County Executive Astorino Invited to BOL Committee Meeting to Promote Source of Income Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 2, 2013

Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-419-5221 (cell)

County Executive Astorino Invited to BOL Committee Meeting

To Promote Source of Income Legislation

White Plains, NY – With at least $7.4 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds meant for municipalities and not-for-profit organizations hanging in the balance, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) is keeping County Executive Rob Astorino’s Source of Income legislation on a fast track with a meeting of the BOL Committee of the Whole scheduled for Monday, May 6 at 11 AM.

County Executive Astorino is being invited to the BOL Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday to promote Source of Income legislation, as required by law.

“Because a number of my colleagues on the Board of Legislators may have some questions about the County Executive’s Source of Income legislation, I’m hopeful that he’ll be able to meet with us on Monday,” said BOL Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers). “As the County Executive has indicated in writing that he will sign this legislation, it is important that any questions are answered.”

A public hearing on Astorino’s Source of Income legislation will be conducted at the next regular meeting of the BOL on Monday, May, 2013.

Westchester legislators may have some questions for Astorino about his June 2010 veto of the same Source of Income legislation which he has now submitted to the BOL. In a July 28, 2010 letter to the court-appointed monitor of the fair and affordable housing settlement between Westchester County and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Astorino offered a number of reasons for his veto, all of which have been rejected by both the District Court and Federal Appeals Court.

In his letter, Astorino writes, “(M)y predecessor in office Andrew Spano was involved in the effort to pass a Source of Income law, sending letters to the Westchester County Board of Legislators and fair housing advocates. The activities undertaken by Mr. Spano to ensure the passage of a fair and effective Source of Income law have already complied with the stipulation requirement to ‘promote’ the Source of Income legislation that was before the Board of Legislators in August 2009.” Also, “To the extent that you take the view that the agreement requires me to promote any Source of Income law that is now or may later be brought before the Board of Legislators, I respectfully submit that such an overbroad interpretation improperly deprives me of my powers as the elected head of Westchester County government.” Astorino freely admits in the letter that he had taken no action whatsoever in promoting Source of Income legislation, as specified in the agreement.

In 2010, Legislators Jenkins, Lyndon Williams, Pete Harckham, Judy Myers, John Nonna, Bill Ryan, Alfreda Williams, Bill Burton, José Alvarado and Jim Maisano voted for the Local law on Source of Income. Legislators Gordon Burrows, Michael Kaplowitz, Martin Rogowsky and John Testa voted against the law, however. Legislators Tom Abinanti and Bernice Spreckman were not present for the vote.

Recently, a federal judge ordered that Astorino submit the Source of Income legislation to the BOL and agree to sign it into law as part of his duties to promote the bill in regard to the stipulations of the fair and affordable housing settlement between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Westchester County. In March, Westchester County was notified by HUD that it would risk having $7.4 million in 2011 Community Development Block Grant funds reallocated if Astorino failed to take steps toward promoting Source of Income legislation by April 25, 2013. HUD has since noted that the County’s 2013 CDBG funds are also at risk now.

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=Bazzo 05/03/13

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