Speaker and audience at the November 16, 20223 2024 Budget Public Input Session

White Plains, NY — On Thursday night, the Board of Legislators held the first of three opportunities for the public to engage in the 2024 budget process at a public input session at the Warner Library in Tarrytown. The event went from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., with close to 60 speakers representing organizations that rely on funding from the County to implement their programs.

Three areas of advocacy and programming were consistently represented across the organizations in attendance, including child/family advocacy, protection against homelessness, and the arts.

picture of man holding sign at public input session

Among those in attendance were Childcare Council of Westchester and the Westchester Children’s Association, focused on child/family advocacy and childcare subsidies. Mount Vernon United Tenants and the Legal Aid Society, advocacy organizations to assist tenants in eviction protection to avoid homelessness, were also present, as well as youth-centric organizations Safe Haven Mount Vernon and the Youth Bureau. In addition, ArtsWestchester joined, along with individual arts and culture organizations like Bethany Arts Community and Songcatchers of New Rochelle, the latter of which provides affordable access to music lessons for children and families.

picture of legislators listening to speakers at public input session

Board Chair Vedat Gashi (D - New Castle, Somers, Yorktown) said, “This annual process of holding Public Input sessions is how we create a dialogue with our community based organizations and better understand their needs. This is us being responsive to our constituents regarding the upcoming budget. It doesn’t just take a Village, it takes a County to ensure that we are listening, learning and responding in a proactive way.”

Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson (D - Elmsford, Greenburgh, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, White Plains), Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee said, “The Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Board place a high importance on community engagement and recognize it as pivotal for well-functioning democracy. I look forward to and encourage participation in the input sessions as they can lead to more equitable, sustainable public decisions that have the potential to improve the livability of our local communities."

The session was live-streamed on Facebook, as will be the next two sessions. To view Thursday night’s video, go to https://www.facebook.com/westchesterlegislators/

The second Public Input session is tonight, November 20, at 7:00 p.m. at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center, 480 North Bedford Rd. in Chappaqua, followed by the Public Budget Hearing on December 6 at 7 p.m. in the Board Chamber, 148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor, White Plains. We invite you to attend in person or watch live on Facebook.