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Yonkers Running Out Of Time To Close Budget Gap, Avoid Fiscal Crisis

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Money graphic. (Credit: AP)

Money graphic. (Credit: AP)

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBS 2) — In New York’s fourth largest city, the budget crisis is so severe that there has been talk of a state takeover.

Rescue talks in Yonkers are going down to the wire, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.

The leaders of all four municipal unions showed up at city hall Wednesday for an emergency meeting – a desperate attempt to pull Yonkers back from the brink.

It’s a last-ditch effort to plug a money gap so serious that the city council members came within one vote of requesting a state takeover.

“We didn’t have anyplace else to turn,” Yonkers Council President Chuck Lesnick said. “The taxpayers have been tapped enough, the state wasn’t giving us more. We were desperate.”

A mess by any fiscal standard, the state has seized control of Yonkers finances twice since 1975.

This year, the city is facing a $42 million budget deficit, and residents are howling over resulting school cuts.

The mayor wants to restructure some debt, but the city council has attached conditions that could amount to a 10-year wage freeze. Union lobbyists were already on their way to Albany to kill the bill Wednesday.

“This is not going to pass the Assembly, and it’s not going to pass the Senate,” Keith Olsen, of the Yonkers PBA, said. “They’ve attached something to this bill that’s going to sink it.”

On Wednesday, the unions were trying to work out a giveback package that would plug part of the budget hole. Albany has only nine more working days left this session to help Yonkers borrow the rest of the money.

Yonkers has already issued more than 700 layoff notices to school employees.

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