WHITE PLAINS – The County of Westchester ended 2017 with a general fund operating deficit of close to $32.2 million.
County Executive George Latimer blames it on the budgetary practices of the previous administration. “These policies and decisions have created a fiscal mess for Westchester County,” he said.
The county exec said the deficit had been presumed for the last few months noting the former administration of Robert Astorino budgeted $15 million in revenue tied to the long-term sale of the county airport.
Latimer said the prior administration also negotiated and closed county employee bargaining unit contract settlements, the costs of which were not fully budgeted. At the same time, he said the prior administration failed to come to agreement with the CSEA – the largest employee union – extending their period without a contract to seven years. “This is a huge expense to the county with no provision in the 2018 budget,” Latimer said.
The county executive said his administration will develop a game plan to address the current shortfall for 2017 and 2018, as they address the 2019 spending plan.
“We will be reaching out to meet directly to the bond rating agencies to deliver a plan for addressing the elements of the current situation,” Latimer said. “We will speak with the governor and the state legislature to outline the assistance we need from their authority to get us through this period.”