The Mount Vernon City Charter states specifically that a public hearing on the budget must be held on or before November 19th of each calendar year. On November 19th, 2009 a public hearing was held in City Council Chambers, but the hearing was not for the Mount Vernon City budget for 2010. The Westchester County Board of Legislators conducted a hearing on the proposed budget for 2010. Westchester County taxpayers will most likely see a 5% increase in the County taxes on top of the proposed 23% tax hike in Mount Vernon and the 13% tax increase imposed by the Mount Vernon School District earlier this year.
Westchester County Legislator Lyndon Williams, elected earlier this month to a 2nd term was nowhere to be found on Wednesday evening, November 19th. Perhaps he did not want to answer questions about the controversial Memorial Field project that has the potential to bankrupt the city of Mount Vernon. Has he abandoned the very same taxpayers that a few weeks ago had just voted for him? Legislator Williams has been lackluster in his community outreach. This is the same Legislator that conducted a public hearing on the controversial Federal affordable housing settlement and the same Legislator that has not conducted any public hearing on the Memorial Field project. Mount Vernon Exposed left two messages for his assistant Sunday Vanderberg regarding setting up a public hearing. Our calls were not returned. Many Mount Vernon residents are still unaware of the shady deal that was struck behind closed doors that will enrich many officials in Mayor Young’s immediate circle and on the County level. Approximately 5 miles of County owned roads were transferred to the City of Mount Vernon as part of the Memorial Field project. Mount Vernon, already tapped out on resources now has this additional responsibility of maintaining these roads.
Legislator Williams must increase his community efforts and not follow the path that Mayor Young is heading down. As Mayor Young’s running mate in the 2007 election, Williams must let Mount Vernon residents know if he still agrees with the agenda of Mayor Young and if the change that we are now witnessing, is the same change that they preached about during their campaign.
So far, The Shot Spotter and Memorial Field, 2 major projects that Legislator Williams boasted about will cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Williams even included these projects on his campaign mailing as part of his agenda. Legislator Williams leaves much information to speculation and must clarify the information that is circulating the community. These things cannot be accomplished if Williams remains in seclusion. Some of the concerns expressed by Mount Vernon residents are:
- What is the true cost of Memorial Field?
- Will Mayor Young be your running mate in 2011 or will you decide to seek higher office yourself?
- Do you approve of the job that Mayor Young is doing?
- What are you doing or what have you done to help save Mount Vernon Hospital?
- Why are you and Mayor Young moving so quickly with the Memorial Field project when there are several projects in Mount Vernon that require immediate attention?
- What do you stand to gain from Memorial Field?
These are just a few of the concerns expressed by Mount Vernon residents over the past few weeks.