Ken Jenkins serves as Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators
County government is the efficient regional delivery of services, where accountability and oversight begin. We’re entrusted by the residents and voters to make sure that the services and programs mandated by New York State law are delivered properly and as efficiently as possible. In turn, county lawmakers set policies and allocate money necessary to operate all the county’s programs and services. We always endeavor to work in a manner that is open, transparent and fully informative, this is good government at a ground level.
County government handles New York State mandated programs, including social services like Medicaid and child protection, public health, corrections, probation and courts, record keeping, and fiscal responsibility for the Westchester Community College. Non-mandated support and funding from the county goes for transportation; parks, recreation and conservation, public safety and emergency services, mental health, planning, children’s programs, and support for the county-wide library system are not as costly as the mandated programs, but exist on a level of importance that can’t be ignored.
In recent years, county government has helped partner with localities to consolidate and shrink services to lower costs for taxpayers. The idea of Westchester’s localities being able to burden costs on their own for all of the mandated or non-mandated program and services, even when consolidated among governmental entities, is nearly unthinkable. Even still, county government costs taxpayers roughly about seventeen cents for every dollar of property tax. Meanwhile, the county annually shares $100 million of county sales tax receipts with towns and school districts.
I’m proud to have been a participant and leader within our county government these past few years. The rich fabric of Westchester’s communities and diverse groups of people are strengthened by the work of county government, and I see proof of our success—and the many challenges ahead—wherever I go in Westchester.