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White Plains, NY — On Monday night, the Westchester County Board of Legislators convened its seventh meeting of the year and voted on several crucial legislative items. Notably, they approved a $2 million bond act to support flood mitigation, implemented measures to bring new affordable housing to the Village of Ossining, and allocated funds to establish a financial empowerment center in Mount Vernon. These initiatives demonstrate the Board's dedication to addressing critical community issues and improving public services.

Chair Vedat Gashi (D - New Castle, Ossining, Somers, Yorktown) said, "This Board has demonstrated a significant commitment to expanding affordable housing, combatting the impact of climate change such as flood mitigation and helping to make Westchester more affordable for our seniors. At this meeting, through our collective efforts, working with County Executive George Latimer and our County’s hard working staff, we were able to make tangible progress on all these areas. We are proud of the work we accomplished today and our contribution towards building a better future for Westchester County.”

Flood Mitigation

The County's efforts to address the increasing impact of flooding on residents, businesses, and infrastructure have received a significant boost with the recent passing of a $2 million bond act by the Board of Legislators. The funding will support planning for watershed-based flood mitigation measures and grant application materials. While some areas are already covered under the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Resilient NY program, this new funding will enable the County to take a more comprehensive approach and address flooding in other affected regions as well.

Legislator Erika Pierce (D- Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers) Public Works & Transportation Chair said, “Westchester County continues to play a critical role in helping our communities address flooding. The County’s BPL26 program assists our towns by developing, in collaboration with them, a prioritized list of flooding mitigation projects, plus the specific designs and paperwork the towns require to be able to apply for funding needed to move these projects along.”

Affordable Housing

The Board approved two additional measures, demonstrating their commitment to support affordable housing initiatives in Westchester County. The first is a Land Acquisition Act, to authorize the purchase and conveyance of 3.42 acres of real estate in the Village of Ossining for the creation of 109 Affordable Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) units, which will remain affordable for at least 50 years. The second measure is the New Homes Land Acquisition Bond Act, which authorizes the issuance of bonds to finance this acquisition, with the total cost of the development project estimated at $89.2 million, to be funded from sources including Tax Exempt Bonds, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and subsidies from State and County entities.

Legislator Shanae Williams (D- Yonkers) said, “As Chair of Housing and Planning, I am proud of what we have accomplished so far this year. Affordable housing remains a priority for us and we have successfully approved over one thousand new affordable housing units in the Westchester County in 2024. However, we recognize that there is more to do. I look forward to continuing our diligent efforts to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing.

Legislator Emiljana Ulaj (D- Cortlandt, Ossining, Croton, Briarcliff, Buchanan) Labor and Human Rights Chair said, “I am thrilled for the County to continue investing in affordable housing development in Ossining. As a region, we are in a severe housing crisis, and the only way to help alleviate the pressure on the housing market is for us to continue to build more units. I commend County Executive George Latimer, Board Chair Vedat Gashi, and my Board colleagues, for continuing to prioritize affordable housing development as a critical piece of our work."

Financial Empowerment

The Board has greenlighted a pivotal collaboration with the City of Mount Vernon to establish a Financial Empowerment Center Initiative (FECI) at 130 Mount Vernon Avenue. The FECI will provide professional financial counseling services to County residents, overseen by the City of Mount Vernon. The City will manage program implementation and staff. The County will furnish the space, personnel, equipment, and supplies to support the initiative. The County will be reimbursed by the City of Mount Vernon for security costs. In order to expand access to financial counseling, the City may sub-license services to Mercy University. This two-year agreement underscores the County’s commitment to the financial well-being of all Westchester residents.

Legislator Nancy Barr (D - Harrison, Port Chester, Rye Brook) Human Services Chair said, “I am always looking for new ways to bring services to our residents that do not have a significant impact on taxpayers. The IMA between the County and the City of Mount Vernon will provide the City with ample, modern space for its program and will open up professional financial literacy counseling to residents throughout the County. Sharing services and spaces is a cost effective way to provide more people with the services that will help them to succeed.”

Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson (D - Elmsford, Greenburgh, Tarrytown, White Plains) Budget & Appropriations Chair said, “"Yesterday marked a significant step forward in our commitment to safeguarding and enhancing the lives of our community members. With the approval of $2 million for grant submission preparedness and planning, we are being strategic and this funding will empower us to tackle the urgent challenge of flood mitigation, ensuring our neighborhoods are safer and more resilient. We also approved funds for a new development in Ossining, which will expand affordable housing options. This adds to the goal of making sure every resident has a place to call home. With the introduction of a comprehensive financial literacy program available to all who live in Westchester, we are investing in the financial health and empowerment of all our residents. Together, these initiatives represent a holistic approach addressing immediate and long-term needs of our county, reinforcing our dedication to a thriving, inclusive, and prosperous community."

Watch the 2-Minute Board Meeting Recap HERE