New York State, like other states around the nation, established its county system of government as a way to deliver services more efficiently on a grassroots basis. There are 3,069 counties in the United States. Only Connecticut and Rhode Island have no functioning county governments. All county governments are led by an elected body. Westchester, one of New York State’s original ten counties, was first led by the Board of Justices which convened for the first time on November 1, 1683. The legislature then became the Board of Supervisors and is now called the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

The 17-member County Board is the lawmaking branch of county government. It sets policies that protect and serve Westchester’s nearly one million residents, and allocates the money needed to operate county programs and services. It has oversight responsibility of the executive branch, which was created in 1939 to carry out its policies. Each County Legislator, elected to a two-year term, represents a district of about 57,000 residents.

Westchester County’s Budget
Two-thirds of Westchester County’s operating budget involves services and programs mandated by the federal government and the state of New York. Some of these services are funded entirely by federal and state aid; however, the State shifts a significant portion of the cost of other programs (in particular Medicaid) to the County to be funded through tax revenue. The remaining one-third of the budget is considered discretionary or non-mandated, and the County Board has greater control over how this portion of the budget is spent. Read More...