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Legislators Worry Westchester Budget Borrows Too Much

Several members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, including Catherine Parker, D-Rye, are concerned that County Executive Rob Astorino’s proposed 2015 budget will not be balanced without borrowing from the future.
Several members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, including Catherine Parker, D-Rye, are concerned that County Executive Rob Astorino’s proposed 2015 budget will not be balanced without borrowing from the future. Photo Credit: File Photo.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Several members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators are concerned that County Executive Rob Astorino’s proposed 2015 budget will not be balanced without borrowing from the future.

The biggest problems found in Astorino’s proposed budget, according to a report recently released by the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, include the following:

  • Operating expenses are not fully funded by operating revenue.
  • The budget “raids” funds that consumers pay on their cellphone bills for 911 service.
  • Cumulative borrowing to pay for ongoing operating expenses is more than $100 million, with interest costs of over $20 million.
  • Short-term projects will be funded through long-term debt.

“The CBAC report clearly supports what I have been saying all along: There is too much borrowing for operational expenses in the proposed budget,” Legislator Peter Harckham, D-North Salem, said in a press release.

Legislator Catherine Parker, D-Rye, said in her former elected role as a Rye City Council member, she would have never voted for such a budget.

“As a new legislator, I find it very disconcerting that the proposed budget has a significant amount of borrowing to cover operating expenses such as vehicle purchases, payment of tax refunds and other regular and ongoing expenses,” Parker said in a press release.

Legislator Alfreda Williams, D-Greenburgh, says she is especially concerned that the budget does not adequately address the needs of county employees earning less than $50,000 per year.

“This 2015 budget, which the administration touts as a ‘no tax increase’ budget, clearly represents reckless financial action that mortgages our children’s future and also jeopardizes the near future of our own generation, since we will have to begin paying for this in the next three to five years,” Williams said in a press release.

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