WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- County Executive Robert Astorino and Democratic challenger Noam Bramson, mayor of New Rochelle, both believe they have the best tax plan for Westchester.
Astorino in a meeting with The Daily Voice, touted his record of decreasing taxes and spending since he took office in 2010
Taxes have decreased two percent and spending has decreases five percent in real dollars since 2010, Astorino said.
"We are the only county in all of New York to have a budget that is less today than it was three years ago," Astorino said. "We did this in a reasonable and responsible way."
Astorino said the county is providing more services in a cost efficient way.
"We don't throw money at a problem, which doesn't benefit anyone," Astorino said. "You can be a good manager and still have a good heart."
Astorino has also reduced county staff by 17 percent, and gotten employees to contribute to health care costs.
"The fact that taxpayers were paying 100 percent of county employees health care while they were working and in retirement is unsustainable and unfair," Astorino said.
According to Astorino, taxes are the single biggest complaint he hears about when he visits New Rochelle.
"People can't afford to live there," Astorino said. "That's what people can expect if Noam Bramson gets elected. He's been doing it for years. It's his philosophy. I respect it, but I don't agree."
Bramson's campaign defended the mayor's record on taxes claiming that New Rochelle has the lowest taxes of any similar city in Westchester.
"In Noam's 18-years of public service in Westchester, taxes have remained lower than any similar city in Westchester," Barry Caro, a spokesman for Bramson said.
Caro said they are not impressed with Astorino's tax record. While county taxes have remained low, Astorino has done nothing to bring down other aspects of people's tax bill like school or municipal taxes.
"In his four years in office, residents have paid out more than $800 million in property taxes," Caro said.
While Astorino has kept taxes low, he did it by borrowing $48 million, the equivalent of a nine- or 10-percent tax increase, Caro said.
"That's not the right way to reduce taxes," Caro said.
Bramson would work to introduce more sharing of services in Westchester, getting municipalities and school districts to sign on.
"There is a great willingness to work together collaboratively," Caro said. "It should be the county's job to craft agreements people would say yes to. The county executive hasn't done it. He hasn't given them the option."
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