WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has proposed a $1.8 billion budget that does not raise the county’s tax levy for the eighth straight year.
The proposed spending plan “preserves essential services (and) maintains the safety net for the county’s neediest residents.” It holds expenses flat while increasing spending by less than 1 percent.
The tax levy remains at $548 million. According to Astorino, if the county had raised the tax levy even 2 percent, it would have cost Westchester taxpayers an estimated $1,700 during Astorino’s administration. He said that Westchester’s tax levy went up 60 percent in the eight years prior to him taking office.
“I made a promise to protect taxpayers, and I have kept it,” he said when announcing the proposed budget. “In doing so, much-needed money has stayed in the pockets of individuals, families and, in particular, seniors across Westchester.”
Funding for the Department of Social Services rises $8.5 million to $598 million under the proposal, with funding for daycares getting $2 million more, up to $37 million total. Funding for non-profits and libraries will remain steady and all of the Bee-Line Bus System’s routes will remain unaltered.
Fees for county golf courses will increase $1 on weekdays and $2 on weekends, and tuition at Westchester Community College will not be raised for the fifth consecutive year.
The largest expenditure for Westchester taxpayers remains county workers, who cost approximately $635 million - 35 percent, though Astorino said that since coming into office, he “has worked to control the cost of fringe benefits by negotiating contracts that require employees to pay a portion of their health insurance.”
With the budget proposed, it now goes to the Board of Legislators, where it will require 12 votes for approval.
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