More than 23,500 people listened to County Executive Rob Astorino’s telephone town hall Tuesday night, according to numbers released by the administration today.
In this radio-like forum that ran a bit over an hour, Astorino fielded questions on pension costs, changes at the nature centers, the housing settlement with the federal government and other issues affecting people’s property taxes, which are among the highest in the country.
One caller asked for a cap on property taxes for senior citizens while another begged Astorino to keep the nature centers running as they are.
Astorino said those parks would be open and maintained, but not staffed; they would operate like passive parks.
After the session, callers — many who stayed on the line an average of 14 minutes — were prompted to take a poll and answer three questions relating to unions, AAA ratings and property taxes.
While Astorino acknowledged it wasn’t scientific, it’s a good way of getting feedback from the public.
Check out the results below:
- Do you think the county’s unions should contribute toward their healthcare, just like their state counterparts? 87 percent said yes, 9 percent said no and the remainder were unsure.
- Do you think it’s important that the county protect its triple A credit rating by not using money from the reserves to balance the budget? 64 percent said yes, 25 percent said no, the remainder were unsure.
- What is the most important issue to you and your family concerning the budget? 78 percent said no increase in property taxes, 12 percent said safety net programs for the needy and 10 percent said quality of life services like art and environmental programs.