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Westchester Faces Over $29 Million Deficit

Halfway through the year, Westchester County Government is facing a $29.7 million deficit.

County Budget Director Lawrence Soule chalked it up to the continued effects of the weak economy and related continued low income in sales tax, mortgage recording tax and other revenues, as well as increases in union settlements and retirements on unsettled contracts, and higher than projected healthcare costs.

The warmer weather early this year saved the county some $2 million in costs, Soule said.

“I think it’s still going to be a challenge to balance the budget this year and obviously we did budget to use fund balance; we would like not to use fund balance when we close the books for 2012,” Soule told the Budget Committee of the Board of Legislators.

In an effort to save money, the county administration plans to hold off on filling vacant positions, reduce spending on contractual and technical services, and liquidate prior year accruals.

While the session was cordial with questions asked by the Democrat-controlled Board of Legislators, they issued a news release blasting the Republican Astorino administration.

“They hid important financial information that would have given us a clear picture of what we would need in 2012,” Legislator William Ryan said.