TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino was the featured speaker at Monday’s monthly Women’s Council of Realtor’s luncheon at the Tarrytown DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.
Astorino focused on his 3 P’s -- Protecting Taxes, Promoting Economic Growth and Preserving the Central Services of Westchester -- in his remarks to the Realtors.
Regarding protecting residents'' taxes, he said county taxes have held the line during his term and expenses reduced resulting in a lowered budget in real dollars.
On preserving the central services, he said the focus has been on balancing those in need with what the county can afford. The county always is looking at better ways to do things with county money, including creating reorganized and self-sufficient social services.
On promoting economic growth, the focus has been on jobs and business expansion, he said. Real estate in the area is heating up, which fuels economic growth including areas surrounding real estate, such as home renovation and home construction, he said.
Astorino also said businesses are investing in the county. His administration worked toward keeping Pepsi in Westchester, and the company is rebuilding its world headquarters and will add jobs. White Plains Hospital and Regeneron also are expanding. “The picture is good and getting better” Astorino said.
Astorino's "4th P,", Playland in Rye, has been a very emotional issue. Playland has been a county property since 1928 and only provides seasonal activities and represents a $3 million to $5 million loss each year. A deal was signed this summer to turn the park over to a private company that plans too develop a year-round park.
Astorino has also been working on the county’s housing settlement with HUD. A recent opinion article in the Wall Street Journal highlights the 2006 battle regarding land use at the national level.
When asked what his second term goals include, Astorino mentioned: a food initiative through a food rescue program, and taking untouched, saved food and bringing it to food shelters and soup kitchens; a composting program; environmental issues, including a natural gas station; The HUD issue; Playland; and the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge, including mass transit initiatives like a Bus Rapid Transit System.