WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A first-time event hosted by The Business Council of Westchester offered a unique personal introduction to members of the county Board of Legislators.
Held at the C.V. Rich Mansion in White Plains on March 1 to kick off The Business Council's Political Leadership Series, nearly all of Westchester's 17 legislators got a chance to introduce themselves, why they got into public service and their areas of responsibiity and expertise.
Afterward, Board Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, a Democrat from Somers, mentioned how proud he is to work with so many legislators passionate about what they do, and how they come form uniquely diverse backgrounds.
John Ravitz, chief operating officer and executive vice president of the Business Council, moderated Tuesday night's discussion. Ravitz and others credited Kaplowitz with orchestrating productive harmony on the board despite its split partisan makeup as well as the board's mostly cooperative working relationship with County Executive Rob Astorino. (Astorino is a Republican and the Board of Legislators has a narrow 10 to 7 Democratic majority.)
According to Ravitz, county legislators have worked in a bi-partisan manner for the last two years and have avoided political gridlock to pass important economic development legislation for Westchester County.
Legislators highlighted some of the County Board's key priorities for 2016 and the work that the Board's various committees have before them this year.
James Maisano, a Republican from New Rochelle and vice-chairman of the county board, said he remains concerned that Astorino's annual budget is balanced by some shaky revenue estimates -- and that the county may ultimately be faced with increasing property taxes to keep up with rising expenses.
In addition to maintaining a balanced budget, legislators ranked economic development including creation of new jobs and repairing the county's road, bridge, sewer and water infrastructure at the top of their list.
Geoff Thompson of Thompson Bender, who helped organize and publicize the event, said the Business Council aims to host it annually.