FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 19, 2013
Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-815-4462 (cell)
Westchester Legislators Request Extension from HUD to Save 2011 CDBG Funds
White Plains, NY – Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) has requested a month extension from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the County to respond to issues regarding non-compliance of the fair and affordable housing settlement in order to prevent the reallocation of 2011 Community Development Block Grant funds.
The request asks HUD to modify the response date for the County to complete an analysis of exclusionary zoning and also promote Source of Income legislation from April 25, 2013 to May 25, 2013.
In his letter, Jenkins points out that the court-appointed monitor of the housing settlement, James E. Johnson, noted during his appearance at the BOL’s Committee of the Whole meeting on April 8 that he and his staff were completing their own analysis of exclusionary zoning, and that some errors they made have caused additional follow up with municipalities around the county. Since the monitor’s analysis will not be completed until mid-May of this year, Jenkins said an extension of time from HUD would allow the County to craft a plan to overcome exclusionary zoning practices based on the monitor’s findings, should any such practices be found.
The BOL continues to wait for County Executive Astorino to send the members new Source of Income legislation for its consideration, Jenkins notes in his letter, Jenkins reminds HUD, as well, that the BOL passed a resolution in September 2012 for Astorino to undertake this action within 60 days. A recent Appellate Court decision reiterated that the County Executive failed to promote Source of Income legislation as required under the Consent Decree.
“This short extension of time being requested gives the County Executive and Administration an ample opportunity to craft and submit Source of Income legislation to the Board of Legislators, which will rectify a major point of contention between the County and HUD,” said Jenkins. “The recent legislation ratifying the Local Development Corporation serves as a fine example of the Administration promoting legislation and working with the Board to enact a law. I think a similar effort can be made here.”
The urgency and rationale for asking HUD for the extension rests simply on trying to prevent the loss of the 2011 CDBG funds, which HUD has indicated will be reallocated unless the County can provide substantive assurances that it has a plan to address zoning and Source of Income legislation, said Jenkins.
“We are all trying to work together on this issue to ensure that these important grants are saved,” said BOL Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-Katonah). “Otherwise, the municipalities and not-for-profit organizations that are meant to receive these funds will be adversely affected, which, in turn will hurt taxpayers and residents being served by important programs supported by these grants.”
Remarked Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), chair of the BOL Government Operations Committee: “We have to work collaboratively with HUD to quickly resolve the outstanding issues of the housing settlement in order to protect Westchester taxpayers from further economic penalties. This extension will give the Board of Legislators and the County Executive time to work together to craft positive solutions with the Federal government.”
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