November 10, 2016 (WHITE PLAINS, NY) Earlier today, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino released his 2017 budget proposal amid legislative review of his newly-proposed 40-year lease agreement for the county airport and another year that the County fell short of projected sales tax and other revenue goals. The County Executive’s 2017 budget relies heavily on a front-loaded one-time payment of $15 million dollars from the Westchester County airport management proposal. The legislature received the proposed lease at close of business on Friday after the County Exec announced the deal in the press and legislative review has begun.
“This is the second straight year the County Executive has submitted a budget that relies on one-shot revenue streams and borrowing for operating expenses to make up for the mismanagement of the county as a whole,” said Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), “The Legislature has begun the process of reviewing the airport management deal, but that process must not be held hostage to the urgency of an unbalanced budget.
“I applaud the County Executive for not continuing his practice of overly-aggressive sales tax projections, in light of the current 2016 budget shortfall caused by over estimating sales tax revenues. However, since this budget continues to rely on one-shot revenues and other gimmicks, I think it is a reasonable conclusion that the county budget remains out of balance and does not present a sustainable financial future for the county. Over the last several years various Legislators have presented efficiencies that exist within current county operations that have not been enacted and we will continue to present those during our discussions of the budget and airport alteration proposals,” Borgia concluded.
Governor Cuomo's Indian Point Alert
March 29, 2016 Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement today about Indian Point nuclear facility in Buchanan, New York. The facility operates on the Hudson River, northwest driving distance from Armonk of 25 driving miles or 15 miles straight line.
“This afternoon, the state learned that hundreds of faulty bolts were discovered within the reactor at the Indian Point Unit 2 Plant,” said Cuomo. “This is the latest in a long series of incidents that raise deep concerns about the management, maintenance and equipment standards at this plant.”
Indian Point Energy Center has two operating power plants, Unit 2 and Unit 3, that supply about 25 percent of power used in New York City and Westchester County.
In accordance to the plant’s license renewal application, the most recent in-depth probes are going beyond the normal inspections. Entergy Corporation owns and operates the power plant. They said during a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage, which began on March 7, issues were revealed with approximately 11 percent of more than 2,000 bolts of the reactors’ removable liner.
Entergy says the issues identified with the reactor's liner bolts require further analysis, but "did not have an impact on public health or safety.” Corrective measures will be taken before Unit 2 is returned to operation.
Furthermore, Cuomo said, “While there is no immediate danger to public health and safety, this troubling news further validates the State’s ongoing investigation into the operations of this aging power plant and our position that it should not be relicensed.”
New York State will investigate the plant’s safety to ensure these defects are addressed immediately.
Astorino's On The Road Campaign Lands in North Castle
June 18, 2013 Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino held a Town Hall meeting in Armonk to discuss county issues and concerns that affect North Castle. His on "the road campaign" is an open dialogue with residents to share his accomplishments, which include protecting taxpayers, preserving essential services and promoting economic growth.
Astorino said Westchester County is on target to meet the necessary requirements to build 750-affordable-housing units over seven years, as determined by the Housing and Urban Development settlement. Astorino said, "Additional actions will be needed for the Town to make meaningful progress toward meeting its affordable housing obligation under the 2009 Settlement."
"Beyond the four corners" of the county's settlement, HUD has determined that Westchester’s supplement zoning submissions do not provide sufficient evidence to support the county's affirmatively further fair housing. The monitor for HUD reports that the affordable housing "benchmarks" for 31 eligible Westchester communities is 5,847 units, of which North Castle's benchmark obligations is 666 units.
A report card dated March 2013 from Federal Housing Monitor James Johnson was sent to the 31 eligible Westchester communities. Johnson says North Castle's middle-income housing does not conform to the model of the affordable-housing zoning ordinance. "Under current conditions, the Town has the capacity to produce 82 additional multifamily units, without demolition and redevelopment." Click to view the document here.
Astorino said the benchmark obligation has not been enforced and the municipalities are not required to respond. But if Westchester County communities were required to adopt the additional model affordable-housing zoning ordinance of 5,847 more units (with an outstanding benchmark obligation of 666 FAH units in North Castle), Astorino said, "I'll be back in court real quick."
Astorino is working with Supervisor Howard Arden and the Town Board to repair and relocate the historical Elijah Miller House from Virginia Road to Fountain Park in North White Plains. More details need to be worked out, says Astorino, such as who will be responsible for the maintenance of the building and who will oversee the building once it is moved.
North Castle Has Coffee with Its Senator and Assemblyman
March 16, 2014 State Senator George Latimer has held informal meetings with Westchester residents for years, but Saturday’s visit to Armonk Square was the first time the freshman Senator joined forces with the freshman Assemblyman David Buchwald in Armonk. Both have an excellent grasp of issues relating to Westchester residents and are easily approachable. Neighbors showed up to discuss a wide variety of issues over coffee and muffins at Tazza Cafè. The relaxed atmosphere allowed for intimate discussions.
Assemblyman Buchwald said topics included education--always an important issue to the communities here in Westchester--as well as transportation, shared services between municipalities, and some health care-related concerns.
What was most interesting to Senator Latimer was the wide range of topics. “We talked about the corrections facility [Bedford Hills], medical marijuana, and education. If we had a forum we might talk about one particular issue, but if you open it up to anybody in the community that wants to come, then you see the range of what they are interested in.”
They also talked about supporting small businesses. “It’s one of the things that are important to a lot of our residents here in Westchester,” says Buchwald. “It’s one of the reasons we chose to meet in a place like Tazza. It’s a homegrown business that is literally at the heart of the community and we are so pleased they were so kind to host us today.”
Since taking office last year, Assemblyman Buchwald has relocated his district office to downtown Mount Kisco, which is easily accessible by bus and Metro North trains. Assemblyman Buchwald’s district includes the towns of Bedford, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mt. Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge and the city of White Plains.
Senator Latimer has relocated his district office to Port Chester. Senator Latimer’s district includes Bedford, Bronxville, Eastchester, Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, North Castle, Rye, Rye City, and Tuckahoe along with parts of New Rochelle, White Plains, and Yonkers.
“This just whets my appetite for more,” says Latimer. We hope this informal gathering in North Castle is the first of many.