Westchester Legislators Moving Ahead with Storm-Related Projects and Repairs in 2013 Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2012

Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-815-4462 (cell)

Westchester Legislators Moving Ahead with Projects for Storm Readiness and Repairs

Connected to Hurricane Sandy in 2013 Budget

White Plains, NY – The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) is moving ahead with a number of capital projects totaling $26.5 million for storm readiness and repairs to County parks and facilities related to Hurricane Sandy with additions approved this week for the County’s 2013 Capital Budget.

The funding approvals, which occurred in the BOL’s Budget & Appropriations Committee and still have to go through the budget process, preceded a joint meeting yesterday of the BOL’s Environment & Energy and Government Operations committees, which convened to hear from utility companies about the wide and extensive power outages suffered in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The Westchester legislators approved a number of budget additions this week in response to those Sandy-related projects being wholly absent from County Executive Rob Astorino’s Proposed 2013 Budget. One of the projects, sponsored by BOL Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers), involves an evaluation of burying power transmission and service lines underground at the County’s facilities in the Northern Westchester communities that are particularly vulnerable to outages following severe weather events.

“With the frequency of devastating storms increasing, now is the time to start investing in projects that will safeguard our residents and business owners in areas where downed trees result in long power outages,” said Jenkins. “We cannot simply sit idly by and then turn to the federal government for assistance after the fact. It’s time for a proactive effort to protect our infrastructure. Otherwise, the overall public safety here in Westchester is being compromised.”

Projects to protect Westchester’s waste water treatment plants from storm damage have also been added to the 2013 Capital Budget by the BOL, which was necessitated when two of the plants were partially shut down after Hurricane Sandy. Westchester’s plants on the Sound Shore were very close to being inundated as well.

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson) spearheaded $2.5 million of budget additions to replace trees in the County’s parks that were lost to Hurricane Sandy. Also among the additions to the capital budget are $12 million in capital projects to Playland, including the heavily storm-damaged Ice Casino, which, amazingly Astorino left out of his Proposed Budget (while maintaining that Playland’s proposed 2013 revenue would increase.) Sandy-related repairs to the Glen Island Park and the South County Trailway also received “add” approvals by the BOL.

“Hurricane Sandy has brought a number of issues to the forefront, most importantly regarding the need to invest in infrastructure and storm-readiness projects that will protect the people of Westchester,” said Jenkins. “The Board of Legislators will continue to focus on smart spending and cost containment in other areas in the County budget, but these public safety projects and vital storm-related repairs should not be neglected in the upcoming year.”

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=Bazzo 12/05/12

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