Why Do We Need A 4% Tax Increase in Mount Vernon?
It is hard to trust government, especially when they manipulate the numbers.
It is difficult to gain confidence without transparent actions backed up by results, i.e. reliable numbers. Accurate information is essential for businesses and people to make informed decisions.
This is the deeper issue with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “nursing home scandal” … trust or mistrust could lead to a life-or-death situation.
As it relates to Mount Vernon, residents are faced with a costly 4% tax increase from City Hall based on little to no financial information from the Office of Comptroller.
How can the City advance such a hefty tax increase based on unreliable data?
Why is City Hall seeking a 4% tax hike despite Congress providing New York with approximately $13 billion to assist state and local governments in covering coronavirus shortfalls?
Perhaps, there are large liabilities lurking that the public will soon learn that some in City Hall agreed to cover up on behalf of the political class? (I explain those liabilities and predicted today’s problems in an October 2019 interview with Yonkers Voice here.)
What we do know is that Mount Vernon’s finances have been shrouded in secrecy for far too long. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli explained that local leaders have not been able to make informed decisions because the Mount Vernon Comptroller has been withholding information since 2016. In a recent audit, Comptroller DiNapoli made the following observations:
The City Comptroller failed to file the required annual financial report (AUD) with [NYS Comptroller’s Office] for fiscal years 2016 through 2019.
The [City] Council did not take sufficient action to acquire financial information.
No audited financial statements have been issued since the 2015 fiscal year because [the Comptroller] did not provide the independent auditors with the necessary financial information.
City officials did not have financial information available to develop a multiyear or capital plan.
City officials did not establish policies and procedures to ensure that critical financial information, such as budget-to-actual reports or cash flow reports, is received.
The irrefutable fact Comptroller DiNapoli’s audit highlighted is that the City Comptroller is a problem for Mount Vernon.
Absolute facts from Comptroller DiNapoli’s report, petitions, numerous press conferences, along with hours of screaming matches and insults being exchanged between Mayor Shawyn Patterson Howard and Comptroller Deborah Reynolds make it abundantly clear that the Comptroller is (i) the common denominator dividing the City of Mount Vernon and (ii) delaying much needed progress for our community.
I believe that if I, Richard Thomas, am elected as the next Comptroller, we– the City Council, Mayor, Comptroller– all can get along.
I also believe that we can do some great work together for the People.
Enemies of progress will assert otherwise. They will try to trap us in a debate about a tortured political past. They will use distractions, resurrect lies, and launch smear campaigns to downplay the sacrifices I made to advance People of Mount Vernon. They want you to forget promises redeemed on:
Infrastructure with nearly $300 million replacing all bridges to reunite Mount Vernon;
Transparency with broadcasting meetings at City Hall;
Action on Memorial Field to get reconstruction going;
Making change last with Charter Revisions; and,
Achieving safety through record low crime.
They wanted Mount Vernon to stay the same and fought to keep it that way.
I fought for change and made positive, progressive change happen.
The unsafe future is even more uncertain with City Hall's complacency and COVID-19 ever present.
Our local economy has suffered immensely because City Hall prioritized political positions during the pandemic. They took pride in shutting down small businesses with no recourse, yet they collected their paychecks with disdain. They abandoned neighborhoods to rats the size of cats and mountains of trash. One block was totally forgotten and received no snow removal whatsoever!
Don’t believe me? View the picture above or visit Bond and Oak Street to see just how comfortable the administration has become in neglecting their duty to the people. It is so bad that the block remains blocked off with a concrete barrier that was not removed after a Con Edison project since early 2020!
Who allowed that to happen?
How many people were ignored when they rightfully complained to City Hall?
Who is holding the administration to task on their effectiveness or lack thereof?
The silence from City Hall reflects their complacency with disrespect.
As Comptroller, I, Richard Thomas, will make City Hall respect the people of Mount Vernon again!
As Comptroller, I, Richard Thomas, will ask the right questions to get the right answers and achieve the right outcome.
As Comptroller, I, Richard Thomas, will provide more transparency than what the Charter Revisions call for to help everyone make the best decisions possible to protect their families and benefit the City.
I believe in what is best for Mount Vernon and I am asking for you to Vote Thomas for Comptroller!
We do not need more division.
We do not need a rubber stamp.
We need, as Comptroller DiNapoli found, independent “checks and balances” inside City Hall.
We need a Comptroller that will be objective, transparent, and independent of politics as usual.
This is why I am asking for you to save your signature for my petition for the Office of Comptroller starting on March 2nd, 2021.
And after the petition process, I am asking for you to Join Us!
Join our movement to Make Mount Vernon Work Again!
On Tuesday, June 22, 2021, Vote Thomas for Comptroller!