Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (R) gave the State of the County Address Thursday at the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains.
Astorino talked about Affordable Housing Act funds, youth unemployment, the renovations of Playland in Rye, and his run for governor. He also renewed his pledge to keep property taxes at their current rate.
After a heated back-and-forth this year with the Department of Housing and Urban Development over how the county complies with federal housing guidelines, Astorino proposed a new grant program that would fund local development initiatives to the tune of $5 million without federal funding.
“It is unfortunate that HUD, which claims to champion the needy, is once again threatening to withhold funds for affordable housing, homelessness prevention and lead paint mitigation,” Astorino’s office stated before the address. “But the county is not going to turn over control of the local zoning of its six cities, 19 towns and 20 villages to bureaucrats in Washington for $5 million in grants.”
During his speech, Astorino promised his grant proposal would only cost each Westchester taxpayer one dollar a year and would allow the county more freedom to spend the funds as it sees fit.
Another area Astorino addressed was his work with colleges to instate internship program to help college students find jobs after graduation. The internships will provide an opportunity to build experience in a professional environment could help shape a career path. Local businesses such as Regeneron, Acorda and many other smaller businesses are expanding, which could create more jobs for the students coming out of college.
Finally, Astorino reported Playland is making a speedy recovery after being heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Although some doubts about the future of the park were raised earlier this year over funding issues, the nonprofit Sustainable Playland Inc. has recommitted to rebuilding and keeping Playland running smoothly.