WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. December 13, 2022:
Watch the Budget Signing Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NlQ3grEN7E
Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed his 2023 Westchester County Budget, cutting the County Property Tax Levy by $6 million dollars, flanked by members of the Westchester County Departments of Emergency Services, Corrections, Probation and Public Safety. The Budget was passed by the County Board of Legislators earlier in the day, bipartisan 17-0.
Latimer said:“I am signing this budget today and thinking of all the families who are preparing for the holidays – this budget is for them. We have cut taxes again and have done so while also expanding the programs and services they have come to depend on. I am proud of this budget, and our collaboration with the Board of Legislators; this is what honest and fair governing is, that is who we are as an administration and as a County.”
The total budget is $2.365 billion and includes Latimer’s fourth County property tax cut in a row.
Editor’s Note: The 2022 County Budget was 2.2 Billion. The new 2023 budget increases spending 9% to 2.4 billion. The inflation rate announced today by the U.S. government for the first 11 months of 2022 was 7.3%. If the budget continues on this trend of increasing at 9% the budget will exceed $3 Billion in 2026.
Closing 2022 with projected $65.9 million operating surplus
No borrowing for tax certs
No borrowing for pension
No use of fund balance
2023 Budget contains no borrowing or one-shots
No borrowing for tax certs
No use of fund balance
No borrowing for cash flow
County Board of Legislators Chairwoman Catherine Borgia: “Westchester County is stronger and in a better state financially, and we are paying it forward to our residents. We’ve prioritized meaningful investments in areas that affect our constituents every day. Parents receiving subsidies can now pay less out of pocket to afford better quality childcare. We’re closing the digital divide by expanding internet access throughout the County. We’ve increased funding for community-based organizations providing services directly to those who need them. I am excited for all that we will accomplish in 2023 through mutual commitment and collaboration with the County Executive’s Office.”
The 2023 Budget funds the Departments of Corrections, Public Safety, Probation and Emergency Services at the highest levels in Westchester County history:
· Correction $156.6 million
· Public Safety $59.1 million
· Probation $50.2 million
· Department of Emergency Services $13 million
Acting Public Safety Commissioner Terrance Raynor said: “I am pleased and proud to stand with County Executive Latimer as he signs a budget that not only fully funds our Department, but exceeds where we were last year. The 2023 Budget enables us to provide the critical law enforcement services that the people of Westchester expect and deserve.”
The County is also focusing on food assistance, the Budget has $2 million in funding for Feeding Westchester and food pantries around the County. Additionally, for Child Care, the Budget reduces the parent share from 27% in 2018 to 5% in 2023.
Economic Development accounts for $6 million in the 2023 Operating Budget, with a focus on the Life Sciences, Tourism and Healthcare Sectors. This includes $1.4 million for the Downtown Improvement Grant (DIG) Program.
Economic Development Director Bridget Gibbons said: “The County Executive’s consistent investment in economic development to support our existing businesses and inspire the launch of new businesses in Westchester creates a business friendly environment in the County. Life sciences companies, advanced manufacturing companies, tech startups and others are thriving here, and we are proud to provide training, education and other resources to support them.”
The Budget allots $218.7 million for the County Health Department, that includes $1 million for maternal mortality. Additionally, the budget is expanding funding to Federally Qualified Health Centers/Neighborhood Health Centers by $1 million bringing the total to $3 million.
The 2023 Budget has $17.2 million for the Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH), specifically the Project Alliance Mobile Crisis Response Team, $6.1 million for Crisis Network and 988 Suicide Crisis Lifeline, $565,000 for Opioid Response and Overdose Prevention Initiative and $737,892 Early Childhood Mental Health Services.
DCMH Commissioner Michael Orth said: “Through County Executive Latimer and the Board of Legislators’ ongoing commitment to serving the people of Westchester County, they have made a statement that mental health matters. They have made a statement that addiction and co-occurring disorder need attention. And, they have told all of us here in the County that we matter.”
The Budget has $1.3 million for the Human Rights Commission, money that will be used to fund an additional investigator.
Youth Bureau funding is $4.7 million dollars in the Budget, including $3.1 million for Invest in Kids and funding for new programs based on the youth needs assessment.