White Plains, NY - The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Budget and Appropriations Committee made their additions to County Executive Rob Astorino’s proposed 2015 budget. The Budget and Appropriations Committee will make their corresponding deletions to the budget and then release the final budget report on Friday.

In what Legislators described as a productive and bipartisan, all-day negotiation, a number of important issues were hammered out including an increase to the subsidized childcare program, added capital projects to improve infrastructure and the restoration of some Curator positions at the County’s nature preserves.

BOL Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D) Somers, attributed the productive negotiations to bipartisan cooperation which has been his primary objective since becoming BOL Chair almost one year ago. “While we have quite a bit of work left in this budget process, I am encouraged by our progress at this point. We’ve been able to reach agreement on some of the more difficult issues in the budget and I am hopeful that by the end of the week, we will have a budget that all or at least most of our members will support.”

Legislator Sheila Marcotte (R) Eastchester, New Rochelle, Tuckahoe is Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, “I thank the many department heads, Commissioners and county government staff members who have appeared before the Budget and Appropriations Committee in the last two weeks. Their input has enabled us to work with the County Executive and our colleagues on the Board to reach consensus on some of the more difficult issues in the 2015 budget.” Marcotte added, “There will be a lot of tough decisions to be made before the Budget and Appropriations Committee delivers a final budget report to the entire Board for consideration but I think we’ve made great strides toward a good final result.”

Legislator Catherine Borgia (D) Ossining, the Majority Leader said, “There will certainly be elements of this budget that we wish would go farther in addressing the needs of our working families through programs like childcare funding and community health centers however through this process we have secured commitments from the County executive to address some of the deficiencies in the provision of some important services. One of those commitments is that the county will provide funding to hire the necessary staff to ensure that we are serving an optimal number of children and families in our childcare program by marketing that service to families who are not aware of its existence.”

Legislator John Testa (R) Cortlandt, Peekskill, Yorktown is the Minority Leader. Following the committee vote, Legislator Testa said, “We recognize that this is just the first step in the budget process but we appreciate the spirit of cooperation we’ve experienced so far and we will continue to look out for the taxpayers of Westchester while also looking to provide services to the most vulnerable residents of the county.”

The BOL will host a public hearing on the budget and additions on Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. in the BOL Chambers.

The Budget and Appropriations Committee will issue its final report sometime on Friday with the entire BOL voting on the final budget Act in a Special Meeting of the BOL which has been called for Tuesday, December 9th at 10:00 a.m.