Latimer Signs 2022 Westchester County Budget
Westchester County Executive George Latimer has signed the 2022 Westchester County Budget officially cutting the County Property tax levy by $7 million dollars. This is the third County property tax cut in a row for Latimer, and the largest cut in over a decade.
Latimer said, “This is an important budget, its represents the third consecutive year we have cut County property taxes. This budget cuts the levy of $7M, totaling $9M over the last three years. I thank the Westchester County Board of Legislators for their hard work on this budget. I am proud of this budget and proud that through smart and innovative budgeting, we have been able to cut taxes responsibly again, find new revenue sources, save and provide needed services to County residents. We are committed to doing right by the people of Westchester County – and that is exactly what we have done.”
Latimer’s 2022 County Budget totals $2.2 billion while restoring fiscal stability. The County is closing 2021 with a $64 million operating surplus.
The 2022 budget contains a total of $38.9 million for childcare subsidies. An increase of $10.2 million from 2021 levels ($28.7 million).
• Expanded income eligibility up to 85% of State Median Wage.
— from $73k for a family of 4 previously, to $89k now.
• Reduced the parent contribution from 27 to 10 percent of income above the poverty level, a 63 percent decrease.
• Increased provider rates.
Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc. Executive Director Kathy Halas said, “We applaud both the County Executive and his team and the Westchester County Board of Legislators for this historic investment in childcare. It represents a belief that access to affordable, safe, quality childcare benefits children, parents, employers, in fact all of us. Westchester County is leading the way on this critical economic issue.”
Under the 2022 Budget, over 2,000 permanent jobs will continue to be supported by the County. Latimer said none of these strides would be possible without our partners in the construction industry.
Business Council of Westchester President & CEO Dr. Marsha Gordon said, “The Business Council of Westchester appreciates Westchester County Executive George Latimer’s commitment to fiscal restraint as the nation and our County continue to recover from the pandemic downturn. We particularly applaud the County Executive for cutting the County property tax levy by $7 million. This is the third year in a row that Latimer has cut the tax levy, an essential measure in helping our residents and business owners survive the past two years of crisis. His proposed 2022 budget embraces many recommendations suggested in our Economic Recovery Task Force reports we provided him earlier this year.”
Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health Commissioner Michael Orth said: “Through the foresight of County Executive Latimer, and the collaboration of our department and colleague departments, as well as our various partners in the community, Project Alliance will create a first-of-its-kind seamless system of crisis response. Through Project Alliance, our community members, law enforcement personnel and service providers will become safer and better connected.”
The Department of Public Safety total budget is $52.8 million – the largest in County history. The budget will add Spanish-speaking patrol officers, a result of the County administering a police officer exam for Spanish speaking officers in March 2021.
Westchester County Public Safety Commissioner Tom Gleason said, “This budget allows the Westchester County Police to maintain our full staffing levels and fill vacancies that occurred during the year due to retirements. I am grateful to the County Executive and Board of Legislators for fully funding our department and enabling us to provide the police services that keep people safe.”
The budget funds the County’s ever-popular Household Recycling Day. Four HRD days are planned for 2022. Pre-COVID, DEF hosted two HRD events and residents delivered nearly 275,000 pounds of household waste, and approximately 37,000 pounds of documents for shredding.
Additionally, major improvements are planned for the Mamaroneck and Yonkers wastewater recovery facilities in 2022. $37.5 million is included for Mamaroneck for a variety of improvements including nitrogen and phosphorus removal to protect the Long Island Sound, emergency power systems and odor control. At Yonkers, $22.6 million is included primarily for additional odor control measures and the completion of the methane recapture project that will allow the facility to generate approximately 70 percent of its energy needs.
Additionally, Westchester County Parks saw unprecedented demand during the pandemic and the County Executive has continued his commitment to improve and enhance this vital County resource. The County Executive’s budget also includes $4 million to begin the process of re-imagining the Westchester County Center. The County Center has not had a major improvement since the 1980’s, and an examination of the entertainment space is needed especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Within the Westchester County Parks System, a combined $45 million has been allocated for structural improvements to the Ice Casino at Playland and Playland Amusement Park.
Westchester County Board of Legislators Chair Ben Boykin noted, “In the past four years, we have brought this County a long way. We’ve restored Westchester’s financial health. We’ve cut the County’s property tax levy three years in a row, while rebuilding the County’s savings. We’ve made historic investments in roads, bridges, parks, and technology. But most importantly, we have invested in Westchester’s greatest resource — its people. The 2022 budgets put people first and invest in their future, with historic commitments to childcare, affordable housing, and human services; with creative use of ARPA funds to support small landlords and improve Westchester’s housing stock. I want to thank the County Executive and his team, as well as my colleagues and the staff of the Board of Legislators for setting a bold example for what we can do with the right values and the right leadership.”