Westchester County Executive George Latimer put the county’s relationship with businesses large and small in the spotlight during his State of County Address last evening.
“The bottom line is this – we need to attract businesses and keep businesses here in Westchester County to keep our economy thriving. When our businesses thrive, our county thrives, and we want to partner with those businesses, large and small, to meet their employment and technology needs,” Latimer said in the legislature’s chamber in the county’s Michaelian Office Building in White Plains.
He characterized Westchester’s economy as “strong and growing” while adding, “The government of the county is not the source for that growth … but we are a strong and reliable partner in those economic development efforts.”
Latimer again expressed his concerns about the impact on development of Con Edison’s moratorium on new gas hookups.
“We cannot let this impact our ability to build market rate and affordable housing, and to attract business small, large and midsize,” Latimer said. “We are still working with the municipalities and the developers who are impacted by this moratorium – and we are working with them to get the resources they need to manage the projects that are at risk. This includes economic incentives for clean alternative energy sources, and job training to make sure we have a workforce that can assess the feasibility and install new energy sources.”
Latimer touted the recent action by the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency that granted preliminary approvals for tax incentives for three major projects in downtown White Plains whose construction costs are estimated to total $1.2 billion.
“I am focused on business and what we can do to cultivate more opportunity,” he said. “We have revitalized our MWBE program after hearing the needs of minority and women owned businesses here in the county.”
He also pointed out that he signed into law the Certified Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses in County Contracts measure, which is designed to ensure veteran-owned businesses are considered for future county contracts by all county departments.
“We are excited to welcome MGM Resorts International to Westchester County. Empire City Casino President and COO Uri Clinton is here tonight, I would like him to stand for a round of applause. They are the largest private employer in the largest city of our county, Yonkers, with exciting expansion plans,” Latimer said.
Latimer reminded the audience that in January he signed the 99-year land lease allowing development of the North 60 project by Fareri Associates to move ahead and that the business incubator Element 46 recently was launched by the county’s Office of Economic Development.
“By bringing together the very best entrepreneurial ideas, and supporting them with the immense talent and resources of this county, I am confident that we’ll be able to cultivate high-growth companies that will drive economic development for Westchester, and also serve as a great reminder of the benefits of working, living and playing right here in our county,” Latimer said.