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Democrats React To Astorino's State Of Westchester County Address

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The ink was barely dry on Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino's 28-page "state of the county address.'' The second-term Republican from Hawthorne hadn't even delivered his fifth annual speech when eight of 10 Democrats who help comprise a majority of the 17-member Board of Legislators emailed a response Wednesday evening.

Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz introduced Astorino, who credited the Democrat from Somers with helping restore a constructive, bipartisan relationship between the two co-equal branches of government. "Mike and I don't agree on every issue,'' Astorino said. "But where we disagree, we have built a relationship that allows us to come to the middle on our differences."

On Thursday, Kaplowitz issued his own video response on behalf of the entire Board of Legislators. (See separate Daily Voice story here.)

Also in attendance were Democratic Legislators Catherine Parker of Rye and Lyndon Williams of Mount Vernon. (Kaplowitz and Legislator Virginia Perez of Yonkers were the only Democrats not included in the majority's emailed response.)

The Democratic response, given by Majority Leader Catherine Borgia, D-Ossining, laid out examples of how their actions have already benefited Westchester residents, while articulating what they called failures of the Astorino administration.

“We have found ways to save money by being smarter about how we spend,” Borgia said in her speech. “Our top priority is making sure that every dollar goes as far as possible to do more for everyone in Westchester. Our caucus will continue to stand up for a brighter future for Westchester and resist irresponsible policies that fall short of achieving the high marks that taxpayers deserve.”

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky of Hastings-on-Hudson, said, “You cannot have a modern economy or society without safe roads and bridges. Layoffs of key personnel in the Department of Public Works have resulted in massive backlogs of capital projects."

Legislator Peter Harckham of North Salem said, “The county executive borrowed tens of millions of dollars for his 2015 budget, artificially arriving at a 0 percent increase."

Legislator Parker said, “Many of the environmental initiatives that have already saved county taxpayers money are results of effort from the Board of Legislators."

Legislator Alfreda Williams of Greenburgh said, “The Astorino administration’s record on child care and other human service issues is abysmal."

Legislator Ken Jenkins of Yonkers added, “It should be clear that the Astorino administration has failed to reduce property taxes; failed to protect the County’s credit rating and has cost Westchester communities over $20 million dollars in lost federal funds."

Legislator Williams , who is majority whip, said, “Although the outcome of the process to build new water treatment facilities is satisfactory, it did not come easy. The County was engaged in litigation that potentially could have resulted in fines of $37,500 per day from 2012 until the final court proceedings ended."

Legislator Ben Boykin of White Plains said, “Our ability to save the taxpayers money as we prepare to build new water treatment facilities has already shown that an inclusive approach is better for taxpayers than a confrontational one."

Earlier Daily Voice coverage of Astorino's speech can be found here.

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