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Peekskill Mayor Frank Catalina Explains 'No' Vote On 2015 Budget

Photo Credit: File

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Peekskill Mayor Frank Catalina released a statement regarding the 2015 budget that was adopted during a meeting at City Hall on Monday, Dec. 1.

Catalina and Republican Council Members Joe Torres and Vincent Vesce all voted "no" on a budget that called for a 2.2 percent property tax increase.

“Peekskill’s financial condition has worsened to the point where Moody’s Bond Rating Agency recently downgraded the City’s bond rating," Catalina said in a statement. "In large part, this downgrade was a result of the city adopting budgets that resulted in one deficit after another. In fact, 2014 will mark the 7th year in a row where the city has operated with a deficit. We have a fiduciary responsibility to pass budgets that are structurally sound and balanced. Unfortunately, the spending plan in this budget is far more than the revenue can support and it is destined to result in yet another deficit”.

Catalina went on to say the city has accumulated $18 million in deficit spending over the previous seven years and continuing to do so could lead to  the appointment of a state financial monitor.

“Years of indiscriminate spending and raiding the fund balance have taken its toll on the City’s financial condition," Catalina said in his statement. "We must stop the madness and deal with our financial situation honestly. Joe, Vinnie and I would like nothing more than to have a zero tax increase and maintain or expand the services that the City provides. However, that is simply not in the cards. A complete overhaul of how we do things is required. "

Vesce echoed the sentiments put forth by the mayor.

“It is a matter of simple math. For the last 7 years, this City has spent $2.6 Million more on average each year than it took in. Our financial condition is not good and this budget will only make it worse," Vesce said in a statement. "The level of spending that this budget calls for cannot be met with the level of revenue that it allows for. The only way to deal with this situation is to stop being reckless and come clean with the public."

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