There’s been a lot of name-calling and finger-pointing, but it looks like Mount Vernon’s budget for 2019 is going to move forward – and it’s going to do so responsibly, utilizing actual numbers, and with the support of both the Comptroller and the City Council.

That’s the good news. Below, you’ll see a summary of the joint budget of the City Council and the Comptroller. It involves a tax increase of only 1.93%, which represents a reduction of approximately 30% from the budget originally proposed by Mayor Thomas (a 2.69% increase). We have worked closely with the Comptroller to place some realistic projections around revenues and combined that with some reasonable cuts in spending. Mostly, we have reduced the big raises called for by the Mayor for his commissioners. The rest of the budget gives the Mayor adequate room to provide necessary City services and to help Mount Vernon get back on a path to paying its bills and rebuilding its credit.

The bad news is that this entire process has been marred by truly shameful conduct on the part of Mayor Thomas, unbecoming of the behavior expected of a public official. Rather than attempt to be a part of the solution, Mayor Thomas made the problem worse by stoking the flames of public division and, frankly, by just flat-out lying to people. Case in point: his so-called “15.8%” budget that he claimed was put forth by the “Councilman Wallace” never happened. It’s just a blatant lie he made up to further divide this City. While claiming to cling to the “truth” and to “facts,” Mayor Thomas had no time for either. Some of the tactics used by Mayor Thomas to force his hidden spending agenda on the voters of this City border on the criminal. Again, the people of Mount Vernon deserve better.

With the grateful thanks to the hard work of my fellow Council members, particularly Council Member Griffith, and to Comptroller Reynolds in coming together to advance a responsible, fiscally sound 2019 budget, it is time to get back to the business of making this City grow and prosper. If this budget process has proven anything, it’s this: People who throw temper tantrums don’t solve problems. People, who work hard together find solutions. Let’s hope we can build upon this experience and move forward.

If you have thoughts or comments about this issue or any other, reach out to me at [email protected]

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