Recommendation: Westchester, Fairview, Hartsdale & Greenville Fire district and town should offer grace period to those who are out of work (or suffered hardships) as a result of coronavirus. County considering. Other coronavirus updates posted below.
The town, county and fire district taxes are due on April 30th. During the past two weeks I have written numerous e mails (and have had discussions during our conference calls) to county officials and to other municipal officials from around the county suggesting that we offer a grace period for the county/town/fire district taxes for those who lost their jobs or suffered enormous business problems during the coronavirus crisis.
It’s easier said than done. According to NYS law, all towns in Westchester must guarantee Westchester County 100% of the taxes due whether they are collected or not. If you don’t pay your full tax bill - the town is required to write a check to the county for the amount, whether we receive it or not. The only way a grace period could work would be for the county to agree to received delayed payments on the amount not paid. We would also need cooperation from the three paid fire districts - Fairview, Greenville and Hartsdale. I wrote letters to each of the paid fire districts earlier this week asking if they would support a grace period of two months or more.
At the conference call yesterday the County Executive indicated that he will direct the County Attorney to review options and to provide us with a report next week. The County Attorney will provide a memo to the County Executive and Board of Legislators outlining their options on extending tax payments. What hardship provisions could be enacted.
I believe that something must be done for those who are suffering significant hardships and will continue to try very hard to obtain some kind of relief. People are suffering. And other levels of government (federal, state) are also helping.
It should be mentioned that there are some downsides --some governments could have cash flow problems since they depend on the revenue. Westchester and local governments will lose significant revenue as a result of the coronavirus--sales tax, hotel tax, mortgage tax revenues will be down. Although we are focusing on health and safety now, after this crisis passes every government will face enormous budgetary issues. So many people are losing jobs --after this crisis is over we will have to figure out ways to create new jobs and to help those who have lost their jobs so we can avoid a 2nd Great Depression.
We now have a total of 1,091 cases of COVID-19 in Westchester. That is up by 293 since the day before when a total of 1,482 additional people were tested. In two days the cases have doubled. 39 people were hospitalized as of yesterday in Westchester and no critical cases in Westchester hospitals.
At the conference call the County Executive indicated that for the time being golf courses will remain open and public transportation is not being cut----yet. We also learned that the Governor directed that no business can be evicted for failure to pay rent to a landlord for 90 days.
The Governor called for 100% reduction of non-essential workers. If a business would like to request to be designated as an essential business, they need to complete the attached form and send it to Empire State Development
Westchester County Director of Economic Development, Bridget Gibbons is coordinating efforts to find resources to assist small businesses. A link to what she and her team have pulled together so far is here: https://emailblast.westchestergov.com/CE/whoknows/Mar20_special/
The County is trying to prioritize reporting test results for police and emergency service workers. However anybody who was tested at Glen Island in New Rochelle may access their test results directly by creating a patient portal account with BioReference Laboratories. That can be done on our website here: https://health.westchestergov.com/2019-novel-coronavirus
Contact Lindsay Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have information on any medical professional volunteers. They can also contact her directly