White Plains, NY — On Friday, the Board of Legislators began the process of approving tax relief for Westchester property owners this year because of the coronavirus epidemic.

The measure under consideration by the Board represents a modification of proposed legislation introduced by County Executive George Latimer. The modifications came at the request of a consortium of Westchester’s Town Supervisors.

The proposed legislation would give Westchester’s towns the authority to reduce penalties for late payments of County and Town property taxes, as well as County district taxes, through July 15, 2020.

Town and County property taxes and assessments are due April 30.

Under the proposed measure, penalties for late payments from May 1-May 31 would be half a percent, instead of the current two percent. If taxes are paid in June or in July through July 15, penalties would be one percent, instead of the current five percent rate.

The measure would give towns a tool they can fairly and uniformly apply to all taxpayers immediately, without creating the need for new paperwork or procedures for taxpayers seeking relief. Towns will have the ability to opt out of the program if they choose.

The County law does not apply to Westchester’s cities which have their own authority to set rates and do not need a change in County law to adjust penalties.

The measure was passed out of the Board’s Legislation and Budget and Appropriations Committees today, and a public hearing will be opened next week (see below for public hearing procedure).

Board Chair Ben Boykin, (D- White Plains, Scarsdale, Harrison), said, "We will be dealing with the public health and the economic toll of this pandemic for a long time, but with tax deadlines approaching, we need to act quickly to help property owners now."

Leg. Catherine Borgia, (D - Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill), chair of the Board's Budget and Appropriations Committee, said, "The need to provide relief to taxpayers is urgent. It is also urgent that we work across all levels of government to find solutions that are cooperatively arrived at, capable of being implemented, and fair. This solution, which represents the preference of our Town Supervisors, does just that."

Leg. Kitley Covill, (D-Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers), chair of the Board's Legislation Committee, said, "This may be the beginning of legislation we will consider in response to the coronavirus outbreak. We will need to act swiftly, but also continue to provide essential oversight and work to make sure laws we pass can be helpful and lawful. I am glad that we’re able to work with the towns’ leadership to find a measure that helps taxpayers and gives towns flexibility."


Pursuant to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.1, all in-person public access to Board meetings and Committee meetings is suspended.

The Board will open a public hearing on the measure at 7:30 p.m. during the Board’s next regularly scheduled, on Tuesday, April 14. The public hearing will remain open to receive written comment until Friday, April 17, at 5 p.m. All written comments will be considered by the Board and entered into the public record. Responses to the public hearing may be emailed to BOLpublichearingcomments@westchestergov.com or sent by mail ATTN: Clerk of the Board of Legislators, 148 Martine Ave., 8th Floor, White Plains, NY 10601.

For text of the legislation and documents relating to the setting of the public hearing, visit https://westchestercountyny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=5814&MediaPosition=&ID=12597&CssClass=