“The State of Our County is United, Says Latimer”
Westchester County Executive George Latimer delivered his fifth State of the County Address in the Legislative Chambers of the Board of Legislators on April 21. Latimer assured all residents of Westchester County that while a war of aggression rages across the ocean, here in Westchester County – we are united.
Latimer said: “While others are divided, while others swim in opposing tides fighting currents and waves of destruction – we – the State of our County – is united,” Latimer said.
Latimer touted Westchester County’s surging population, with more than one million people collectively calling Westchester County home. The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors reported a “record-breaking year in 2021,” with home prices up and inventory down as the demand for Westchester real estate soared.
“We know families are pouring in, we know houses are flying off the market. We know it because we see it on our block,” Latimer said. “The County’s population grew by 5.8 percent between 2010 and 2020, ahead of the Census Bureau’s own estimates.”
The County Executive stressed the importance cutting County property taxes again for Westchester’s homeowners – a seven million dollar cut in the 2022 budget, and a promise to strive for another cut in the future. Latimer closed out 2021 with a $64 million-dollar operating surplus, all while maintaining Westchester County’s essential services.
“We are launching new and innovative programs, but despite the rhetoric, we aren’t raising taxes to do it. After four full years of smart, prudent fiscal management by my administration, Westchester County’s bond ratings now stand as ‘stable’ by all three major rating agencies.”
Latimer applauded the brave men and women of the County departments of Public Safety and Probation, for helping to keep crime down and our residents safe in Westchester. In Westchester County we are tough on crime, and the numbers prove it.
Latimer placed a special focus on the development of affordable housing, supported by a combined total of $50 million allocated in the 2022 Capital Budget, representing the largest single year commitment to affordable housing in the County’s history. With affordable housing developments opening in Port Chester, Yonkers, Rye Brook, Greenburgh and numerous other neighborhoods, and more than 4,400 in the pipeline since 2018, Latimer has proven that affordable housing is a top priority.
The State of the County address included a video series detailing Westchester County’s path forward, including a focus on crime reduction with the help of the County’s Public Safety and Probation Departments, a behind-the-scenes look at long-standing building and infrastructure projects like Memorial Field, and the completion of the Westchester County 9/11 First Responders Memorial.
The speech also highlighted several initiatives the Latimer Administration has accomplished, including:
A 2021 Budget that closed with no layoffs, no furloughs, no service cuts or borrowing for pension costs; A recognition of the County’s Health Department for their continuous efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including hosting more than 200 pop-up vaccination clinics and conducting more than 400 thousand case investigations for COVID-19;
The continued success of the Office of Economic Development, including new and innovative programs to support job growth in Westchester; A combined total of $50 million dollars for Affordable Housing, the largest single-year commitment to affordable housing in the County’s history; The creation of Project Alliance in partnership with the departments of Community Mental Health, Public Safety, Emergency Services and Social Services to address the needs of residents with behavior health challenges; The revamping of a community-based Public Engagement Program to support the Master Plan on Westchester County Airport;
The grand opening of the County’s new Veterans Service Agency office in White Plains; The electrification of Westchester County’s Bee-Line Bus fleet; An ongoing celebration of all cultures and heritages throughout Westchester County.
Latimer concluded, “We learned during the pandemic that no one person can care for all the sick, no one person can test all the worried, or vaccinate all the willing. No one person can teach the young, and no one person can restore our faith – no one person can do anything alone. But fear not, because we have each other. One Westchester. And we are building our future – together.”