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MEDIA ALERT: Westchester Legislators to Discuss Fast Tracking of Federal Trade Agreements

MEDIA ALERT: Westchester Legislators to Discuss Fast Tracking of Federal Trade Agreements

White Plains, NY – The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Federal & State Affairs Committee, chaired by Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers), will be discussing with several notable guests the fast tracking of federal trade agreements on MONDAY—March 23 at 4 PM. Read more

Released:03-19-2015 | See More _Newsroom

Legislator Sheila Marcotte Proposes Website Improvements to Protect Consumers Against Unscrupulous Contractor’s

Legislator Sheila Marcotte Proposes Website Improvements to Protect Consumers Against Unscrupulous Contractor’s

Legislator Sheila Marcotte (R) Eastchester, New Rochelle, Tuckahoe, has proposed a plan to allow Westchester residents to more easily access two county databases that monitor home improvement contractors.  The proposal would allow consumers the ability to easily check both a contractor’s licensing status as well as if the contractor has any liens and or judgements against them, all on one webpage. Read more

Released:03-17-2015 | See More _Newsroom

Westchester Legislators Authorize Action to Recover $17 Million of Taxpayer Money

Westchester Legislators Authorize Action to Recover $17 Million of Taxpayer Money

On Monday at a Special Meeting of the Board of Legislators legislation was passed that enabled County Attorney Robert Meehan to amend the legal proceedings against the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The vote was unanimous. The court action is an attempt to recover approximately $17 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) that were earmarked for Westchester County but reallocated outside of Westchester by HUD. Read more

Released:03-16-2015 | See More _Newsroom

Negotiate Not Litigate

Negotiate Not Litigate

  Statement from Chairman Michael Kaplowitz on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decision on County of Westchester v. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Read more

Released:02-18-2015 | See More _Newsroom

Statement of Westchester County Legislators MaryJane Shimsky Reforming the Energy Vision Public Hearing before the new York State Public Service Commission

Statement of Westchester County Legislators MaryJane Shimsky Reforming the Energy Vision Public Hearing before the new York State Public Service Commission

Members and Staff of the Commission, Thank you so much for agreeing to schedule this hearing in Westchester County. As home to almost one million people, Westchester County is one of the most populous Counties in the State; and many of its municipalities, companies and organizations have been at the forefront of issues concerning energy production, and its impact on the environment. I am sure that my neighbors will have much... Read more

Released:02-10-2015 | 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.”

The Week at the Board

Monday, 3/30

B&A / EDCP / INFRA 10:00 AM
B&A / LEG / E&E /
INFRA

11:30 AM
LEG / FSA /  CS /
PS / CCRTF

01:30 PM

 

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