Local Summit Hosts
Westchester County Executive, George Latimer
By John Bradley
Newly re-elected Westchester County Executive George Latimer addressed the Local Summit’s December meeting speaking from his home, via Zoom, where he is quarantining with a Covid infection. Latimer’s advice: “Get your Booster Shot.”
Mr. Latimer stated that active cases in the County have risen in one month from 1,289 on November 13th to 4,868 on December 13. He warned that although Westchester County has a vaccination rate over 93%, a rise in cases is expected in the coming winter months with holiday gatherings and indoor dining bringing people together under circumstances favorable to the spread of the virus.
January 1st marks the beginning of Mr. Latimer’s second and final term as County Executive. He noted the dangers that can attend unlimited terms for political leaders in possession of significant political power and for that reason introduced the bill calling for a two-term limit for the Westchester County Executive position. The bill is now law.
County finances and their local impact led the list of questions Mr. Latimer answered for the Zoom audience. The County’s new budget of $2.2 billion, according to Mr. Latimer, is fiscally strong, allowing a 1% cut in County property taxes and a $300 million increase in the County’s Reserve Fund.
Mr. Latimer noted that he does not support “one shot” financing and, under his administration, the County does not borrow funds to pay for on-going expenses. Budget highlights noted by Mr. Latimer included $10 million for childcare and $50 million for affordable housing, a sum that includes $25 million for land acquisition and $25 million for the necessary infrastructure. The County’s goal, according to Mr. Latimer, is 11,000 new units of affordable housing.
Additionally, Mr. Latimer discussed the problem of local flooding, explaining that solutions to the local problems of flooding call for regional plans to create workable solutions. He pointed out the contributing roles in flooding played by topography and existing rivers and streams.
Finally, Mr. Latimer provided a summary of the steps that the County is taking to reduce its carbon footprint. These include the replacement of buses and cars using fossil fuel with electric vehicles and the creating the infrastructure required to keep them charged and operational.
The Larchmont/Mamaroneck Local Summit is an informal community council that seeks to make a better life for the community by keeping it informed of major issues of concern. The next Zoom program, co-hosted by the Local Summit and LMC Media will be Tuesday, January 11th at 8:00 a.m. featuring students from Mamaroneck High School’s Original Civic Research and Action Program. Visit the Local Summit online: https://www.localsummitlm.org/ LMC Media: https://lmcmedia.org/ .