Westchester County Executive George Latimer Gives Sixth “State of the County” Address
A lengthy list of achievements, with complementary videos, were presented by Westchester County Executive George Latimer on Thursday, June 29, 2023, during his 6th State of the County Address. From the Board of Legislators Chamber that was filled to capacity, County Executive Latimer thanked his legislative colleagues, executive team, and the county’s more than four thousand employees for their steadfast commitment to serving the residents of the most populous county north of New York City.
When responding to the question, “What is the State of our County,” Latimer replied, “The State of our County is one of unyielding strength, unwavering resolve, and most crucially, boundless potential.” Throughout the annual address, the County’s potential was realized as a series of strategic accomplishments.
Responsible fiscal management helped improve the County’s bond rating and continue growing reserves for the future. Four consecutive tax cuts provided relief to homeowners. Sales tax on home heating products was suspended. And, Bee-Line Bus fares were suspended for another summer.
Funding for childcare and food insecurity programs was prioritized. People with disabilities were able to connect with employers while attending multiple job fairs. The Sunflower Lanyards Program was launched to help those with hidden disabilities as they travel. Funding was approved to assess the needs of the Asian-American Pacific Islander community. And for the first time, the Youth Bureau began offering free therapeutic services to children and youth enrolled in the County’s 63 Invest in Kids Programs.
Funding for the Westchester County Department of Public Safety significantly increased. The Office for Women received a $1 million dollar federal grant to support the Domestic Violence High Risk Team. And, the Department of Correction partnered with the Department of Community Mental Health, St. John’s Riverside Hospital and their medical provider, Wellpath, to develop a comprehensive Medication Assisted Treatment program to support residents diagnosed with an opiate disorder.
In recognition of the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, the County extended its support to religious organizations, nonprofits, and minority and women-owned businesses through grants amounting to $17 million dollars. Since its inception in 2020, over 350 entrepreneurs participated in Launch1000. The 100% remote, six-month idea accelerator program helps entrepreneurs, who are Westchester County residents, fine-tune and start a business. Latimer stated, “the County remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering economic growth, supporting local businesses, and building a thriving and inclusive community.”
Four bills were recently introduced by the County Executive to foster a healthier and more sustainable community: 1-The Addressing Asthma in Communities of Color Amendment is intended to address the high rates of asthma among communities of color; 2-The Lead Free Parks Act prioritizes safety by monitoring and remediating drinking water in all County parks; 3-The Renewable Energy Database Act seeks to empower municipalities by providing access to a database that assists in siting renewable energy infrastructure; and 4-The Equity in Environmental Legislation Act, if adopted, will guarantee fairness in decision-making processes by considering the historical cases of environmental justice. Latimer also restated his commitment to fully repairing Mount Vernon’s sewer infrastructure and investing in critical infrastructure projects throughout the Empire State’s seventh most populous county.
Pickleball Courts at Tibbetts Brook Park, the first Cricket Pitch at Croton Point Park, the transformation of Memorial Field in Mount Vernon, and investing $150 million dollars to rebuild and restore Playland reflects a few of the many recreational opportunities for county residents.
With an optimistic view of the future, Latimer stated, “Together, we will continue to forge ahead, paving the way for a brighter tomorrow and solidifying our legacy as the beacon of hope, progress and prosperity.” For more highlights of the 6th State of the County Address, visit: www.westchestergov.com/home/all-press-releases.