, filing a lawsuit against the city.
While some residents said Monday they were relieved the mayor’s plan had been halted, fearing delayed service times, Spano said Tuesday the court’s ruling essentially amounts to higher taxes in Yonkers.
"The temporary restraining order is essentially an order to the taxpayers of Yonkers,” he said. “It is an order for us to pay higher taxes. It is an order to pay for the continual abuse of sick leave. It is an order to pay unsustainable overtime costs.”