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Peekskill Officials: Taxpayers Need Relief from State Pension Costs

The City of Peekskill is looking at state pension payments of more than $4.5 million , accord to a release sent out by the Peekskill Common Council.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following post was submitted by the Peekskill Common Council and has been sent out by the Peekskill Democratic Committee as well.  If you would like to post your news to Patch, click here.

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Peekskill, NY -- Mayor Mary Foster and the Peekskill Common Council blast New York State for its failure to get control of the sky-high increases in mandatory pension payments required from Peekskill. 

Pointing to the City Manager’s proposed 2013 budget, Mayor Foster explains that Peekskill has been collecting about $50 million in revenues in recent years but payments to Albany in 2013 will be over $4.5 million, having doubled since 2010.

“This situation forces very difficult choices in keeping taxes low and maintaining city services,” Mayor Foster said. “The shame is – Albany’s continued failure to slow down these skyrocketing costs forces higher taxes and reduced services on Peekskill taxpayers.  Instead of actually doing something about these skyrocketing costs, Albany operates as if municipalities are ATM machines that endlessly dispense local cash to cover their failure to control costs."

Up until now and despite these debilitating increases, the city protected taxpayers and the local workforce by freezing management salaries, consolidating services, and reducing perks and management benefits.  Additionally, the city mitigated the impact of the economic recession on city revenues by: using some reserves; keeping the tax burden on local property owners well below regional averages; and maintaining city services.

Unfortunately, Albany’s 2013-2014 pension mandates – a whopping $4.4 million and $5 million respectively – made it impossible to continue this delicate balance. As a result, the City Manager’s proposed budget calls for a reduction in the city’s full-time workforce of 31 employees.

“Our legislators and Governor need to realize that their failure to act is going to directly result in job losses in the City of Peekskill,” said Deputy Mayor Drew Claxton. “The members of our local work force are a vital part of our community. These workers are our neighbors, our colleagues and our friends, and it infuriates me that some of them will lose their jobs because of Albany’s negligence.”

“Through the ongoing budget review process, our number one goal will be to minimize the impact of these cuts to direct service delivery and focus instead on trimming overhead and administration,” said Councilwoman Marybeth McGowan. “Unfortunately, while we didn’t make this mess, we’re the ones who have to clean it up.”

Over the next 60 days, the Mayor and Council will be meeting with department heads and the City Manager to prepare a final budget for adoption. The City must adopt a final budget by December 1.

 


enoughalready October 09, 2012 at 05:18 AM
Leesther I respect your comments and your spot on. Every single one of you are..the only thing I would disagree with is the bashing of the employees and their pensions. The press and politicians run around like municipal employees are getting rich on retirements...its far from the truth. Do some digging..NYS retirement system is funded at 105% and the state comptroller touts it as one of the strongest in the nation. Then why are we still getting killed locally with pension cost increases? Think outside the box, think politically and don't get info from 20 seconds comments on cable news. Say what you will but cops and firemen do things many of us wouldn't..they chose it yes..but thank god they did. They deal with things in society most of us don't want to know exist. Going at 50% of their salary is peanuts. Maybe Mr. Schmitt can be more accurate but wasn't it in the area of $9 million reserve left to Foster upon taking office now its (they say) $5 million deficit. That's $14 million in 5 years..where did go? If you believe it was Pensions and healthcare I have some prime real estate to sell you never mind the hard metals and solvent smell. Anyone know how many attorneys the city is using? How many lawsuits? How many events they ok'd that require police overtime? I don't go to man but taxes pay for xtra cops. But its ok we'll just keep watching the meetings they are all giggling in while 30 people will be unemployed. Last thought came as I typed. Employees pay taxes too.
sayitsnotsojack October 09, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Get the Democrats out of government, Vote Obumma out and his pals.
George in NY October 09, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Again politicians use the OLD excuses. mean old state pension system. Greedy employees did it, not our fault BS. A recent quote from State Comptroller. DiNapoli wrote that “When I am asked, I like to remind people that it wasn’t retirees who caused the financial crisis—reckless actions by some in the financial sector led to that disaster. Blaming pensions for our troubles misses the boat.” From Comptrollers website, Average Pensions: Average pension for all ERS retirees in FY 2012: $20,241 Average pension for all PFRS retirees in FY 2012: $42,259 Politicians love to mis-represent pension system payments now due as out of their control and unexpected huge increases. Reality is that in the 90's the State allowed local governments to make lower and no payments to pension system as system was making money on investments. Now they have to make payments they committed to and suddenly scream about vast percentage increases. Kind of like landlord allowing you to skip paying rent for a year then telling you now you have to start paying some each month and you screaming raised my rent 100%. All this pension blaming is simply attempt by various political entities to defer the light from their own failures as leaders. George in NY
George in NY October 09, 2012 at 02:52 PM
From: http://www.empirecenter.org/Special-Reports/2010/12/pensionexplosion120710.cfm "The record-breaking investment returns of the 1980s and ‘90s lulled New York’s elected leaders into a false sense of complacency. State and local payrolls were ex-panded and retirement benefits were enhanced under the assumption that pension costs would remain near historic lows. The downturn of 2000-03 and its impact on pension costs should have come as a wake-up call to state officials. Instead, they responded with pension funding gimmicks and minimal “reforms.” AS they always do, kick the can down the road then blame someone other than themselves!
Areyouserious October 10, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Go ahead and layoff Police Officers, DPW workers and Firemen - Mary and Co. Are going to pick up the garbage, put out fires and protect the public. Foster has it all covered, after all she no longer needs the police department to deal with her endless neighbors disputes. But dont forget to thank her for the many beutiful art displayed around the city, in particular the $ 40,000 statue of a diver that adorns the riverfront. Foster needs to stop utilizing pensions as an excuse. Lets blame the expensive Ipads purchase for each counsel member, the super costly meeting room, the purchase of useless real estate, expensive art and the upcomming firehouse (that the real firemen have said that they dont need right now) as the real budget crisis. Cut down the ridiculous spending and provide us with the services we need. We need Police Officers, Firemen and DPW workers.

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