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.
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.”
Westchester County Legislator Vedat Gashi said: “This budget reflects the values of this Board and this County Executive, with historic investment in mental health, public safety and child care. We have continued to find ways to ease burdens for Westchester County residents through subsidies, social services and tax cuts.”
Majority Leader Christopher Johnson said: “The funding we’ve allocated in the $2.4 billion budget will provide critical aid for Westchester County residents, and help us actualize the goal of creating the Office of Police Accountability. We are even more focused on addressing social justice equity now that an allocation has been made for the establishment of this much-needed public safety division.”
Westchester County Legislator Margaret Cunzio said: “The 2023 budget not only cuts the County property tax levy, but it also invests in the areas of Public Safety, Emergency Services, Corrections and Probation – all of which have proven to be essential in the operation of our County. I am pleased to support this unanimous budget to help keep Westchester moving forward.”
Vice Chair County Legislator Nancy Barr said: “I am pleased that today, the Board of Legislators unanimously passed the 2023 fiscal year budget. This tri-partisan support is a testament to the strength of this well-balanced, fiscally-responsible budget, which cuts the tax levy for the fourth straight year without borrowing for operating costs and with an increase to the fund balance. The 2023 budget continues to support our non-profit partners who provide services to Westchester residents, which is particularly important as many are still recovering from the impact of the COVID pandemic. I am especially pleased that this budget provides increased funding for mental health services, and a focus on digital equity, with designated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to increase internet access to under-served residents. I thank my colleagues on the Board and in the County Administration for all their hard work, and for their commitment to serving our community.”
Westchester County Legislator Jose Alvarado said: “I am very happy to support the 2023 Westchester County Budget as in my opinion, it addresses the immediate needs in the area: it provides a tax cut, increases child care benefits, reinforces criminal justice, begins to address the real mental health and health care needs of the County, includes the investment towards digital equity, and maintains or increases the funding for our local community-based organizations.”
Westchester County Legislator Terry Clements said: “As Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, we’ve identified the need to efficiently fund our public safety and law enforcement departments. Through this budget, we’ve added millions of dollars to the departments that will keep Westchester residents safe and secure.”
Westchester County Legislator Erika Pierce said: “It’s been an honor to work on a budget that invests in the services and programs that improve the lives of Westchester residents, and maintains and, wherever possible, improves our County’s infrastructure. From childcare to mental healthcare, from emergency services to our parks, Westchester continues to invest in the lives of the people who call this County home.”
Westchester County Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson said: “Societies are stronger when those governing commit to improving the physical, mental and social wellbeing of its constituents. The pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated challenges, and we’re given the opportunity to provide the resources to level the playing field. I am glad to have voted to approve this budget for many great reasons especially the reduction in property tax levies, increased funding for our nonprofit organizations, public safety and emergency services – but particularly for funding for childcare and mental health.”
Westchester County Legislator Colin Smith said: “I am happy to support the 2023 budget and proud of the collaborative effort that went in to its creation. As in years past, this budget continues to demonstrate the County’s commitment to childcare, affordable housing solutions, green infrastructure and sustainability, and public safety, among many others. The residents of Westchester will continue to be well-served by this year’s budget.”
Budget Director Larry Soule said: “For five consecutive budgets, the County Executive has prioritized getting this County back onto sound fiscal footing, while funding all essential programs, public safety and navigating a pandemic – all while cutting taxes.”
Finance Commissioner Karin Hablow said: “The County Executive has once again passed a balanced budget that includes a cut to the property tax levy. We, as a County, have greatly improved our financial position while continuing to offer the services needed and sought out by its residents. I want to thank County Executive Latimer and the Board of Legislators for passing a fiscally responsible budget that once again will position Westchester County as a financially stable entity for years to come.”
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
Correction Commissioner Joe Spano said: “This is a historic Budget as County Executive Latimer and the County Board of Legislators has funded us at a level that prioritizes the safety of our residents and employees. This is not just a ‘jail,” but rather this is an opportunity to reeducate and help our residents – and with that in mind the outcome will always be a safer society.”
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.”
Probation Commissioner Rocco Pozzi said: “Thank you to County Executive Latimer and the County Board of Legislators for funding Probation at a historic level that allows us to afford Probation Officers the ability to effectively supervise those individuals placed under our authority, which translates into a higher level of community protection.”
