(WHITE PLAINS, NY) Westchester Legislators passed a bi-partisan 2018 budget by a vote of 12 to 5. This budget funds a functioning government while attempting to address the fiscal mess and long-term budget hole of over $100M left by the outgoing Astorino Administration.

The budget includes funding for cost-effective social programs as well as vital parks curators, engineers, and other County staff needed to keep government running at the level depended upon by Westchester residents. The budget also includes a bi-partisan 2% boost in revenues – less than half of the allotted tax cap of 4.4%. These funds are needed to help cover the over $30M of fictitious revenue included by the Astorino Administration’s budget proposal which the County’s independent auditors advised the Board of Legislators to delete.

“Our financial situation is not a pretty one, but I am proud this legislature was able to come together in a bi-partisan manner to pass a budget that manages the County’s finances responsibly for the people of Westchester,” said Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining). “We just received another negative outlook from the credit rating agencies; we needed to get real with our finances and the proposal given to us was far from that.”

“Due to eight years of ideological cuts to services County residents rely on, the work of community based organizations in Westchester are more important than ever,” said Majority Whip Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh). “This budget, while seriously flawed, restores funding that allows us to do the work that County residents rely on.”

“Years of fiscal mismanagement have put our County in an untenable position,” said Legislator Ben Boykin (D-White Plains). “As we heard from our independent auditors and the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, the issues just keep getting worse. I am happy we reached an agreement with legislators from both sides of the aisle to get to work on this mess.”

“Just upon our receipt, this budget included a $29M hole as the airport deal was rejected by this legislature, the voters, and financial auditors,” said Legislator Catherine Parker (D-Rye). “For the Astorino Administration to include it in its budget once again – while just showing us the details – is an insult to the people of Westchester.”

“We have a $1.6B capital project backlog – meaning our roads and bridges are crumbling,” said Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson). “For the proposed budget to cut engineers and planning staff was unconscionable and would have cost taxpayers much more in the long run. We need to get Westchester back to work and that means rebuilding our infrastructure. To do that, we desperately needed to restore these vital jobs.”

“These budget flaws by the outgoing administration left what amounts to a large unpaid credit card bill that the Board of Legislators had to pay from the County’s savings account (fund balance) and a 2% tax increase,” said Legislator Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon). “I’m proud that both Democrats and Republicans on the Board took on our responsibility of fixing this budget seriously. It is never perfect, but the job was done.”

“The Astorino Administration sent us a budget that ignored the continued warnings of both independent fiscal analysts and the people of Westchester,” said Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers). “This budget is the best of a bad situation. There is a lot of work to be done to get our fiscal house in order while restoring the ability to do more of the great work Westchester County government can do.”

Click here for Final Budget Agreement