WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester County Legislator Sheila Marcotte helped the county's Charter Revision Commission (CRC) develop major proposed changes to the county budget process.
The Westchester County Board of Legislators referred the recommendations of the CRC to two committees on Monday, Feb. 10 for consideration.
Marcotte, chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, "was instrumental in helping the CRC develop major reforms to the budget process which are key elements to CRC’s recommendations," representatives said.
Marcotte offered a proposal to require a 48-hour period between the time that the Budget and Appropriations Committee reports its budget additions and deletions to the full County Board and the time that the board meets to vote on the budget. The proposal would require posting the additions and deletions on the county's website for at least 24 hours before the board convenes for the budget vote.
“I want to thank the members of the Charter Revision Commission for their thoughtful and diligent approach to their work, especially for the significant improvements they have proposed regarding the budget process and its timing," Marcotte said. “I believe the budget vote is the most important vote we take every year. In the past, the minority caucus has been given as little as 30 minutes to review the final budget document before we had to make this important vote. I believe the changes that I proposed to the commission will allow Legislators adequate time to review all changes and to get the answers they need before voting. Posting the final budget on the [county board's] website before we vote also gives the public an opportunity to see exactly what their representatives in county government are doing.”
Former County Legislator Richard Wishnie was chair of the Charter Revision Commission and is co-chair of the newly formed Board of Legislators Charter Revision Task Force, which will shepherd the commission's recommendations through the county board committee process.
“Legislator Marcotte asked us to review the timing issues surrounding the budget process in an effort to clarify the language used in the charter and to ensure an appropriate ‘aging period’ for the Budget Act before Legislators are required to vote on it," Wishnie said. "We found Legislator Marcotte’s recommendation to our budget focus group to be well researched and we believe that those charter revisions will result in an improved budget process and a more well-informed public.”
The CRC final report can be found in its entirety at the Westchester County Board website.