MAYOR MIKE SPANO: Yonkers cops want a contract - but how much can taxpayers really afford?

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR MIKE SPANO: The Yonkers PBA unfairly accuses the city of stalling negotiations for a new police contract.

It takes two to bargain, but the PBA’s idea of an acceptable contract is more than the hard-pressed taxpayers of Yonkers can bear.

Here are the facts:

  • The average Yonkers resident makes a little less than $35,000 a year, and the average household makes $69,825.
  • The average police officer in contrast currently makes $142,682.

Yonkers still faces a structural financial deficit, and the cost of salaries and benefits is the main reason for that.

Three years ago, a New York state report noted that Yonkers has “unusually high labor costs”, and said until we get them under control our structural financial problems will remain.

We can’t keep raising taxes to dig ourselves out.

We are already the only city outside of New York City that has an income tax.

Plus, we levy a transfer tax on everyone who sells a home.

Those are in addition to our already substantial property taxes.

Make no mistake.

Our police are the best in the business, and they are the reason Yonkers continues to be one of the safest cities of its size in the nation.

We couldn’t ask for better or more dedicated police officers.

But we must recognize the fact — which has been backed up by the state report — that our police are among the best paid in New York cities.

It’s pretty hard to tell taxpayers, who on average make 25% of what police officers make, that they need to pay even more than the proposed double-digit increases.

It’s not fair for the PBA to suggest that the city’s attempt to bring our high labor costs under control suggests we don’t appreciate our police.

Members of my family are police officers, and one of my closest friends in the police force fell victim to COVID-19 two years ago.

I see the sacrifices and understand the pressure they and their families are under, but the city also has an obligation to stay within its means.

Considering the fact that Yonkers’ benefits package is among the best of any other big city in New York State, it begs the question:

How much more can Yonkers’ taxpayers really afford?

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