RE: Release of the County Executives FY10 Executive Budget

11/16/2009 11:55:47 AM

 

 

The County Executive has delivered to the Board of Legislators his proposed County budget for fiscal year 2010.  Considering the weak economy, more and more residents relying on County programs and services for basic needs, the reduction of sales tax and other revenue to the County, and taxpayers asking for property tax relief, this could not have been an easy budget to put together.  I appreciate his efforts and those of the Budget Department. 

 

The Legislature’s analysis of the County Executive’s proposed budget begins today and as we work through this process with the Administration we must look for the best opportunities to streamline, cut costs and improve the organization of our county government operation.  We must make our best effort to do more with less. 

 

The time has come for government to work smarter, become more efficient and less expensive.  This needs to be the objective of government at every level: federal, state, county and local, and every form: general purpose, school districts, authorities and special districts.  Westchester County government should immediately accept this challenge and be a model for other units of government to follow.  If others are reluctant, Westchester County should lead by example. 

 

County government should help our localities streamline and reduce costs by consolidating functions and programs, centralizing operations and delivering services regionally as needed.  If the Westchester community with all of its taxing jurisdictions is going to be in the national headlines each year, let it not be for having the highest combined property tax bill in America, but let it be for real progress and innovation in service delivery and cost containment. 

 

I know that property taxes are too high in Westchester.  In these tough economic times, we can’t afford to pay more taxes.  Overburdened taxpayers look at their tax bills for schools, local and county government, and plead for property tax relief.  I also know that the law requires the county to care for people most in need.  Our budget decisions cannot place an unfair burden on those who have the least and we cannot balance the budget on the backs of our working families.  We must do a better job balancing the delivery of essential services with the need to cut costs.  We look forward to working with the Administration on a budget that will preserve the core services that are critically important to many Westchester residents.

 

Over a year ago, the bottom fell out of the national economy with the financial and banking sector hardest hit.   Wall Street’s woes became Main Street’s problem.  Westchester County government, the administrative arm of the State for service delivery, has worked through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and we have remained financially strong and stable.  But, the financial crisis has forced all of us in government to assess our priorities.  The Board of Legislators takes seriously the importance of doing so at this critical point in time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RE: Release of the County Executives FY10 Executive Budget

11/16/2009 12:01:00 PM

 

 

We are looking forward to a cooperative working relationship between the Legislature and the Administration. In this climate of cost saving and economic cautiousness, nothing is off the table. The County must – and will – continue to look for creative ideas for service delivery and additional savings. 

 

The financial crisis has forced all of us in government to assess our priorities, so that going forward we can continue to minimize the impact that cuts will have on essential services.  Through this series of oversight meetings, we are demonstrating both how serious this process is and how committed the Board of Legislators is in helping shape the important decisions that will be made over the coming weeks. 

 

It’s imperative that we take a responsible approach to balancing our budget.  We must make sure we protect the county’s quality of life, and ensure that we continue to move in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11/16/2009 3:02:27 PM

 

 

Legislator George Oros joined MTA Metro-North President Howard Permut, Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi and State Assemblywoman Sandra Galef at a groundbreaking ceremony at the Cortlandt Train Station to mark the start of construction for expanded facilities at the station, including an extended overpass and new elevated waiting areas, a new western parking lot and an access road connecting to a new Route 9A intersection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearings will help shape County budget; Board is determined to maintain fiscal conservation

11/17/2009 10:30:01 AM

 

What:  

 

 

Westchester County Board Chairman William J. Ryan (D, WFP-White Plains) and the Board’s Budget and Appropriations Chairman Jose I. Alvarado (D, WFP-Yonkers) today announced the schedule for a series of public oversight meetings following the release of the County Executive’s FY2010 Operating Budget
 

 

 

Who: 

 

 

Speakers to attend are (still in formation):

 

  • Legislator Jose Alvarado (D, WFP-Yonkers), Chair – Committee on Budget and Appropriations
  • Various agency and/or department heads
  • Members of the Legislature

 

Where:  

 

 

Board of Legislator’s Committee Room, 8th floor
Westchester County Office Building
800 Michaelian Office Building
148 Martine Avenue (corner of Court Street)
White Plains, New York 10601
 

 

 

When: 

 

 

Click here for dates and times for each oversight meeting
 

 

 

Why: 

 

 

The Office of Management and Budget formulates an annual budget for the coming year for the administration. That proposed budget is then forwarded to members of the Legislature for review. The budget is then reviewed by members of the Legislature. They, in turn, either accept the administration’s budget as is, or they make recommendations for changes to the budget. Those changes, as well as the administration’s proposed budget are aired during a public hearing. At that time, members of the public, as well as department heads and managers, are welcome to discuss the proposed budget.  A majority of the Legislature (10 members) must vote in favor of the budget and amendments if there are any, for the budget to be adopted. The County Executive then has 10 days in which to sign the budget/amended budget.

 

 

 

I heard the taxpayers loud and clear, so my goal here is to get the County Executives proposed tax increase down to zero.

11/17/2009 1:34:08 PM

 

 

“The taxpayers have spoken.  We must do better,” said Westchester County Legislator and Board Vice Chairman Michael B. Kaplowitz (D-I, Somers), today after receiving the County Executive’s 2010 proposed County Budget, which put forth a 4.88% property tax increase.  A number that Kaplowitz, a Certified Financial Planner and immediate past chairman of the Legislature’s Budget & Appropriations Committee, said is simply “Unacceptable.”  

 

“These are very tough economic times.  People have lost – or are in fear of losing – their jobs, many have depleted their savings and/or retirement accounts, and are simply maxed out on property taxes,” Kaplowitz stated.

 

According to Kaplowitz, bringing the budget to a 0% tax increase would require $26 million in cuts.  “It will not be an easy time for this legislature over the coming weeks.  Some difficult decisions will have to be made.  But if we are going to get this number down, everyone is going to have to sacrifice,” said Kaplowitz.  “We must share the pain in order to share the gain.  That means ratcheting down government expenses to meet reduced revenues.”

 

Kaplowitz’ proposed cuts will be released at a later date.