WESTCHESTER – Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “I have been all around this County; I have heard the stories from families who are feeling the strain of inflation- this budget is for them. We have once again cut taxes, and expanded the programs that the people of this County need. I am proud of this Budget, this is what honest and fair governing is, that is who we are as an administration.”
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 borrowing for pension and paying down $10.9 million for a prior balance
*No use of fund balance
*No borrowing for cash flow
Latimer said, “The 2023 Budget reflects a continued commitment to programs that meet the needs of Westchester County residents. We have cut taxes but we have also added $1 million to food security programs that serve 100 pantries, we have increased funding for homeless shelter contracts, and we have put in $500k for New Rochelle Family Court support services.”
Budget Director Larry Soule said, “This budget reflects the steadfast commitment of the County Executive to serve the needs of all residents of Westchester County, while at the same time remaining accountable to the needs of the taxpayers.”
The 2023 Budget increases the “rainy day fund” to about 19% of County operating expenditures- a bold way to stabilize the bond ratings for the County.
Latimer said, “For the past four consecutive fiscal years, our administration has been able to propose an Operating Budget that included a cut to the County property tax levy.
Westchester County also boasts a AA+, AA+ and Aa1 rating by Standard and Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s, respectively – among the highest ratings awarded by these three major agencies. These accomplishments are due in no small part to the professional work of the Westchester County Department of Finance.”
Finance Commissioner Karin Hablow said, “I applaud the County Executive for submitting a balanced budget that also includes another consecutive year of a decrease to the tax levy. The County has steadily improved its financial position while continuing to offer the services needed and sought out by its residents. The fiscally responsible budgets that the County Executive has proposed year after year will position Westchester County as a financially stable entity for years to come.”
Public Safety / Corrections / Probation
In a record setting year, the Department of Public Safety, Department of Corrections and Department of Probation are funded at the highest level they have ever been funded in Westchester County history – a total of $260.9 million.
* Correction $156.6 million
* Public Safety $59.1 million
* Probation $45.2 million
This allocation in the Budget includes:
* IT Coordinator and Crime Data Analyst for Public Safety
* Three additional School Resource Officers in Katonah, North Salem and Hendrick Hudson
* New Class of Corrections Officers included in Budget for 2023
Acting Public Safety Commissioner Terrance Raynor said, “The budget proposed by the County Executive fully funds our Department, and enables us to provide the critical law enforcement services that the people of Westchester expect and deserve. This budget will ensure that we can fulfill our core missions, and continue to support all municipal police agencies in our County.”
Corrections Commissioner Joe Spano said, “As part of our robust COVID prevention protocols we are utilizing more of our facility footprint, so keeping pace with employee retirements directly impacts operational safety and quality of life for WDOC staff, and the men and women in our care.”
Probation Commissioner Rocco Pozzi said, “The proposed 2023 Operating Budget continues to reflect the Latimer Administration’s support for Probation operations. The resources provided to the Probation Department will afford Probation Officers the ability to effectively supervise those individuals placed under our authority, which translates into a higher level of community protection.”
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, “We are grateful to the County Executive for making this investment in economic development to support our existing businesses and inspire the launch of new businesses in Westchester County. Life sciences companies, advanced manufacturing companies, startups and others are thriving here, and we are proud to provide training, education and other resources to support them.”
Tourism Director Natasha Caputo said, “The County’s hotel industry was hard hit by COVID, with hotel closures changing the type and size of business we can handle. We have evolved tourism marketing efforts to attract leisure, business and meeting clientele that our hotels and tourism partners can serve well, with the intention of prompting repeat business. Momentum with film industry business is strong.”