I am pleased to tell you that this morning I joined my colleagues in our unanimous vote to approve operating, capital and special district budgets for 2022 that strengthen the County’s finances, provide historic levels of support for human services in Westchester County, and expand the County’s investment in infrastructure improvements for the 21st century.

I am particularly proud of the creation and funding of the Westchester County’s Project Alliance 911 Diversion Team. Now when you call 9-1-1 in Westchester there is a fourth option of mental health crisis to go along with police, fire and EMS. The 911-caller diversion system, through which 911 dispatchers identify and refer individuals to the Crisis Network Team, staffed by St. Vincent’s Hospital crisis personnel, has gone live. Modeled after the Cahoots (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) program out of Oregon, a program I advocated for  in my role on the Westchester County Police Reform and Reimagining Task Force.

I am very pleased that we increased money for important programs such as child care and affordable housing, while cutting the County property tax levy by $7 million. We approved a $10.2 million increase in funding for childcare to increase the County’s childcare scholarship program; expand aid eligibility; reduce out of pocket costs for eligible parents; provide for an increased number of children in programs; and help childcare providers recruit high quality staff.

The budget also includes $50 million for land acquisition and infrastructure improvements to support affordable housing, the largest single-year commitment in County history. These are just a few highlights. More detail can be found here. My comments to the Board can be found starting at 0:21:50 of the official meeting video