FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2013
Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-419-5221 (cell)
BOL Members Blast Astorino Administration on Rye Playland Repairs
White Plains, NY – Despite assurances from County Executive Rob Astorino that repairs related to storm damage from last fall’s Hurricane Sandy at Rye Playland are “ahead of schedule,” some members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) criticized the Administration’s efforts today and noted that foot-dragging and a bidding snafu will end up hurting county taxpayers. The BOL members also called for a complete timetable regarding repairs to the Ice Casino at Playland.
“The Astorino Administration continues this unacceptable pattern of contrived success from self-inflicted delays,” said BOL Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers). “Although the Astorino Administration has repaired a section of the boardwalk at Playland, the total project remains incomplete. The delays that occurred were totally avoidable, and now the season is starting with a good part of the boardwalk still closed to our residents and other park visitors.”
Jenkins noted that Administration officials did not report to the BOL about damages incurred at Playland until the end of November 2012, a full month after Hurricane Sandy hit the region. Then, it was another month until the Administration submitted a request for emergency bonding for the repair project. After the bids were opened on March 12, County Attorney Robert Meehan opined that the bids no longer fell within the “emergency” category, and the bidding process needed to be undertaken all over again. The new bids for the project were opened on April 3, 2013.
Earlier this week, Jenkins asked Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore to initiate an investigation into the bidding process for the Playland boardwalk repairs. In any event, the Administration has noted that repairs to boardwalk remain ongoing.
“Many people attend Playland throughout the year to just enjoy strolling and exercising on the boardwalk, so any delays will hurt attendance and cause revenues to suffer,” said Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), chair of the BOL Government Operations Committee. “Because other communities, parks and beach areas in the region that were damaged by Sandy have their boardwalks fully repaired, it’s disappointing that ours is still being worked on.”
These repairs were similar to those made to the Ice Casino and boardwalk approximately ten years ago as a result of a storm surge.
Democratic caucus members of the BOL remain upset that that the Ice Casino at Playland will not be ready for the 2013-2014 season—and possibly longer. This information apparently was known by the Administration during the 2013 Budget deliberation, and yet expected revenue generated by the Ice Casino, approximately, $1.5 million, was included in the budget.
Legislator Judy Myers (D-Larchmont), chair of the BOL Budget & Appropriations Committee, remarked that the Administration’s failure to have the Ice Casino ready to be open by September 2013 was avoidable.
“The Astorino Administration should also commit to making the Ice Casino repairs a top priority to save money for Westchester taxpayers and continue to provide a valuable recreational resource for residents,” said Myers. “Right now, we need a timetable in hand for when these repairs are expected to be completed as well.”
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