BOL Coalition Announces Hiring of Three County Police Officers

Public Safety Photo

Westchester County Board of Legislators Minority Leader John G. Testa
Statement on Hiring of Three County Police Officers

Hire Cops Video_Testa_KapOne of the reasons the entire GOP Caucus voted to pass the 2016 budget was because it added back three County Police positions, which the County Executive had proposed cutting.  We voted for the budget based on the understanding that these three critical public safety positions would be filled.  It has taken a little longer than we wanted or expected but I’m happy to say that those positions will be filled starting with the July 18th pay period.  We are partners with the County Executive in managing the finances of Westchester County and sometimes partners have differing opinions on how to prioritize spending and savings.  The Board of Legislators Coalition that passed the budget (8 Republicans & 2 Democrats) felt that Public Safety was a priority that should be fully funded and that our County Police Department should be fully staffed.

Hire Cops Video_Grasso_Police UnionWe remain committed to protecting taxpayers and I would say that six consecutive years without an increase to property taxes is solid proof that we are succeeding in that effort.  Those Legislators who voted for the 2016 budget have worked with the County Executive over the first half of this year to carefully manage our operations to find savings wherever possible.  I’m happy to say that with the sale of the Austin Avenue property in Yonkers and finding operational savings throughout the county, we are confident that this year’s budget is working well to provide the services our residents need while continuing to protect our already overtaxed homeowners.

Hire Cops Video _TestaThe 2016 budget was a difficult negotiation and required a lot of compromise and good faith.  The hiring of these three officers was a critical piece of that negotiation. We must stand by our never ending support for the safety and security of our residents and a critical component of that is maintaining a sufficient size police force. Westchester has a tremendous amount of parkland to cover and with the safety concerns we share as a nation we need more police presence, not less. Hiring these officers is a good start but we must look to continue to find ways to fill the vacancies that remain.

We thank County Executive Astorino for following through with the hiring of these officers and look forward to working closely with him in the future to continue strengthening Westchester County’s public safety capabilities.

Video News Release of announcement:

County Hires 3 New Cops Per Budget Agreement from West Cnty Board of Legislators on Vimeo.

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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