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2013 Budget Shows Layoffs, No Tax Levy Increase for Westchester

County Executive Rob Astorino released his proposed $1.7 billion budget for 2013 and while taxes are slated to remain the same as 2012, 126 County workers will be laid off if the Budget is approved.

Passionately sharing his feelings about the 2013 budget process at a news conference on Wednesday, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino felt the proposed budget for 2013 could have had many more positives to it, particularly in regard to the 189 County positions that will be eliminated if the budget is adopted by the Board of Legislators.

"I pleaded with our largest union, the Civil Service Employees Union (CSEA) to help avoid layoffs," stated Astorino who continued that, "had they followed the lead of three other unions to start contributing to the cost of their health care, we could have saved jobs and programs."

Areas of the County hit the hardest from the job cuts will be in social services, public works, parks and transportation.

Astorino did reiterate however that all Westchester parks and nature centers will remain open and that no services will be cut from the Bee-Line Bus system.

Other actions taken by Astorino's office to balance the budget included participating in the state's amortization program, which means the County will defer about $35 million of 2013's $91 million employee pension bill.

Also, Westchester will bond $13 million of court-ordered tax reductions, known as certioraris, so the money will not have to come out of the 2013 operating budget.

"This is a structurally sound budget in the sense that none of our reserve funds will be used," said Astorino, who sought to protect Westchester's triple-A rating while also being sensitive to unforeseen events such as Hurricane Sandy and the importance to keep those funds untouched.

"Hurricane Sandy shows why it is important to have our reserves available for emergencies," he added, "in this instance, Westchester will get federal aid but that aid may not always be there from the state or feds."

Among the cost increases in the proposed 2013 budget are:

  • The County's share of Medicaid, up $8 million to a cost of $224 million
  • Employee pension costs, which rose to $91 million, up $12 million from 2012 and a staggering $87 million from 2001, when the cost was only $4 million.
  • Employee Health Care, up $5 million.
  • Employee salaries, up $15 million.

Another key part of the budget are revenues generated for 2013, which in large measure, remained stagnate and virtually unchanged from 2012 with the exception of Sales Tax revenue, which is projected to increase $12 million or 3% in 2013 to a total of $376 million.

To view the 2013 proposed Westchester County budget in it's entirety, you can visit the County's website by clicking here.

JM November 15, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Employee salaries up $15M? Cushy, cushy are they a lucky bunch! My salary contracted 50% in the past 10 yrs not even accounting for inflation or property tax increases. Welcome to the private sector, where the more we work the less we make. And no one stands up for us.
sayitsnotsojack November 15, 2012 at 02:57 PM
The president of the CSEA union has said she wants an agreement that has a no layoff clause if they agree to pay a portion of their health plan. NO layoffs, what planet does this woman Pecora live on certainly not here on earth with the rest of us. Who in their right mind thinks she and her union members are entitled to a no lay off contract for agreeing to pay a portion of their health plan? She and they should be so happy to have one, in the real world she would be paying 15 to 25% of it. Next, she will want wording that says they all have lifetime jobs just for working in the public sector. With leadership like she displays no wonder the county is such a mess.
shakemdown November 16, 2012 at 04:53 AM
my question is, why isn't he cutting from the golf courses and is cutting from the people who are already hurting. and i know, there will be some who say that these people are not hurting, some of them have not seen a raise in four years but yet rent,food ,gas,taxes and everything else is going up or better yet why don't he cut from his staff.

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