County Dems Air Concerns Over Astorino's Proposed 2013 Budget

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(From L to R) Westchester legislators Peter Harckhman (D-Katonah) and William Ryan (D-White Plains) react to County Executive Robert Astorino's budget proposal Wednesday. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Westchester's Democratic county legislators said they have “guarded optimism and concern” about the 2013 budget proposal revealed Wednesday by County Executive Robert Astorino.

“We certainly agree with County Executive Astorino that, moving forward, there should be a budget that doesn’t increase taxes or jeopardize the county’s triple A bond rating,” Kenneth Jenkins (D-Yonkers), chair of the county Board of Legislators, said in a statement.

Astorino said his proposed budget protects the county’s tripe A credit ratings by not dipping into its reserves to close the projected $85 million budget gap. Having also taken tax increases off the table, Astorino cut 189 jobs in his proposal to save $37 million.

Jenkins took issue with that workforce reduction, as well as borrowing $35 million of the $91 million in employee pension costs in 2013 through the state’s pension amortization program and bonding $13 million of tax certioraris.   

“Westchester County has never bonded for tax certioraris, and the practice has caused great problems for places like Nassau County,” Jenkins said.

All legislators will begin reviewing the 6,000 lines of the budget, which they must finalize by Dec. 27. Before then, they will hold three budget hearings.

“In the weeks ahead, we’ll be holding meetings and public hearings in order to make sure that our taxpayers, our Westchester families and businesses, have plenty of opportunity to make their concerns and ideas about the budget known. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are up to it.”

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