PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- A Westchester Supreme Court Judge issued a ruling Tuesday that the Peekskill Common Council acted beyond its authority in its passage of the 2016 Budget.
Judge Susan Cacace was responding to an Article 78 filed by Peekskill resident Robert Sullivan. She ruled the Dec. 1 meeting called by the Democratic members of the Common Council was improperly called and violated the city charter.
None of the Republicans on the council were present for the Dec. 1 meeting. Councilmen Vincent Vesce and Joe Torres were unable to attend the meeting and Mayor Frank Catalina refused because he felt it was unlawful, according to The Peekskill Pos t. A budget that was passed on Nov. 30 was invalidated because proper procedure was not followed, according to The Peekskill Post.
The judge's ruling means taxes will increase 5.9 percent, the increase set forth in the city manager's budget. The budget passed had a 3.59 percent increase.
"I am pleased that the Court has ruled in exactly the manner I expected and declared that these councilpersons acted without legal authority," Mayor Frank Catalina said. "The years of one party control and domination of city affairs ended when I took office and hopefully that is now understood by the self-described 'majority'.
Catalina criticized the Democratic members of the Common Council, calling their actions "petulant and arrogant."
"I only hope they have learned a valuable lesson from this civics lesson and that is no one is above the law; bad things happen when you bring politics into the Council Chamber and the ends never justify illegal means," Catalina said.
In a press release, the Peekskill Democrats said they were disappointed by the judge's ruling since taxes will increase.
"Since Frank Catalina has been in office, he and his Republican colleagues have attempted to increase taxes every year," Kathleen Talbot said. "The Democratic majority has consistently been able to hold the line on tax increases until this year. This excessive tax increase is a real slap in the face to our hardworking taxpayers.”