(WHITE PLAINS, NY) In response to County Executive Rob Astorino’s 2015 State of the County Address, the Democrats on the Board of Legislators issued a taxpayer “report card” for County government’s past performance.  The Democratic response, given by Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), laid out specific examples of how their actions have already benefited Westchester residents and articulated the failures of the Astorino administration on behalf of county taxpayers.

“We have found ways to save money by being smarter about how we spend,” Borgia said in the speech.  “Our top priority is making sure that every dollar goes as far as possible to do more for everyone in Westchester.  Our caucus will continue to stand up for a brighter future for Westchester and resist irresponsible policies that fall short of achieving the high marks that taxpayers deserve.”

Legislator Lyndon Williams (D-Mt. Vernon, Majority Whip) added, “Although the outcome of the process to build new water treatment facilities is satisfactory, it did not come easy. The County was engaged in litigation that potentially could have resulted in fines of $37,500 per day from 2012 until the final court proceedings ended. If the case ended in 2016, the penalties could have mounted to $82 million. In addition, if the county lost the court battle, it would still have to build a water filtration infrastructure which was estimated to cost $100 million”

Legislator Ben Boykin (D-White Plains) said, “Our ability to save the taxpayers money as we prepare to build new water treatment facilities has already shown that an inclusive approach is better for taxpayers than a confrontational one.  The resolution of this dispute proves that we can preserve basic services such as providing clean drinking water and save the taxpayers money by being smarter about how it is used.”

Legislator Peter Harckham (D-North Salem) said, “Too often the County Executive has made politically driven budget decisions that are penny wise and pound foolish, and ultimately these decisions will cost taxpayers in the long run. The County Executive borrowed tens of millions of dollars for his 2015 budget, artificially arriving at a 0% increase. It is time for the County Executive to start discussing paying for the real costs of delivering services and making the investments in our people and our infrastructure to create jobs, grow our economy and keep Westchester the great place it is to live and raise families for future generations.”

Legislator Catherine Parker (D-Rye) said, “Many of the environmental initiatives that have already saved county taxpayers money are results of effort from the Board of Legislators.  Families have taken steps, including purchasing fuel-efficient and electric vehicles, to reduce their carbon footprints as a way of helping the environment and also reducing costs.  I’m glad to see Westchester County finally benefitting from the same savings.”

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings) explained, “You cannot have a modern economy or society without safe roads and bridges.  Layoffs of key personnel in the Department of Public Works have resulted in massive backlogs of capital projects.  This administration has a long way to go before we can say that Westchester’s infrastructure, including its roads and bridges, is in acceptable condition.”

Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh) stated, “The Astorino administration’s record on child care and other human service issues is abysmal.  By failing to fund proven successful programs with Invest-In-Kids funding that was allocated, we are inviting bad results and setting up taxpayers to foot the bill in years to come.  The Board of Legislators has put forward reasonable solutions multiple times to fund these programs in a cost-efficient way.”

Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) added, “It should be clear that the Astorino administration has failed to reduce property taxes; failed to protect the County’s credit rating and has cost Westchester communities over $20 million dollars in lost Federal funds.   Astorino’s 2015 Budget is currently running a $4 million deficit with no clue how to pay for a potential contract settlement with Westchester County's largest union.  Westchester families deserve more than a minimal level of fractured services while they pay one of  the highest property taxes in the nation.”  

Democratic Response: Click here to watch video | Click here for text