Republicans propose pause for public comment before final vote on Westchester budget

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As Westchester County gears up for the 2013 budget season, three Republicans on the Board of Legislators have proposed a set of guidelines for the budget deliberations intended to put a cap on the use of taxpayer dollars and give lawmakers and the public more time to consider the final proposal.

Legislators Sheila Marcotte, R-Eastchester, Michael Smith, R-Mount Pleasant, and Gordon Burrows, R-Yonkers, proposed a resolution requiring the final proposed budget to be posted on the county web site for 48 hours before the board votes. In past years the vote has been taken right after the final changes, referred to as additions and deletions, have been made to the budget.

“When they say the devil’s in the details, that’s where the adds and deletes are,” said Matthew Richter, a spokesman for the Republican caucus of the Board of Legislators.

The resolution would also commit the county to no tax increase, a promise already made early in the year by Republican County Executive Rob Astorino, and keeping the reserve fund at a minimum of 7.5 percent of the operating budget. Moody’s Investors Service has cited declines in the reserve fund as a reason for its negative outlook on the county’s Aaa-rated bonds. Last week Moody’s reaffirmed both the rating and the negative outlook, which have held steady throughout the year.

“As legislators, it is our responsibility to protect the Aaa rating while still providing the essential services that all of our county residents deserve,” Marcotte said in a statement. “This resolution serves as a commitment to the public that as legislators we will work together in a bipartisan manner to adopt the best possible budget we can in what promises to be a very difficult process.”

Astorino will propose his budget next month and the Board of Legislators will vote in December.

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  1. Self serving statement by the Rs again.

    Committing to a rule that decides the budget impact BEFORE the back and forth required to finalize the budget is NO DOUBT self serving R tactics.

    Instead of serving the people of ALL of Westchester the Rs again show they are ready to grandstand and play partisan politics to the detriment of the people.

    How convenient for their boy to be touting millions in sales tax exemptions and other public money give-a-ways to a gym in Harrison that may or probably WONT create the number of jobs the gym promises (most will be Part Time No Benefit jobs anyway)
    See the LoHud story in Sunday Oct 8 on the cover for that detail on how IDA public money give-a-ways DON’T produce the jobs they promise and in some cases result in lay offs of tax paying workers. But Rs dont want to talk about that

    They want to divert attention with these R lock-step phony resolutions instead of working on creating a Westchester budget for ALL the people.

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