YONKERS, N.Y. -- Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano reflects on protecting property taxpayers money by insisting on a property tax cap.
Since being elected mayor, each of our budgets have stayed within the state property tax cap, and we intend to continue that tradition again this year. When I submit the proposed budget to the city council in a couple of weeks, I will again propose staying within the property tax cap for a fourth consecutive year.
We’ve also expanded tax relief to veterans in our city – one of the first municipalities in New York to do so. Working with our partners on the city council – Republicans and Democrats – we enacted a local law to include school taxes in the alternative veterans’ exemption, so now veterans can qualify for the full benefit.
We’re changing the way we offer taxpayer-funded incentives to businesses that want to move or expand in Yonkers. In the past, the city often provided 20- and 30-year property tax abatements to entice businesses to come here. Now, as our economy continues to improve and unemployment is at its lowest point in years, we’re providing smarter, targeted tax incentives in cases where they make the difference between bringing jobs to Yonkers or losing them to someplace else. We want to help out, not sell out.
We’re overhauling the way city hall manages its money and equipment. Last year, we sold the first “A” rated Yonkers bonds in 30 years, saving taxpayers $2 million in the cost of issuing bonds.
We replaced the employee-manned payment booth at the city hall garage with a new kiosk. Taxpayers used to pay $250,000 annually in salaries and fringe benefits to staff that booth. Now, we have machines that will pay for themselves in less than a year.
We installed new GPS systems in city cars and an automated gas dispensing system at the public works garage. Now, we can keep track of where our cars are and how much gas they use.
Thanks to our Yonkers Green City initiative, new LED street lights and other sustainability projects are saving taxpayers millions in energy costs. This September we will make the switch to web-based phone service. It’s going to make our operations more efficient, but here’s the kicker – it will save taxpayers $150,000 in yearly telephone bills.
It’s pretty simple: Almost every dollar we spend comes from you, the taxpayers. So, we’re going treat those dollars as if they are coming from our own pocket, and find cost savings wherever we can.
Learn more at www.yonkersny.gov/sotc2015 .
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