WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Westchester County Board of Legislators say they would be happy to look at the bond proposals for parks in North Castle, Mount Vernon, White Plains and Yonkers, but first County Executive Robert Astorino must submit them.
Astorino issued a news release earlier this week stating that he was seeking bond act approval totaling $1.4 million for Cranberry Lake Preserve in North Castle and White Plains, Willson’s Woods Park in Mount Vernon and the Bronx River Reservation in Yonkers. But BOL Chair Ken Jenkins said that Astorino has yet to submit any bond legislation.
“The Board of Legislators presently has not received any bond legislation as specified (Thursday) by County Executive Astorino,” said Jenkins in a press release. “It’s impossible to approve the funding for projects until the legislation is submitted.”
Jenkins then asserted that Astorino "has made cuts to the County Parks budget and staff for three consecutive years," according to the release. Jenkins later states that Astorino "proposed to cut 19 Parks positions, including Cranberry Lake Preserve’s popular curator," according to the release.
“County Executive Astorino calls Westchester’s parks ‘a vital part of the fabric of our county,’ but for the past three years he has cut funding for them and laid off dozens of hardworking professional who helped make these parks such ‘public treasures,’” said Jenkins in the release.
The proposal in Astorino's release asked for $400,000 to expand the parking lot at Willson’s Woods Park, $340,000 for a new nature center at Cranberry Lake Preserve and $650,000 for a new pathway on the Bronx River Reservation.
Jenkins also disputed the proposals.
"The $400,000 bond act proposed by Astorino for Willson’s Woods Park in Mount Vernon was first in the 2010 Capital program, which was submitted the prior County Executive," Jenkins said in the release. "The total stands just for the design of the project and not the construction. When the project was first submitted in 2010, the total cost was estimated to be $4.4 million; now it is $3.8 million."
He later points out that the Astorino release claiming that the Cranberry Lake Preserve serves "'well over 11,000 visitors annually' is not supported by service indicator information in the Adopted Budget books" and put estimates closer to 10,000 visitors, according to the release.
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