MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Parents in Mount Vernon will have to pay more for child care when new contribution rates kick in on Feb. 1.
Parents were previously paying 20 percent of the cost toward child care but will now pay 27 percent of the total cost, after a compromise was reached between seven Republicans and two Democrats on the Westchester County Board of Legislators to go forward with the new rates in the 2013 county budget.
Still, Mount Vernon Day Care Center Director Mary Harris said that mothers, especially, are the ones who will need to make up the cost, adding that they will have to find the money from somewhere else, like their food or housing funds.
“It might just be a few dollars to some, but a lot of these women don’t make a lot of money to begin with,” Harris said. “If they don’t have someone to watch their children, they can’t work.”
Still, County Executive Rob Astorino defended the rise in rates, stating in a news release that Westchester County rates are still below the state maximum of 35 percent, charged by 19 other counties in New York state.
“The 27 percent share means that a typical family will pay about a dollar more a day,” Astorino said. "In return, the program is on firm financial footing for 2013. The end result is a compromise that is fair and realistic.”
County Legislator Lyndon Williams is opposed to the rate hikes, saying that many low-income mothers in Mount Vernon already can’t afford to pay the previous 20 percent they had to contribute to child care.
“This is $70 more per week (for some parents), which they don’t have,” Williams said. “These parents are not getting pay raises from their jobs," Williams said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.