Astorino Talks Budget, Airport Deal and Trump

Astorino Talks Budget, Airport Deal and Trump

The importance of fiscally sound budgets and public/private partnerships in promoting economic development – an issue long advocated by the Business Council of Westchester – was the focus of a highly informative presentation to BCW members by County Executive Rob Astorino who outlined his 2017 County Budget and his future vision for funding the county’s operations.

Speaking to more than 100 BCW members and guests at the KeyBank Speaker Series on Wednesday at Tappan Hill, Astorino said the old model of turning to county residents for tax increases time and again to close budget gaps was broken. Instead he said the county needs to use its assets to leverage funds. The County Executive’s comments echoed the sentiments of the BCW which has long supported a county budget that is fiscally sound, holds the line on taxes, preserves essential services and maintains the county’s excellent credit rating.

Astorino noted that this year the county’s spending plan had a $30 million budget gap, mainly created by shortfalls in sales tax and rising healthcare costs for its employees. To help close the gap, Astorino has proposed a public/private partnership that would have Oaktree Capital Management lease the County Airport for 40 years, paying the county $111 million over that time and investing another $30 million in capital improvements. The plan would free up another $20 million locked away in a fund dedicated only to the airport that could now go to the general fund to pay for other expenses.

L to R: Joseph Markey, Market President and Commercial Banking Sales Leader, KeyBank; Westchester County Executive Rob Astornio; BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon; BCW Board Chairman Tony Justic; BCW Executive Vice President and COO John Ravitz.

L to R: Joseph Markey, Market President and Commercial Banking Sales Leader, KeyBank; Westchester County Executive Rob Astornio; BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon; BCW Board Chairman Tony Justic; BCW Executive Vice President and COO John Ravitz.

Astorino said public/private partnerships like the one with Oaktree were the future, a view shared by the BCW which supports the public/private partnership model as a way to provide the public with key services without raising taxes.

Roger Woolsey, CEO of Million Air, the Houston-based fixed base operator whose expansion plan at the county airport has won support from the BCW, was in agreement, not only with the public/private partnership, but with the new model that Astorino was proposing.

“We need to look at what assets or things that we have that might be better run by private partnerships with specialized expertise that cam maximize revenues and take the burden off taxpayers so government can focus on providing essential service,’’ said Woolsey.

Hear what Woolsey and others, including Astorino had to say at Tappan Hill on Wednesday on our Facebook page.

Following the presentation, Astorino fielded several questions from the audience. Asked about rumors circulating that President-elect Donald Trump may be considering him to head the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Astorino laughed and downplayed the speculation. “If the phone rings, I’ll take the call. I’ll see what he has to say,” he said adding.

“It’s nice to be considered for anything like that but I don’t anticipate it.”

Read More… http://westfaironline.com/83304/astorino-talks-about-westchester-county-budget-and-elephant-in-the-room/

 

By | 2017-12-22T11:03:15-05:00 November 17th, 2016|News|0 Comments

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