Legislators Say County Poised for Recovery
Members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators met with Business Council of Westchester members Wednesday to discuss how they have positioned the region for a post-pandemic renaissance. The consensus is the county is poised for an economic recovery.
County Legislator Benjamin Boykin, D-White Plains, chairman of the Board of Legislators, described the many efforts the Board of Legislators took to continue delivering the county’s services while crafting a county budget that balanced human needs with fiscal responsibility. “It was the first time in 20 years that this Board voted unanimously to approve the budget. This year’s budget addresses human needs, as well as positioning the county for economic recovery and growth from the pandemic,” said Boykin. “We were able to cut taxes, maintain essential services and reduce expenditures by $15.7 million.”
Boykin said that the legislators’ emergency efforts included:
- Enacting a voluntary separation program to reduce the county workforce by more than 200.
- Approving a police reform task force.
- Approving ethics reform that will require a referendum on this November’s ballot.
- Renewing a management contract with Standard Amusements for Playland.
- Working on revising a co-op law that so that it would require co-op boards to offer a reason for their denial of an application.
- Borrowing to improve the county’s infrastructure.
John Ravitz, Executive Vice President and COO of the BCW, said that Boykin has kept his commitment to the business community by making himself accessible. “We have had numerous roundtable discussions on many of the bills that the Board of Legislators has worked on. We agree on some and on some we disagree. But because of his leadership we can have those disagreements and have those conversations at a high level and do it in a responsible and respectful way,” said Ravitz.
Legislator Mary Jane Shimsky said that the Board of Legislators and the county worked to ensure that business owners understood what was expected of them during the Covid-19 crisis. “There were certain times during the past 14 months when state requirements may have changed by the day, or even the hour. And we were there as a county to ask questions, be an intermediary and get hopefully solid interpretations of what was expected so our business owners and our local governments could move forward,” said Shimsky.
Other legislators participating in the virtual program included. Vedat Gashi, Catherine Borgia, Catherine Parker, Margaret Cunzio, Kitley Covil, Colin Smith, Nancy Barr, Terry Clements, David Tubiolo and Ruth Walter.
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