FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20 2012
Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-815-4462 (cell)
Lack of Post-Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction and Repairs in Astorino’s Proposed 2013 Budget Dismays Democratic Legislators
White Plains, NY – Democratic members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) expressed their dismay today at the lack of post-Hurricane Sandy reconstruction and repair projects in County Executive Rob Astorino’s Proposed 2013 Budget.
“While we have expressed major concerns that the Administration stalls the undertaking of important capital projects around the county throughout the year, it’s shocking to find nothing in the budget related to helping communities rebuild from damages suffered during Hurricane Sandy, especially because the obvious need for storm-related repairs was known prior to the budget being presented,” said BOL Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers).
The BOL’s Budget & Appropriations (B&A) Committee, chaired by Legislator Judy Myers (D-Larchmont), is now in its fourth day of receiving testimony from various County department heads about their requests in the Proposed 2013 Budget. No one from the Administration has yet to make mention of capital projects for necessary infrastructure repairs to County-owned facilities damaged in the storm last month.
“We would like to be positive and feel encouraged about all of the capital projects associated with the different department budgets, but that’s hard to do when there doesn’t seem to be any focus on the devastation caused by the storm,” said Myers. “Even a short list of necessary storm-related capital projects would have signaled the right intention by the Administration.”
The Astorino Administration did send down to the BOL two bond acts for capital projects related to damages incurred by Sandy—a $12 million repair of the Yonkers Waste Water Treatment Plant and $1.8 million to repair various sanitary sewer infrastructures around the county—and both have been referred to the B&A Committee, where they will be reviewed and discussed on Monday, November 26.
But the total lack of funding for projects related to Hurricane Sandy in the 2013 Proposed Budget is beyond understanding, Jenkins said.
“This is a complete dereliction of duty—and the reason why the Board has taken the Administration to court on the capital budget process,” said Jenkins. “As the governing branch, the Board of Legislators has to be able to identify and move on projects, even if the Administration declines to. In this case, we asked after the storm that projects to repair infrastructure, including county offices, be submitted as part of the Capital Budget Plan for 2013, but the Administration failed to do so. As a result, the BOL will add to the budget these important projects that protect our County assets.”
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