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Latimer Delivers Optimistic State of the County Address

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March 18, 2024

By Rick Pezzullo—

In what could be his final State of the County Address, Westchester County Executive George Latimer last week declared the county was doing just fine.

Latimer, who is running in a Democratic primary in June against Rep. Jamaal Bowman in the 16th Congressional District, delivered his seventh annual address March 14 in the Board of Legislators chambers in White Plains.

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“The current state of our county is characterized by a sense of newness and vitality. We proudly embody the essence of ‘new faces,’ individuals who bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the forefront. Yet, intertwined with this newness is the richness of experience, and a tapestry of accomplishments that defines the very fabric of our community,” said Latimer, who has never lost an election in his long political career as a municipal, county and state representative.

“In Westchester County, the State of our County is firmly rooted in strength, while growing and changing for the better,” he added.

Latimer touted the county’s strong fiscal condition, pointing out the 2024 budget adopted a few months ago marked the fifth consecutive year without a tax levy increase. He also cited the county’s robust credit rating.

Since taking office in 2018, Latimer stressed affordable housing, and the availability of affordable housing throughout the county, has remained a top priority.

“Six years into our tenure, nearly six thousand units of affordable housing have been built, gone under construction, or are in the pipeline for the future,” he said.

Latimer said since the official launch of a new program called Affordable Housing Investment Flex Fund (HFF), which was created earlier this year to help increase the number of units across Westchester, the county has already received more than 17 applications from developers totaling $110 million in funding.

Recently, Latimer signed legislation aimed at recognizing and supporting the essential role of volunteer firefighters and ambulance service members. The law creates guidelines for a property tax break for those who serve, have served and their spouse, and lowers the threshold for services from five years to two years.

Meanwhile, Latimer said a $1.5 million grant has been dedicated to promoting tobacco prevention and cessation programs throughout the county, through partnerships with nine community-based organizations.

“These programs will seek to prevent the use of cigarettes, vapes and other tobacco products among Westchester’s children, teens and young adults through evidence-based programs that focus on peer-led discussions and engaging activities,” he said.

The county is rapidly becoming a tourist attraction, with Westchester ranking fifth in visitor spending in New York State.

“As we have said all along this is a great place to live, work and play,” Latimer boasted. “Westchester County has always been a place of innovation, progress and compassion. As we embrace the concept of new faces, let us remember that the true strength of our county lies in the collective spirit of its people. Together, we will continue to write the story of Westchester’s success – one that honors our past, celebrates our present and looks forward to a future filled with endless possibilities.”

 

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