For Immediate Release: June 5, 2013
Contact: Matt Richter
Playland: Westchester Legislators Vote to Continue Good Faith Communications, Reject Exigent Reporting Mandate
The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) voted on Monday to continue using existing protocols for reporting the attendance and revenue figures for Playland, the county-owned amusement park. Legislation had been proposed that would mandate Westchester County’s Department of Parks Recreation and Conservation to submit weekly reports to the BOL detailing those figures.
“It simply does not make sense to establish a law that requires a county department to submit weekly reports on information that they already provide to us. Mandating these weekly reports would be onerous and duplicative from an administrative standpoint.” said, Legislator Michael Kaplowitz (D-New Castle, Somers, Yorktown). Legislator Kaplowitz went on to say, “I recognize the value of this type of analyses and would consider a requirement for monthly or quarterly reports. Data from longer periods of time enables us to identify trends in these indices. Weekly figures offer no objectivity and can swing wildly due to factors like a rainy weekend.”
The attendance and revenue figures are tracked throughout the season and are available to Legislators at any time. The Parks Department has been reporting these figures to BOL committees without the existence of an Act requiring them to do so and that practice will continue.
Legislator John Testa, (R-Cortlandt, Peekskill, Yorktown) said, “We’ve been getting these figures for years and representatives from Playland and the Parks Department have always been forthcoming and accommodating to requests for information.” Legislator Testa added, “In all the time that we’ve been receiving this information, I’ve only seen the Board take action on them one time and that was to capriciously eliminate the spectator fees in mid-season and that decision was not supported by the data it was simply a roll of the dice to see if consumer spending would increase overall at Playland and it did not.”
In discussions during the Board of Legislators meeting, Legislator and Majority Whip, MaryJane Shimsky, (D-Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Hartsdale, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington) observed that in her experience the data has been consistently made available. Legislator Shimsky serves on the Government Operations Committee, she said, “The fact of the matter is, Gov Ops meets every week. We’ve been receiving weekly data from Playland all along, at least as since I’ve been on the Board.”
County Executive Rob Astorino has signed a management agreement with a non-profit called Sustainable Playland to operate the amusement park. The plan was approved by the County’s Board of Acquisition and Contract. An overall plan for changes at the park will be presented to BOL for approval in the coming weeks.