Commissioner Richard Wishnie said: “It is evident by this historic budget that enhanced EMS services are a priority of County Executive Latimer and the Board of Legislators, as is recruitment and retention of EMS and Fire Service members. This County Budget includes significant support of the first responder communities’ ability to provide state-of-the-art care in Westchester. I thank County Executive Latimer and the Board of Legislators for making Emergency Services a top priority.”
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.
Child Care Council of Westchester Executive Director Kathy Halas said: “Once again, the County Executive and the Board of Legislators are investing in Westchester’s working families with the child care funding in this budget. Parents working in our healthcare, education, transportation, financial services, nonprofit and hospitality sectors will find it easier than ever to afford child care thanks to the continuation of the Westchester Works Child Care Scholarship Program, and reduction of the fee for parents receiving child care assistance through the Department of Social Services. Westchester County is leading the way on child care in NYS.”
Executive Director of Nonprofit Westchester Jan Fisher said: “Nonprofit Westchester congratulates the County Executive and his team for delivering a fiscally responsible budget that recognizes the critical work of the nonprofit sector in supporting the social and economic health of our County. We are grateful to the County Executive and Board of Legislators for our partnership during the budget season and throughout the year.”
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.”
Tourism & Film Director Natasha Caputo said: “The hotel industry is changing and evolving, and the 2023 budget is responding to that change. We have evolved our tourism marketing efforts to attract leisure, business and meeting travelers that our hotels and tourism partners can serve, with the intention of prompting new and repeat business. Momentum with film and television production is strong. I thank County Executive Latimer and the Board of Legislators for their leadership in seeing the path forward and supporting our efforts to bring business to Westchester County.”
Westchester County Association President & CEO Michael N. Romita said: “This is a solid and thoughtful budget. It includes a decrease in property taxes while boosting reserves. It also dedicates historical sums to housing and prioritizes development focusing on broadband access, clean energy technology, healthcare and workforce training. Particularly in a recessionary environment, the County must continue to invest in protecting its strong economic base and prioritize industry sectors poised for growth. Meanwhile, it must be sensitive to the impacts of high inflation on our businesses, workers and communities alike. We greatly appreciate the County’s responsiveness and transparency as we work to ensure that the needs of our members are addressed.”
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.
Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “Thank you to County Executive Latimer and the County Board of Legislators for allowing the Health Department in the 2023 Budget to refocus our attention on our core public health priorities and essential services aimed at improving the health of our communities.”
CEO of the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center Judith Watson, RN, BSN, MPH said: “This budget is yet another illustration of why the County of Westchester had been blessed with the right County Executive, at the right time, in this moment. All groups throughout our great county are represented and no one has been left behind. Thank you County Executive Latimer, we see you and appreciate and commend you.”
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.”
Westchester County Parks Commissioner Kathy O’Connor said: “Our parks are ‘naturally essential,’ and once again County Executive Latimer and the Board of Legislators have recognized the significance of nature, history and recreation. As the construction of the County’s historic investment in Playland continues, we look toward other park facilities that have suffered from underinvestment in the past. We are focused on rebuilding and restoring our nationally-accredited parks system, and we are appreciative of the support we receive.”
The Budget has $1.3 million for the Human Rights Commission, money that will be used to fund an additional investigator.
Human Rights Commission Executive Director Tejash Sanchala said: “We are constantly striving to do more, to be more of a presence in the community. The number of cases that the Human Rights Commission handles has increased significantly in recent years and the addition of another investigator will enable the Commission to more efficiently process and adjudicate complaints of discrimination in employment, housing, places of public accommodations and in certain hate-related matters. I want to thank County Executive Latimer and the Board of Legislators for recognizing the need in the community.”
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.
Youth Bureau Executive Director Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden said: “Investments in the Youth Bureau, and its partners, have been consistent and robust. Children, youth and families have access to far more services, supports and opportunities resultant of financial and technical assistance from this administration. We thank County Executive Latimer and the Board of Legislators for taking action through this Budget to support critical initiatives, to include the Invest in Kids programs. The dollars in the 2023 Budget will go towards the overall well-being of thousands of children, youth and families.”