Peekskill Officials Blame Albany for Budget Crisis

Oct 9, 2012

 The City of Peekskill is faced with laying off 31 full time employees in 2013 and Mayor Mary Foster and the Common Council are putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of state officials in Albany for failing get control over the skyrocketing cost of mandatory pension payments.

Those costs will total about 10 percent of the city’s $50 million spending plan for next year and Foster said Peekskill is truly between a rock and a hard place.

“We are doing our best to maintain city services and make sure that all of the essential services are being provided, but we know that we have to have cuts at some level and it’s just where those cuts will need to be and whether there is any relief that Albany will commit to when it comes to these pension funds,” the mayor said.

Foster said in recent past years, the city mitigated the impacts of the economic recession by using some reserves, keeping the tax burden on local property owners below regional averages, and maintaining city services.  But, with increased pension mandates, they have fewer options.

While the city is technically staying within the two percent tax cap, the mayor said with the pension costs factored in, the increase is more like a six percent hike.

City employees plan on marching on Peekskill City Hall Tuesday evening to protest the impending layoffs.