Residents voice opinions against budget cuts at county board meeting

(11/10/03) WHITE PLAINS - Politicians and taxpayers gathered in White Plains Monday night at the County Board of Legislators meeting with budget worries on their minds. In just four days, County Executive Andy Spano will be releasing his spending plan for the coming year, and some big cuts in programs are being considered. Many people came to the meeting trying to fight to keep certain county programs off the chopping block.

The problem of balancing the budget this year is trying to keep from raising taxes without cutting essential programs. Only two people in the crowd Monday night supported budget cuts, and everyone else was against them. There were fears that the budget axe will fall hard on the county's department of social services, replacing foster care case workers with private firms.

The County Board of Legislators is waiting to hear exactly what the county executive will propose. Many on the board believe Spano is committed to holding the bottom line on property taxes and think he will let that budget axe fall. In Westchester County, the combination of the sluggish economy and a steep climb in state-mandated spending will make it a tough decision for Spano, but in the end, it will ultimately be up to the County Board of Legislators to adopt a final package next month.

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