WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. October 28, 2021:
County Executive George Latimer previewed his 2022 proposed Operating Budget announcing a $7 million dollar cut to the County property tax levy. This is the third County property tax cut in a row for Latimer.
(Editor’s note: new budget is $2,200,000,000, $190 Million more than the $2,009,999,999 2021 budget, A 9.5% INCREASE .)
Latimer said:“This is the largest tax cut in recent memory. I am proud of this budget and proud that through smart and innovative budgeting we have been able to cut taxes responsibly again, find new revenue sources, save and provide needed services to County residents. This is not rhetoric or lip service – this is results – this is good governing. We are committed to doing right by the people of Westchester County – and that is exactly what we have done.”
2022 NON-TRADITIONAL REVENUES AND SAVINGS MEASURES:
· Demand Response Contract –$200k per year
· Airbnb –$300k per year
· 2020 Voluntary Separation Incentive –$11.4 million of savings in 2021
THE $2.2 BILLION DOLLARA PROPOSED OPERATING BUDGET MAINTAINS ALL COUNTY SERVICES AND INCLUDES:
· NONPROFIT & RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION GRANT PROGRAM AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FUNDING – $17 MILLION
· CHILDCARE SUBSIDY EXPANSION – $5.6 MILLION ADDITIONAL FUNDING
o Enables more families to have childcare at a reduced cost for parents.
· PROJECT ALLIANCE – $6.4 MILLION-PRIORITY RECOMMENDATION FROM THE POLICE REFORM TASKFORCE
o Eight Mobile Crisis Response Teams across the County to assist with people in mental distress.
· SMALL LANDLORD REHAB ASSISTANCE PROGRAM – $1 MILLION
o County will reimburse 75% of the cost of improvements made by qualifying landlords in exchange for keeping rents affordable for a period of 10 years.
· HEALTHCARE EQUITY AND ACCESS – $6 MILLION
o Funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers and Clinics for Infrastructure / Equipment / Telehealth Capacity and Outreach Improvements – $4 million
o Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies Nurse Home Visiting Program – $1 million
o County (Senior) Telehealth Program – $1 million
· DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY SERVICES TUITION REIMBURSEMENT PILOT PROGRAM FOR LOCAL VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS AND EMTS – $500,000
· YOUTH UPLIFTMENT PROGRAM – $500,000
o Program will identify pre-teens in middle school and focus on wellness, fitness and life skill training with mentoring and life coaches.
Earlier this month the County Executive released his 2022 Proposed Capital Budget. The fourth proposed Capital Budget of his administration emphasizes investments in affordable housing, hybrid and electric vehicles, and recreational facilities such as Playland, Memorial Field, and the completion of a continuous Bronx River Pathway from New York City to Kensico Dam Plaza. The proposed Capital Budget requested $476.4 million in new appropriations on an all funds basis for 2022:
· $291.9 million for general County purposes;
- $152.4 million for the sewer and water districts;
- $4.1 million for the refuse district; and
- $28.0 million for Westchester County Airport.
Latimer said: “Over the past four years we have made significant investments in our County’s infrastructure, while maximizing efficiencies to reduce costs, improved the County’s bond rating and we have done all of this while cutting County property taxes for our residents. We are not here to let things fall apart while spewing rhetoric – we are here to get results and to make life better for the over one million people who call Westchester County home. This is our County, and together we will work to make Westchester County the strongest it can be.”
Year-to-date the County has expended over $119 million on capital improvements. The backlog of capital projects has also been reduced by $400 million since Latimer took office in 2018. Over the past three years, Latimer’s Administration has made great strides to improve the capital program and increase efficiency. The most notable improvement resulted from the approval by the New York State Legislature, at the County’s request, to eliminate the $10 million dollar bond referendum cap, which ultimately saves the County money by eliminating extra costs from breaking up projects unnecessarily into pieces.