Thursday, December 6, 2007

Yonkers City Council News...

From Counsel President Chuck Lesnick

Capital Budget Approved

The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) finally got the five votes it needed to pass the $98 million capital budget.
Almost half of the money, or about $50 million, will go to repairing the city’s schools to address some $300 million in needed repairs and construction costs. The remaining $48 million will go to city projects, including $4.8 million to address sewage flows into local rivers.

Also contained within the CIP is money to rehabilitate several existing parks and to plan a new one at Purser Place next to the PEARLS Hawthorne School.

We plan to delay half of the borrowing until the projects are ready to begin construction as a cost-saving measure. It is my belief that the projects will pay for themselves in the long run with updated schools, flood control, better public safety, and other services.

Yonkers Deserves a Living Wage!

The Mayor held a public hearing on our Living Wage Bill on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

The City Council passed this bill last March only to have the Mayor veto it. Now in its second go-around, this was the time to make our voices heard on this issue!

Here are some basic facts. We are calling for all entities receiving at least $150,000 in government benefits for doing business in Yonkers to pay their workers a minimum of $11.85 per hour plus $1.50 for health benefits.

We feel this is not only a fair trade, but a necessary one especially given that almost 16 percent of the city’s residents exist below the national poverty level of $19,350 for a family of four. In addition, more than 10,000 families in Yonkers grossed less than $25,000 annually when the U.S. Census Bureau made that report in 2005.

Leaf Blower Ban

The City Council made history by unanimously voting for a permanent ban on leaf blowing from June 1 until
September 30. The bill was passed on a one- year trial basis last spring.

This is an important moment for Yonkers as it’s the first piece of public health-based environmental policy to go before the Council since the formation of the Green Policy Task Force and the signing of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement.

Yonkers is also setting a precedent for other municipalities proposing similar legislation.

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