FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 28, 2013
Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-815-4462 (cell)
Westchester Legislators Advance
Local Development Corporation
White Plains, NY – In an effort that stretches back to last year, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) took a big step forward today in ratifying the incorporation of the Westchester County Local Development Corporation (LDC) when legislation for the ratification was approved in two BOL committees, Legislation and Government Operations, respectively chair by Bill Ryan (D-White Plains) and Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining). The legislation is now on track for final approval by the full BOL at its next regular meeting on April 15.
The LDC legislation, which was originally introduced to the BOL by County Executive Rob Astorino, also ratifies and confirms that the LDC may issue bonding obligations within Westchester County to act in the public interest. As such, this Act will provide an additional and alternate method of incorporating a not-for-profit LDC in order to generate funding for projects.
“Over the past several weeks my Board colleagues on these two committees have done an inordinate amount of due diligence to be able to pass out a solid piece of legislation that we can all be proud of,” said BOL Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-Katonah). “To their credit, Legislators Borgia and Ryan fielded scores of detailed questions from the other legislators, had them answered and created an exhaustive public record to establish the underpinning of this legislation. We remain on track to approve this at the April 15 meeting, as promised to all the stakeholders involved.”
Harckham pointed out that several changes to the original legislation added significant transparency and protections for county taxpayers. The LDC, for instance, will have seven board seats instead of the three that were first suggested by the County Executive, including a seat each for the BOL Majority and Minority Leaders, plus a seat for a labor representative.
The new LDC’s powers are limited to assisting capital projects undertaken by not-for-profit corporations by the issuance of bonds and other financial obligations or refinancing bonds originally issued by the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York for not-for-profit corporations.
“I’m pleased that, after a great deal of deliberations and legislative oversight, we have crafted an LDC that will give not-for-profit organizations an excellent financial tool with the necessary protections and governability,” said Borgia.
Legislator Ryan remarked that not-for-profit organizations already play an important role in Westchester, and that “the new LDC will help spur economic growth by financing projects of not-for-profit corporations in Westchester, creating construction jobs and long-term employment opportunities. New jobs and payroll growth are key to continuing our economic recovery.”
“I’m glad that, finally, we have a legally defensible document that will help our not for profits with the capital projects they need to thrive, projects that will put our long-unemployed building trades people back to work,” said Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson). “It’s too bad that the County Executive, whose Chief of Staff worked so effectively with us in shaping this legislation, wrongly denied the participation of the Board of Legislators in this process last year. If he had done the right thing from the beginning, thousands of our tradespeople would be working on LDC-generated capital investments right now.”
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