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Board of Legislators
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is expected to announce tomorrow that he's used his veto pen and taken it to the newly approved 2011 budget submitted by the Westchester County Board of Legislators. Precisely, what will be cut, is unclear at this point.
The County Executive has five days after the Board of Legislators approves a budget to make line item vetos.
In a 16-1 bi-partisan vote, the Westchester County Board of Legislators approved a budget for 2011 that cuts taxes by 2%, reduces the County workforce by 10% and restores many services were targeted for cuts in County Executive Rob Astorino's original budget proposal.
Board Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) said "The County has had to make exceedingly difficult decisions. Despite the obstacles, the Democratic Majority has presented a budget that will preserve the most critical County services without raising taxes."
Members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators are expected to vote Friday on a budget for 2011.
Over the past week, Democrats have restored $43 million in spending that County Executive Rob Astorino had cut in his proposed budget, a move that raised the ire of Republican lawmakers.
Then, the planned budget vote date was pushed up from Monday December 13 to Friday December 10, a move the GOP asserted was a "partisan effort to manipuate the budget process" and a means to "push the new additions to the County Executive's budget through."
Democrats on the Westchester County Board of Legislators have come up with a plan that they say will eliminate proposed cuts to services and still maintain a 1% tax decrease for residents.
Last month, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino presented the proposed spending plan that included cuts to numerous social service programs.
Yesterday, the Westchester County Board of Legislators Committee on Budget and Appropriations unveiled its suggestions, announcing its proposed additions and changes to the spending plan before the December 6 required deadline.
(L-R Legislators Peter Harckham, Gordon Burrows, John Nonna)
By a 10-6 vote, the Westchester County Board of Legislators tonight voted to impose term limits on County Legislators as well as the County Executive.
Under the measure, Legislators would be limited to six two year terms in office, while the County Executive would be permitted at most, three four year terms. The new term limits will take effect January 1, 2012.
The Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) and the Chair of the Board's Committee on Legislation, John Nonna (D-Mount Pleasant) have submitted legislation that will abolish the County's Board of Acquisition and Contracts.
The two believe the Board of Acquisition and Contracts has too much authority and spends millions of dollars of county money without a system of checks and balances.
Said Nonna, "The idea that three men in a room get to decide how millions of taxpayer dollars are spent each year is contrary to open and transparent government." He added, "Abolition of the Board of Acquisition and Contracts will promote transparency and accountability."
The Board of Acquisition and Contracts was established by the Westchester County Charter in 1937 and it has the responsibility and authority to approve various County contracts and agreements. Prior to that, all expenditures were approved by the Board of Legislators. Currently A&C meets weekly and is made up of the County Executive, Rob Astorino, Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins and the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works, John Hsu.
The Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) announced Friday that he has submitted legislation designed to cap local property tax growth. The move, he says, would impose long-term fiscal discipline and ease the burden on Westchester homeowners, who already pay the highest property taxes in the country.
Said Jenkins, "These are surely difficult times. We must provide New Yorkers with property tax relief." Adding, "Everyday residents have seen their property taxes rise at unsustainable rates. The debate is no longer whether or not there is a problem, or what caused the problem, but rather the debate is instead over how to ease the burden on homeowners."
Jenkins is calling for a proposed property tax cap that would limit tax increases to 3%, or the annual rate of inflation, whichever is lower.
His proposal would also allow voters to override the tax cap via public referendum.
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