Financial information

Mount Vernon reveals the city’s financial situation for the first time in years

Mount Vernon’s comptroller opens his books and reveals the city’s true financial state for the first time in four years.

The city reports more than $60 million in unpaid debt, including $21 million in state health benefits, $12 million to the local school district, and $8 million in outstanding legal and supplier obligations. This was according to the recently released financial report covering the first quarter of this year.

City Comptroller Dr. Darren Morton found the city was about $5 million short of its revenue forecast for the first three months of the year, which could lead to budget cuts across the line.

Overtime costs are still a major concern for the city, according to Morton.

Morton says a lack of financial transparency over the past decade has led to the collapse of city services and infrastructure, including flooding, canceled garbage collection and potholes.

Morton called the path to financial recovery an “evolutionary process” and pledged to ensure public transparency going forward.

“While financial insights are sobering with due diligence, collaboration and spending control, there is a path to financial recovery,” he says.

Morton said the city needs to implement several strategies to improve the city’s financial stability going forward, such as completing the 2016 city audit by the third quarter of this year, identifying non-land tax revenue streams and the sale of city-owned properties to restore the tax roll.