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State finally approves Yonkers budget

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. (April 11, 2012)

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. (April 11, 2012) Photo Credit: C. Nance

The state comptroller's office Monday approved the revised budget that the Yonkers City Council adopted Saturday.

The $955,774,744 budget -- representing a 2.8 percent increase from the fiscal 2012 budget -- went into effect Sunday, the start of fiscal 2013, but needed approval from the comptroller's office to remain in effect.

The city originally had passed a budget for $958,766,344 on June 6, but the comptroller's office -- which must certify the city's budget because of past fiscal problems -- had balked at plans for funding schools and the Fire Department.

With yesterday's action, the comptroller's office accepted fixes approved on Saturday.

The adopted budget saves police and fire jobs initially slated to be cut, restores education funding and holds down property tax rates.

"Despite bumps in the road, this budget puts Yonkers on a new path of fiscal responsibility," Mayor Mike Spano said.

Among the stumbling blocks cited by the comptroller was Spano's attempt to save $6 million in overtime costs by changing the sick leave policy for city firefighters.

The comptroller's office questioned the decision to include savings associated with the change in the budget, having discovered that the union representing the uniformed firefighters likely would challenge the change in court.

On Saturday, Yonkers Firefighters Union Local 628 president Barry McGoey said he was "pleased" with the latest budget because it offers a chance "to get us up to full staff and reduce overtime." Yonkers will be able to fill 30 vacancies in the Fire Department -- positions that were eliminated in the earlier version of the budget.

The comptroller also questioned how the city had budgeted money for schools, a problem that was handled with minor fixes to line items.

A notice from the comptroller's office said simply that the final budget was in compliance with state laws and city ordinances.

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