Wow — unsettling news from the New York Post, if it’s true. Post columnist Fredric U. Dicker wrote today that “several of New York’s biggest cities,” including Rochester, are close to bankruptcy and “looking for a bailout from Gov. Cuomo’s administration.”
Dicker says the mayors of Yonkers, Rochester, and Syracuse have been involved in “secret talks” in recent weeks on their financial options, “and the possibility of bankruptcy has been discussed.”
Dicker attributes his information to “a source close to the mayors.”
The financial struggles of Upstate cities, including Rochester, are not breaking news. But Mayor Tom Richards has always insisted that Rochester is in better shape than most other cities, and he closed the city's most recent budget gap without any major cuts in services.
Dicker says that aides to Cuomo are “working on a new plan to link any future aid to the ailing cities to workout plans that reduce local costs.”
Dicker says a second source claims that individual control boards are possible for the cities. Mayor Richards has always rejected the idea of a control board for Rochester.
Richards, Mayor Stephanie Miner of Syracuse, and Mayor Mike Spano of Yonkers released the following response to Dicker’s column:
"We read with concern the statements in today's press. Three things need to be re-stated on the public record. One, the cities of New York are not seeking handouts. We are trying to address a serious financial problem that affects many of the citizens of New York who live and work in our cities. Two, we have repeatedly and with great pain cut services and employees. Three, the budget gaps that are soon to appear in cities across the state are too large to be bridged from within those cities. To suggest otherwise only postpones the hard work of resolving the problem."