Youth programs, domestic violence prevention and senior nutrition funds added for next year as well
White Plains, NY – At tonight’s third and final public budget hearing, a large crowd of residents gave members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) strong support for their $2.5 million increase of funding for the Title XX child care program.
A steady stream of residents commented to the legislators that the Title XX child care program, which serves lower income residents, deserves to be expanded because other options are too expensive or pose risks to children. The news that the BOL Budget & Appropriation Committee, chaired by Legislator Judy Myers (D-Larchmont), had added the Title XX funding to the 2014 County Budget on Monday was roundly appreciated tonight by those speaking, who maintained guarded optimism that the budget increase would be approved ultimately by the full BOL and County Executive Astorino.
“There are plenty of places the County can save money,” said Myers. “Smart spending for child care in 2014 will strengthen our safety net in the years to come.”
Enrollment in the Title XX child care program has been frozen since 2010. The BOL’s spending addition will increase program enrollment to approximately 400 slots.
“The needs of our community members who are working hard to move up the economic ladder have to be addressed,” said Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh), chair of the BOL Community Services Committee.
Commented BOL Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-North Salem): “Increasing the Title XX program will make a big difference across Westchester, and it deserves proper financial support just like any of the other worthwhile programs that are in the budget. I’m hopeful that my Board colleagues and the County Executive will agree and give wholehearted backing to these child care funds.”
Ever since it adopted the historic, cost-cutting 2011 Budget, which decreased the tax levy by 2.2%, the BOL has confirmed that Westchester is moving in a smart and responsible direction with its financial obligations, noted BOL Chair Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers).
“Residents are still worried about the economy and don’t want large-scale cuts to the social programs and infrastructure initiatives,” Jenkins added. “Our investment in the quality of life here is what makes Westchester a great place to live, work and raise a family,”
Speakers at tonight’s public hearing also communicated their support for added funds aimed toward after school and youth jobs programs, domestic violence prevention, eviction and foreclosure counseling, environmental protections and senior nutrition programs.
“Year after year, countless Westchester residents depend on County-funded programs for some of the most basic human needs, along with help for issues that are too big to solve on their own,” said BOL Vice Chair Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon). “As elected officials, it is our duty to protect those who are less fortunate. These public hearings give our residents opportunities to voice their concerns and advocate for programs.”
Numerous Westchester residents and business owners attended the two public hearings on the Proposed 2014 Budget that the BOL hosted last month in Peekskill and Yonkers. The three public hearings and numerous department-by-department budget presentations were all streamed ‘live’ and then archived online at the BOL website (www.westchesterlegislators.com).
The BOL Budget & Appropriations Committee will receive the vital input of the County’s auditors on the Proposed 2014 Budget on Friday, December 6. A special meeting of the BOL will be held on Monday, December 9 at 10:30 AM in the BOL Chambers to consider an Act adopting the 2014 County Budget.