Latimer outlines budget proposal with 2 percent property tax hike

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Westchester County Executive George Latimer on Friday released the outlines of his proposed $1.9 billion budget for 2019, and it includes a 2 percent property tax hike.

Latimer, who released the proposal at the County Office Building in White Plains, says the 2 percent property tax levy is well below the 5.7 percent New York state tax cap. It marks the first budget of Latimer's term as executive.

"We're trying to deliver what we can within a very narrow window," said Latimer. "We're threading a needle."

There are no staff cuts in the proposed budget, but the county has instituted a hiring freeze until early 2019 to help control costs. The budget does not dip into the county's already depleted rainy day fund.

The county has proposed handing over control of the County Center parking lot in White Plains to a private company to help close the gap on a projected $60 million deficit. The county hopes to generate $22 million from that sale.

The Business Council of Westchester issued a statement in regard to the budget: "The Business Council of Westchester urges the County Executive and the Board of Legislators to adopt a fiscally responsible budget. That means a budget that does not contain gimmicks or one-shot sources of revenue while also resisting the temptation to raise taxes each year."

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