October 15, 2018 – Westchester County Executive George Latimer has sent to the Westchester County Board of Legislators the 2019 proposed County Capital Budget.  The Program is focused on reducing the County’s backlog of capital projects, while also advancing the County’s infrastructure.

Latimer said: “This County Capital Budget is focused on cleaning up the backlog of projects that have piled up for years.  Important work needs to be done around the County and I am focused on getting these projects approved, designed and completed.  The County is under serious financial stress but we are doing our best to move these projects and the County forward.”

This Capital budget proposes an additional $172.3 million in new appropriations for 2019, including $89.6 million for the general fund, $65 million for the sewer and water districts and $13.7 for the refuse district.  The majority of this additional capital appropriation was necessary to fund updated cost estimates for existing projects.  

This budget contains $10.7 million in additional funding for buildings and parking facilities, $4.9 for technology upgrades, $8.2 million for affordable housing,  $13.1 million for roads, parkways and bridges, $12 million for parks and recreation facilities, $37.9 million for public transportation,  $65 million for clean water and waste water facilities.

The Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW/T) awards in 2018 were 27 projects projected to cost $124.9 million dollars.  For 2019, the projects have risen to 31 and the projected cost is $125 million dollars. As of 1/1/2018 the County had a backlog of $1,718,752,000.00 in Capital Projects.  As of September, that amount had dropped to $1,660,925,000.00 and as of 12/31/18 the County projects that amount to be down to $1,471,007,000.00. 

In preparation for this Program, the County has been focusing on attacking the list of existing projects and only adding additional projects to the list that can actually be accomplished.  Additionally, DPW/T which has been woefully understaffed, has hired outside consultants to manage the existing and pending projects to see them through to completion and filling vacant engineering positions.

The Program is focusing on fixing the roads in the worst condition.  Along with adding contracted staff and engineers, this year’s Program also has the road projects being submitted to the Board of Legislators earlier so they are approved in time for the construction season, avoiding unnecessary delay.  Early bonding authorization for road projects is new this year, and has been restructured to have everything in place for the spring construction season. The new system has design and construction approved at the same time. The project will then go out to bid in January, as opposed to the spring as in years past, allowing the projects to begin in the spring.

The projects were prioritized by the Capital Projects Committee.  The Committee was also charged by the County Executive with streamlining the construction approval, bonding, and design and construction process.  2018 Members of the Capital Projects Committee:

  • Honorable George Latimer, County Executive (Chairman)

  • Honorable Benjamin Boykin, Chairman, County Board of Legislators

  • Honorable Catherine Borgia, Chairwomen, Committee on Budget and Appropriations, Board of Legislators

  • Lawrence C. Soule, III, Budget Director

  • Norma V. Drummond, Commissioner of Planning

  • Hugh Greechan, Jr., PE, Commissioner of Public Works and Transportation

  • Vincent Kopicki, PE, Commissioner of Environmental Facilities

  • Marguerite Beirne, Chief Information Officer

  • Kathleen O’Connor, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Conservation

In addition to the Committee, this year was the first time a County Executive solicited the opinions of the County Legislators for their input on Capital Projects in their district in advance. 

Budget Director Lawrence C. Soule, III said: “Under the direction of the County Executive, and with all the relevant departments working together as a team, we have made significant progress in streamlining the capital process, reducing the capital project backlog and prioritizing our capital program.”

Planning Commissioner Norma V. Drummond said: “Identifying the resources needed for our future facilities needs is good planning, and helps protect taxpayers from unexpected costs.”

Public Works and Transportation Commissioner Hugh Greechan, Jr., PE said: “This Capital Budget is a testament to the philosophy undertaken by County Executive Latimer as it aims to begin the process of fixing years’ worth of issues that were allowed to pile up for far too long. Thanks to the leadership shown by this County Executive, Westchester will be back on the path of responsibly rebuilding our infrastructure.”

Environmental Facilities Commissioner Vincent Kopicki, PE said: “It is the Department of Environmental Facility's (DEF) mission to operate and maintain the County's water resource recovery facilities, drinking water treatment and distribution systems and solid waste facilities.  With the help of the County Executive, we are completing existing projects and planning upgrades and additions to our facilities to continually improve treatment levels and meet regulatory requirements, while focusing on energy usage and protecting the environment.

Chief Information Officer Marguerite Beirne said: “I thank County Executive Latimer for his willingness to review all projects and focus on those that bring value to the County.”

Parks, Recreation and Conservation Commissioner Kathleen O’Connor said: “Westchester County’s park system is one to be admired. Thanks to County Executive Latimer’s Capital Project Budget, taxpayers can be assured we are hard at work maintaining the system’s beauty and structural integrity so it may continue to be an asset for all who utilize it.”

The 2019 Program focuses on:

  • Mandatory Projects
  • Consent Orders
  • Statutory Compliance
  • State of Good Repair Projects
  • Life Safety / Life Cycle
  • Updating Old Cost Estimates
  • Shovel Ready Projects
  • Design at 90%+
  • County Capital Capacity
  • DPW Workload
  • Debt Service Expense

This Program funds numerous park improvements including, Sprain Ridge main pool reconstruction, North & South County Trailways, Merestead buildings and site development, Wilson Woods site work, Tarrytown Lighthouse restoration, Playland bathhouse canopy, Blue Mountain and Mountain Lakes Dams and Glen Island Bridge Rehabilitation.  Additionally, funding is included for the replacement of the County-wide emergency communication system. Buses were authorized in prior years, but continuing to arrive through 2019.  

2019 Project Highlights

  • Airport

  • Routine Maintenance

  • Buildings

  • Michaelian Office Building Exterior Repairs, Phase IV
  • Mt Vernon DO & DO Annex Building Renovations
  • Jail Kitchen Infrastructure Rehabilitation
  • Environmental Facilities

  • Mamaroneck WRRF BNR Support Systems Upgrades
  • Mamaroneck WRRF Primary, Secondary, Heating & Chemical Handling Upgrades
  • Yonkers Joint WRRF Engine Replacement & Natural Gas Main (NYPA)
  • Parks

  • Bronx River Reservation Pathway (Crane Rd to Greenacres Ave), Scarsdale
  • Playland Parkway Pathway
  • Playland Carousel and Derby Racer Rehabilitation
  • Playland Electric Switchgear Building
  • Roads & Bridges

  • Bronx River Parkway Rehabilitation, Phase I, Yonkers
  • Bronx River Parkway Northbound Ramp over Bronx River Parkway to Cross County Parkway Westbound, Yonkers
  • Midland Avenue Bridge over Bronx River Parkway, Yonkers
  • Mamaroneck Avenue Bridge over Mamaroneck River, Mamaroneck
  • Columbus Ave Rehabilitation (CR 64), Mt. Pleasant
  • Washington Avenue Rehabilitation (CR 4 & CR 79), Pleasantville
  • Washington Street Rehabilitation (CR 92), Peekskill
  • Overhead Sign Structure Replacement