Astorino Unveils 1.8 Billion 2017 Budget

County Executive Robert Astorino presents his plan for Westchester that, for the seventh year in a row, features no tax hike

With a budget remarkably similar to that of the prior year, Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino proposed a 2017 capital budget plan that features no tax hike and will invest $303 million in the county’s roads, bridges, parks, and general infrastructure. The spending plan marks a nine percent increase over 2016, and is projected to generate roughly 3,000 jobs.

According to Astorino, a $140 million public/private partnership with Oaktree Capital Management — a California-based firm set to assume operations at the Westchester County Airport — was a major factor in combating losses projected from a stagnating sales tax.

“[The budget] is very similar to last year’s, and that was done on purpose because we were able to find new revenues streams, such as the airport deal,” Astorino told 914INC during the BCW’s Key Bank Speaker Series today at Tarrytown’s Tappan Hill Mansion.  “We kept many things the same because we wanted the board of legislators to worry less about the budget and more about the lease,” Oaktree is set to take out a 40-year lease on the airport as part of the proposed plan, which allots $15 million in revenue over 2017.

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Astorino also pointed to $110 million dollars outlined in the budget to go toward improving recreation facilities throughout the county. Most notably, repairing the massive reflecting pond at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. Of this total, $4.2 million will also go toward constructing a skating facility and rink at the Dam.

“For the seventh straight year, the property tax levy is not being increased and that helps businesses keep more cash flow and restrains government from becoming too big and too powerful,” says Astorino. “And we are finding new ways to improve services from non-taxable revenue, including the airport lease and Rye Playland…as well as looking at other county property assets and turning them into revenue streams.”

Executive Vice President of the BCW, John Ravitz, tells 914INC. that the budget will continue to protect essential services as well as taxpayers through its flat tax.  “What we want in a business community is to be able to go to business leaders as you try to recruit them to come to Westchester, and say that our fiscal house is in order,” explains Ravitz. “What we are able to do now is talk about the success stories of Westchester and the fiscal discipline we have… This budget is creative, and continuing to do public/private partnerships is smart and a step in the right direction.” 

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