Swearing-in Ceremony 2012

Town Justice Sal Lagonia conducts the Oath of Office at Yorktown Town Hall.

On January 1st swearing-in ceremonies were taking place all across the Hudson Valley. I was honored to be sworn in as part of the Yorktown ceremony at Town Hall.  Supervisor Michael Grace and his running mates Dave Paganelli, Nick Bianco and Gary Raniolo, as well as sitting members Terrence Murphy and Vishnu Patel invited me to participate in Yorktown’s event. I thank them very much for the opportunity. It was particularly appropriate since due to the redistricting changes to District 1, I now represent a much larger portion of the town.

Both the day and the event were wonderful and gave me pause to look back on my first term as a Westchester County Legislator.  This was my sixth time participating in such an event and each time, whether it was as a city councilman, mayor or legislator I was truly humbled by the support and enthusiasm of those in attendance.

On December 22nd I signed the official county record book for County Clerk Tim Iodoni.

It is always a time of hope and pride to be at the start of a new term in office and to know that thousands of people put their faith in me to represent them. It is a responsibility I have always taken very seriously and keep in mind every day I serve in office.

I am proud of my first term as legislator and appreciate the opportunity given me by the citizens of Cortlandt, Peekskill and Yorktown. I pledged to work to reduce taxes and that is what we were able to do. In 2010 overall county taxes were reduced by 2.2% with even higher reductions in each of municipalities in my district.  Just before Christmas the county board passed the budget for 2012 with a 0% tax increase. Combining my first two years as county legislator with my final three years as Mayor of Peekskill where we had a 0% tax increase each year means that there is an overall tax decrease for my last 5 years in office. I feel good about that, but there’s much more to do.

Reducing the tax burden cannot happen without significant reductions in spending. Over the last two years we were able to cut county spending by over $100 million and significantly downsize government. This was all done without gutting essential services, especially those for our most vulnerable residents. Jobs were saved, programs such as Arts Westchester and Cornell Cooperative Extension continue and major infrastructure projects for my district were completed and funding for others was secured.

At the start of a new year and a new term I would like to say thank you. Thank you to the citizens of District 1 who have once again given me the opportunity to serve. Together we will be able to make Westchester a great place to live.

About Legislator John G. Testa

John G. Testa, a life-long resident of Peekskill, began his first term on the Westchester County Legislature in January 2010. Prior to his successful run for the District 1 Legislative seat, he served 3 terms as Mayor of Peekskill from January 2002 until December 2007. Before becoming mayor he also served a four-year term as a Councilman. From his first days in office Testa worked tirelessly to set the City on the path of economic stability. Peekskill flourished under this plan, increasing the city fund balance to its highest in history. During John’s tenure in office, the NY State Comptroller’s Office named Peekskill one of the most fiscally sound municipalities in the State; independent auditors proclaimed Peekskill as being in its best fiscal condition in over 30 years; and Moody’s Investor Service agreed to upgrade its bond rating, resulting in further savings. The plan he put in place was so successful that it enabled the City of Peekskill to pass three budgets in a row with a 0% tax increase. These fiscal skills will prove valuable to Testa as he works to put the brakes on what has been wildly escalating county spending and unchecked government growth. He has pledged his efforts to work to consolidate services, eliminate wasteful spending and improve efficiency. In addition to the fiscal conservatism that served Peekskill so well, Testa worked to promote the city, attracting investment, jobs and an increased tax base. Over $100 million of private investment came to Peekskill in the forms of new residential construction, retail space, and the redevelopment of historic structures. As Mayor, Testa led a successful battle to stop the unfair and unsafe plan to send sewage to the Peekskill plant from outside the sewage/water district. John’s roots are deep within the soil of Northern Westchester. His father’s family has lived here for more than a century and his mother’s family is nearing that mark. He is proud that he was born in Peekskill and has lived and worked here all his life and, with his wife Nancy raised their two children here.
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