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BOL Majority Leader Borgia Introduces Children’s Product Safety Act

BOL Majority Leader Borgia Introduces Children’s Product Safety Act

  White Plains, NY - Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) recently introduced legislation requiring retailers to test toys for sale which may contain certain dangerous chemicals, thus potentially preventing them from ever reaching county residents, and today, along with several of her colleagues from the Democratic Caucus, she joined health and environmental advocates to unveil a report at a special press conference detailing the presence... Read more

Released:12-10-2014 | See More _Newsroom

Westchester Legislators Budget Committee Issues Final Report, Vote Set for Tuesday December 9th

Westchester Legislators Budget Committee Issues Final Report, Vote Set for Tuesday December 9th

                          White Plains, NY - On Friday December 5th, the Board of Legislators (BOL) Budget and Appropriations Committee voted out their final report on the 2015 Westchester County Operating and Capital Budgets.  At the start of the budget process Board Chairman Michael Kaplowitz directed that the final report be posted to the BOL website for the public to review at least 48 hours prior to the Budget vote.  The Document was... Read more

Released:12-05-2014 | See More _Newsroom

Westchester Legislators Announce Significant Progress Toward Bipartisan 2015 Budget

Westchester Legislators Announce Significant Progress Toward Bipartisan 2015 Budget

  Budget and Appropriations Committee votes out “Budget Additions Report” White Plains, NY - The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Budget and Appropriations Committee made their additions to County Executive Rob Astorino’s proposed 2015 budget. The Budget and Appropriations Committee will make their corresponding deletions to the budget and then release the final budget report on Friday. In what Legislators described as a productive and bipartisan, all-day negotiation, a number of important issues... Read more

Released:12-02-2014 | See More _Newsroom

Westchester Legislators Approve Major Reform to County Budget Process

Westchester Legislators Approve Major Reform to County Budget Process

White Plains, NY - Westchester Legislators approved a major reform to the County budget process on Monday evening.  The reform measure is meant to bring greater transparency and opportunity for public review of the final budget before it is voted on.  The change was recommended by the Charter Revision Commission and was first championed by Legislator Sheila Marcotte ( R ) Tuckahoe, New Rochelle, Eastchester.  Legislator Marcotte is Chair of the... Read more

Released:11-25-2014 | See More _Newsroom

Westchester Legislators and Staff Donate Thanksgiving Baskets to Domestic Violence Shelters

Westchester Legislators and Staff Donate Thanksgiving Baskets to Domestic Violence Shelters

This past week Legislator Alfreda Williams (D) Greenburgh and Legislator Gordon A. Burrows ( R ) Yonkers, Bronxville along with their staff members donated full Thanksgiving dinner baskets including frozen turkeys to Westchester  families.  The dinners were donated through two Domestic Violence shelters, My Sisters Place and Hope’s Door.  Each shelter received six baskets.   Read more

Released:11-26-2014 | See More _Newsroom

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Westchester Legislators Approve Source of Income Legislation

Legislation

“Landmark” Bill Slightly Modified from Version Submitted by County Executive Astorino

 

White Plains, NY – The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) approved tonight legislation banning discrimination against potential renters and home buyers based on their source income. The legislation, which has long been sought by advocates for fair and affordable housing, was a slightly modified version of the Source of Income legislation submitted by County Executive Rob Astorino to the BOL in April, and which he’d previously vetoed in 2010.

 

The vote for approval of the legislation was 15-2, with legislators David Gelfarb (R-Rye Brook) and Michael Smith (R-White Plains) voting against it.

 

The one modification for the bill was to change a single exemption. Previously, a landlord living in and owning a rental property with four or less units and maintaining ownership or part ownership in another property of four or less units would be exempted from the law. The modified Source of Income legislation now simply exempts landlords and owners of one property of six or less units.

 

“This legislation will protect seniors, veterans and low-income working families struggling to find an affordable place to live and who depend on government assistance to get by,” said BOL Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers). “No form of discrimination is acceptable in Westchester. Our communities will be stronger because of this legislation, which my colleagues on the Board of Legislators should rightfully be proud of.”

 

The Source of Income legislation, which was passed by the BOL in June 2010 but vetoed by County Executive Astorino, received more scrutiny by the County Board than any other local law in recent years, noted Jenkins. In addition to numerous committee meetings, there were several public hearings, with a variety of stakeholders providing comment, including landlords, tenants, realtors, tenant advocacy groups and business groups.  During a process of “extensive discussion and comment,” the legislation was re-drafted several times, ultimately resulting in the June 2010 legislation.

 

Westchester County was notified by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that it would risk having $7.4 million in 2011 Community Development Block Grant  (CDBG) funds reallocated if Astorino failed to take steps toward promoting Source of Income legislation, as stipulated in the fair and affordable housing settlement between the County and the HUD. Moreover, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara demanded that the County Executive resubmit to the BOL the Source of Income legislation and provide written assurance he would sign the legislation, if passed by the BOL, or risk contempt of court charges and crippling fines against the County.

 

HUD has since declared that the County’s 2012 and 2013 CDBG funds, now totaling $17 million, are also at risk.

 

Although the legislation bans source of income discrimination, it allows landlords to use reasonable business judgment and level of income in evaluating potential tenants. The legislation, which does not apply to cooperative apartments and condominiums, will sunset in five (5) years unless re-enacted, and it includes a 180-day phase-in period. Also, the County will conduct public education and outreach to inform the public about the new legislation once it is signed into law.

 

“The Board of Legislators has done everything possible to help County Executive Astorino promote Source of Income protections for county residents and move Westchester closer to full compliance with the housing settlement,” said Legislator Bill Ryan (D-White Plains), chair of the BOL Legislation Committee. “Now, it’s up to him to show the federal authorities that he’s serious about moving forward with the settlement and protecting our CDBG funds.”

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