Is Yonkers Next?04-06-2012
According to the NY Times and a report commissioned by the Mayor of Yonkers, that city may be the next municipality to trade democracy for a technocratic control board to control its finances. The key takeaway from the article:
In an interview, one of the report’s authors, former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, said that the projected shortfalls would be too large for Yonkers to handle on its own and that other options would eventually have to be explored, including bankruptcy or a control board, unless the state bailed the city out.
The report itself is viewable here. In it, the Mayor of Yonkers embraces the report as “a dose of reality to our City.” He continues,
"I want to thank the Commission for bringing these challenges to light and exposing the truth. We now must come to the table and work together as a City to best figure out ways we can overcome these issues and prepare for the coming years.”
I give the mayor credit. Unlike other municipalities, he asked for the report rather than have it imposed upon him, and he seems genuinely desirous of figuring out a political solution to the crisis. But once again, the crisis seems so big (Yonker's annual shortfalls over the next four years are projected to be more than 10% of its annual budget) that political solutions appear almost impossible to reach. That may or may not be, but one thing is true:
“Nothing is more important than getting accurate information about long-term fiscal challenges as a way of ending the use of gimmicks to mask fiscal realities,” said former Lieutenant Governor Ravitch.