man receives binder from another on stage

Budget reduces the Westchester County tax levy by $1 million for the second year in a row.

You may also go to YouTube to watch the short video.

Read the Proposed 2021 Operating Budget

You may also go to YouTube to watch the full budget presentation.

(White Plains, NY) – In the midst of a crippling pandemic and on the heels of a listening tour around the County, Westchester County Executive George Latimer unveiled his 2021 proposed Operating Budget. The proposed 2021 Budget reduces the Westchester County tax levy by $1 million for the second year in a row. This Budget maintains all County services. The expenditures in the proposed Budget of $2.091 billion are $15.7 million below the 2020 Budget.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “This year has been extraordinarily challenging. Despite these challenges, we as a County have remained resilient and I have no doubt that working together we will emerge from this crisis stronger than before.”

The 2021 Budget includes an additional:

  • $5 million for economic development programs
  • $5 million for housing assistance programs
  • $2 million for food insecurity

Feeding Westchester President & CEO Karen C. Erren said: “We are so grateful to County Executive Latimer for continuing to recognize the need to lift our neighbors up during these challenging times. More than 300,000 county residents are currently relying on us each month, including many individuals who are facing food insecurity for the first time. Allocating $2 million to address food insecurity in Westchester is a critical investment and one that will both nourish and strengthen our communities.”

Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc. Executive Director Halas said: “The Child Care Council is very grateful to the county that during a time of extreme financial duress they recognize the centrality of child care to the well- being of families and our economic recovery.

The Business Council of Westchester Executive Vice President/COO John Ravitz said: “With Westchester County facing the most serious fiscal challenge since World War 2, The Business Council of Westchester (BCW) is confident that the County Executive and his team will be adopting a budget that to the degree possible maintains essential services, while at the same time protects the County’s bond rating. There are still many unknowns, not the least of which are the State’s own extremely serious budget challenges, which will impact the County’s budget. The BCW looks forward to working with the County Executive and the Board of Legislators as they seek to find the best fiscal path in this difficult time, and help send a clear and positive message that Westchester is economically stable and welcomes businesses and investment.”

Director of Economic Development Bridget Gibbons said: “Our office is determined to assist Westchester businesses that have faced a deleterious impact from the Covid-19 pandemic. This Budget, with its $5M for expanded economic development programs, gives us the tools to tackle this immense challenge.”

Nonprofit Westchester Executive Director Jan Fisher said: “Nonprofit Westchester is so pleased to see a proposed 2021 Operating Budget that maintains funding for nonprofit services and adds funding for critical programs.  We thank County Executive George Latimer for involving NPW in initiatives that helped to inform this budget. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with county government, Westchester's nonprofit sector has stepped up to meet the unprecedented demand and need for essential services and initiatives that fortify and protect all residents.  Our expertise is now needed more than ever to ensure emotional, physical and economic recovery. We are thankful to the County Executive for his extraordinary leadership and for the opportunity to work with our outstanding partners in county government to help create a path forward for our county.”

Westchester County Association President & CEO Michael N. Romita said: “Westchester’s businesses and nonprofits need the County to maintain financial discipline while continuing to invest in the economy.  County Executive Latimer’s proposed budget lowers the tax levy for the second year in a row while putting money towards rebuilding critical infrastructure, business development, and affordable housing. Under challenging circumstances, it has the positive hallmarks of responsive and responsible government.  The Westchester County Association will continue to work with the County Executive and other local leaders to ensure that Westchester remains poised for smart growth.”

Before entering 2021, the 2020 budget year is slated to end with no layoffs, no furloughs, no service cuts and no borrowing for pension costs. 

Latimer said: “At the onset of the pandemic our revenue projections were revised downward by nearly $200 million and we took immediate actions to address the financial downturn. We submitted legislation, passed by the County Board of Legislators, allowing the county to borrow for tax certs as well as pension payments and we amended the Budget to reverse the $10 million budgeted addition to fund balance.  We implemented a voluntary separation incentive that resulted in 226 employees leaving county service effective Aug. 1. We also held vacant a large number of County positions to generate needed savings.”

Additionally, due to our strong relationship with our Federal Delegation in Washington, the County was able to secure direct Federal assistance under both the Families First and CARES Acts. This has allowed the county to fund the additional costs that have arisen due to the pandemic as well as maintain essential County services. 

Latimer said: “All of us didn’t get dealt the hand we wanted, but as a result of swift and aggressive action, a little help and a little luck we will end 2020 in a stronger position than we anticipated earlier in the year.”

This 2021 proposed Budget does not assume any additional extraordinary federal assistance and also anticipates a 20% reduction in our state aid. As a result, this Budget must rely on drawing all of our projected increase in 2020 reserves. 

Latimer said: “While the economy has rebounded, we are still not back to the level of economic activity we experienced prior to the pandemic. Sales tax, the single largest revenue source for the county, has improved, however, collections for this year are anticipated to be $662 million or $80 million below the $742 million budgeted.”

For 2021 the County has projected that sales tax will grow to $695 million, which is $46 million below the 2020 Budget. The County also anticipates reduced revenues in some of our parks in 2021 as certain facilities are still being utilized for COVID purposes. However, the 2021 Budget fully funds each of our County parks and recreational facilities which have remained open and available to our residents during the pandemic. This Budget does not raise any fees for our parks since it is important that they remain accessible to all residents of Westchester. 

Westchester County Park Commissioner Kathy O’Connor said: “Our parks have been more important than ever for residents’ physical and mental wellbeing. The ongoing pandemic has made it clear just how essential they have become.  We have seen growth in all activities and are appreciative and excited that we will be able to continue to provide our services to the public at our facilities in the coming year.  Naturally Essential….Parks!”

President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said: "Westchester County is leading on the environment. We are excited that its capital budget includes investments in environmental programs like food scrap recycling and fleet electrification.  Waste reduction and clean transportation are some of NYLCV's top priorities and we commend County Executive Latimer for his leadership."

Several weeks ago, Latimer also submitted a Capital Budget that contained $231.8 million in new appropriations for capital projects. The Capital Budget includes over $112 million for projects that will provide improvements to the environment, including a food scrap recovery facility, 100 Hybrid replacement buses and electric vehicle charging stations. 

The County’s Capital Program also supports over 2,000 permanent jobs within the County.