News from County Legislator John Testa on his candidacy announcement:
On Monday, April 8th Westchester County Legislator John G. Testa announced his intentions to seek re-election for a third term in front of a large crowd at the Winery at St. George in Mohegan Lake. Over 100 supporters were present along with officials from across Westchester County.
Also on hand to address the crowd and give John his support was County Executive Rob Astorino. “John Testa has been a strong and unwavering defender of taxpayers. His leadership, dedication and common sense approach to county government serves the people of Peekskill, Cortlandt and Yorktown well and I urge them to re-elect John this November,” said Astorino.
Testa cited the various reasons for his seeking another term as County Legislator for District 1:
“It has been an honor to represent the citizens of the Town of Cortlandt, City of Peekskill and Town of Yorktown for the past 3 years. Taking a bipartisan approach and working with County Executive Astorino we have been able to bring a common sense, fiscally responsible focus to Westchester County government.
County Executive Astorino and I came into office together in 2010 and over the three budgets that have been passed since then we have been able to not only prevent any tax increase but also have reduced the county tax rate over that time. We have also reduced the size of county government by 15%. This was accomplished without reducing essential county services, keeping the county social safety net in place, enhancing public safety, keeping cultural programs viable, and adding services for senior citizens, veterans and victims of domestic violence.
The 2013 budget was particularly important because it took a true bipartisan coalition to avoid a proposed tax increase by the democratic majority leadership and a budget out of balance by $25 million. The 0% increase budget that passed by the coalition restored positions for public safety, emergency services and other law enforcement departments, engineering positions the Public Works, funding to ArtsWestchester, Cornell Cooperative, The Office for Women and reduced the parent share for Child Care from 35% to 27%. This was accomplished despite 8 legislators walking out during the vote and turning off the lights and microphones.
I am especially proud of the new initiative I championed to bring a local presence of the Legal Service of the Hudson Valley to Northern Westchester. LSHV will have dedicated representatives to help provide free legal services to the seniors, Veterans and victims of Domestic Violence to the residents of Cortlandt, Peekskill and Yorktown. Until now, Northern Westchester residents were forced to travel to White Plans or Yonkers for assistance.
I have dedicated myself to fighting for the municipalities I represent and have been able to bring funding for major infrastructure improvements to County owned property such as Blue Mountain Reservation and Sportsman’s Center, George’s Island Park, Main Street rehabilitation and resurfacing, rehabilitation of Rt. 202/South Division St., and the upgrades to the County Wastewater Treatment Plant in Peekskill. I also secured funding for various senior citizen facilities and programs in Peekskill, Cortlandt and Yorktown.
As a member of the Environment and Energy Committee I helped establish policies to create alternative energy initiatives for county owned facilities and enhanced recycling capabilities and incentives for energy saving businesses and homeowners.
I am proud of my opposition to the MTA Mobility Tax that threatened to cripple Westchester’s economy. I secured unanimous support of my colleagues to have Westchester join in the lawsuit brought by Nassau County to challenge this egregious tax that resulted in the tax being ruled unconstitutional.
My colleagues also unanimously joined me in taking a stand for a cause that I am tirelessly devoted to, our veterans. As a result Westchester County for the first time took a formal stand, via resolution, against the Enhanced Use Lease that was proposed to turn most of the acreage of the VA Facility in Montrose to luxury condominiums. Recently, this proposed lease was deemed no longer in effect, providing a victory for the area veterans and officials who together have joined forces to preserve the Montrose VA facility. Despite this significant victory, the fight is not over to continue to push for the restoration and increase in services for our country’s veterans.
Despite all the accomplishments and success I have enjoyed so far as County Legislator, there is still much to be done to reduce spending and implement taxpayer friendly policies to county government. I look forward to another term working with my like-minded colleagues on the board and the County Executive to further reduce unnecessary spending while maintaining essential services for the citizens of Westchester County.
Testa has been the County Legislator from District 1 (Cortlandt/Peekskill/Yorktown) since 2010. He was previously a City Councilman and 3 terms Mayor of Peekskill.