- Pitchforks, Torches and Facebook
- A Better Place to Get Better
- Westchester Politics, Never Boring..
- Relentless Mother Nature Pummels Westchester Again!
- Stray Dogs. Why do People Let Them Stray?
- Don't put away that shovel just yet...
- Olympic Hopes Dashed
- Squeezing Blood from Upstate Stones
- Take Nothing for Granted
- He WILL Get That Dinner... and a New Spirit of Political Cooperation
Astorino: Westchester Faces 130 Million Dollar Shortfall Next Year
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced Wednesday that despite deep cuts in spending, the County is facing a $130 million dollar deficit in 2011. In March, Astorino announced that the projected shortfall was a staggering $166 million.
The County Executive announced several initiatives designed to find additional cost savings. They include directing department heads to come up with savings plans that would reduce the net costs of their operations by 20%. It's a move he says could save about $94 million.In addition, he renewed his calls to the County's government unions for a salary freeze and higher contributions to their health care so that massive layoffs can be avoided. He says if the union concessions are made, that would save the county $26 million and save 260 jobs. Specifically, Astorino has asked the unions to contribute 10 to 20 percent to their health care and forgo a 4 percent pay faise for 2011.
Said Astorino,"Time is of the essence. The more work we can do to target areas of savings between now and the submission of the budget in November, the better we will be able to minimize layoffs."
Officials say the key factors driving the budget remain the soarding costs to the county employee pensions and employee medical care as well as substantial drops in State and Federal aid.
In 2010, pensions cost the county $55 million. That number's expected to increase to $75 million in 2011. In addition, health care costs have more than doubled over the past ten years, jumping from $67 million in 2000 to $149 million this year. It's expected to increase another $8 million next year.
Astorino warned that if nothing is done to close the massive projected budget deficit, residents will facing a whopping 23% property tax increase, something the County Executive says he will not allow to happen.
Around the Country
- Southwest to Cancel Flights as Jets Checked for Cracks - BusinessWeek
- Schumer: Dems slicing budget with scalpel, Tea Party using meat ax - CNN (blog)
- Duke lacrosse accuser arrested in boyfriend's stabbing - CNN International
- House GOP: $4 trillion in cuts - CNN
- Bachmann bids for 'bama eyes - Seattle Post Intelligencer
Around the Planet
- Afghans Continue Protests Over US Quran Burning - Voice of America
- Japan's nuclear workers try to trace leak, dump radioactive water - Los Angeles Times
- OSCE raps Kazakh election, presses for reforms - Reuters
- Newsmaker: Yemen survivor Saleh juggles forces to keep power - Reuters
- France says finds bodies in Atlantic crash wreckage - Reuters