7/9/2009 10:29:53 AM



The Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a resolution Tuesday to create the Westchester Collaborative Assessment Commission (WCAC).  This resolution was introduced by Legislator Ken Jenkins (D, I, WF – Yonkers), Chairman of the Committee on Government Operations.  This action by the County Board is the result of several months of work in committee with the various municipal stakeholders, the Westchester County Tax Commissioner and the NYS Office of Real Property Services. “This resolution is an important first step as we work together with the municipalities to address property tax fairness.  For governments at every level, there is no greater issue than addressing property taxes.  This is the type of issue where the value and economy of scale County government delivers is highlighted,” said Jenkins.


Legislator Pete Harckham (D, I, WF – Bedford) said, "The operative word in the Collaborative Assessment Commission is ’collaborative’.  This is a text book model of local municipalities and the County government sharing resources to reduce costs and improve the assessment capabilities at the local level.  The State is holding this approach up as a model for other counties to follow."


Legislator John Nonna (D,I,WF – Pleasantville) said, “The establishment of the Collaborative Assessment Commission  is an important step in working with our municipalities to help them create a transparent, fair and equitable assessment process. The creation of a database for commercial and other properties will assist municipalities in establishing sound assessments and reducing certioraris.  As a former mayor, I am well aware of the burden the certioraris--return of taxes because of over assessment-- places on our municipal governments. This collaborative effort is a classic example of shared service and County government working with its constituent towns, villages and cities to help them fulfill their missions.”


Legislator Bill Burton (D,I,WF – Ossining) said, “This establishment of this Commission shows that Westchester County understands what is necessary to help reduce unfair taxation and bad assessment practice. By using the County’s strengths in data processing and volume purchasing power, Westchester County is helping local officials take steps to make taxes fairer and, ultimately, less onerous.”


The members of the WCAC will be from the Westchester County Tax Commission, the Westchester Municipal Officials Association and the Westchester County Chapter, New York State Assessors Association with the Executive Director of the Westchester County Tax Commission serving as liaison to the County Board.  The WCAC will be responsible for the development of a regional model for the collection and maintenance of property data that would be used by local assessing units as the standard for recording the characteristics of every parcel of property in their communities. 


Specifically, the WCAC will have the following objectives:


  • To develop a model for the recording and maintenance of property data by the municipalities with assessing units which is to result in the design of a property information card with appropriate fields that will standardize all property data in the county for assessment purposes;
  • To provide a time and cost estimate for updating the property data to be maintained and utilized by the local assessing unit;  and be it further.

The resolution also supports the photometry recommended in the Collaborative Assessment Report including oblique aerial photography and street level photography.  The resolution establishes a centralized commercial assessment data base to be maintained by the County as recommended in the Collaborative Assessment report.











Tanning Salons and Ultraviolet Machines Off Limits to Minors; Parents Required to Give Written Permission for 16 and 17 Year-Olds

7/9/2009 11:00:56 AM



Majority Leader Martin Rogowsky (D,WF,I-Harrison) would like to remind all Westchester residents of restrictions on minors’ access to tanning salons.  Under the current law, tanning beds will be off limits to children under 16; and, a parent or guardian of a 16 or 17 year old must provide written permission in person at the salon. Tanning facilities have to post warning signs and provide educational information to all prospective users.


“The research and testimony by health experts presented overwhelming evidence to support imposing the restrictions,” Rogowsky said. “The cost of indoor tanning is too high to treat as casually as it’s been treated. It’s not just a personal care treatment, like a manicure or a facial. This activity is dangerous---indoor tanning certainly is is contributing to the fact that melanoma is the most common form of cancer in people aged 25-29.”


The current law was drafted by Rogowsky after being presented with evidence that exposure to the ultraviolet radiation emitted by indoor tanning bulbs was contrubting to increases in the risk of skin cancer.


“It seemed clear to me that exposure to ultraviolet light from tanning salons was causing an  increase in skin cancer,” Rogowsky stated. “While all people should be cautious in their use of tanning salons, young people are especially vulnerable. They are more susceptible to irreversible skin damage and are less likely to pay attention to the long-term health hazards of ultraviolet radiation. Like what’s done with cigarettes, the current law is intended to put a road block up so that young people will be protected.”









New Committee to help strengthen this important component of Westchesters economy

7/9/2009 11:22:28 AM


Westchester County Legislator Lyndon Williams (D, I, WFP-Mount Vernon) will hold the first meeting of the newly-created special committee on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE).  This new special committee of the Board, created by Board Chairman William Ryan (D, I, WFP-White Plains), seeks to strengthen existing minority and women-owned businesses throughout the county and to promote the growth of this important component of the county’s economy. At this first business meeting, Williams will announce the appointment of Robin Douglas, Michael Carriere, David Turner, Fanni Lansch and Ann Janiak as citizen members of the committee.


Speakers to attend are (still in formation):

  • Hon. Lyndon Williams (D, WFP-Mount Vernon)
  • Hon. Lois Bronz (D, I, WFP-Greenburgh)
  • Hon. Ken Jenkins (D,I,WFP-Yonkers)
  • Hon. Peter Harckham (D-Katonah)
  • Hon. Jose Alvarado (D, I, WFP-Yonkers)
  • Robin Douglas, Director African American Chamber of Commerce, Westchester/Rockland
  • Michael Carriere, Business Representative District Council #9- Local Painters Union # 113
  • David Turner, President, United Association of Contractors and Developers
  • Ann Janiak, Executive Director of the Women’s Enterprise Development Center Inc. (WEDC)        
  • Fanni Lansch, President, Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce


Westchester County Board of Legislators
Legislative Committee Room
800 Michaelian Office Building
148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor (corner of Court Street)
White Plains, NY


Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 9:00am sharp


The creation of the Special Committee on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises is the second step in three months taken by Chairman Ryan to engage the County Board in work aimed at boosting the local economy.  Back in March, the Chairman established the Legislative Task Force on Westchester Economic Recovery to ensure that the county is taking maximum advantage of the stimulus money being made available to counties from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and to work with local governments, business groups, non-profits, and the public to develop ideas and initiatives to boost the economy on the local front. 

This new special committee will work with the County Executive’s Office of African-American Affairs.  Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano launched an initiative that makes minority-or women owned businesses more visible to county departments, contractors, municipalities and anyone else that might be interested in purchasing their services or products.  The initiative centers on a new online registration process available at www.westchestergov.com/mwob.  Business owners that sign up will automatically get email notices whenever new opportunities, such as Requests for Proposals (RFP) are posted in their area of expertise.

RE: Appointment of Richard Ravitch as Lieutenant Governor

7/9/2009 2:56:07 PM



“I applaud Governor Paterson in his selection of Richard Ravitch as New York’s next Lieutenant Governor.  Mr. Ravitch is a stellar public servant with a wealth of experience in state government.”


“As a State Assemblyman, I’ve had the opportunity of working with Mr. Ravitch in his former capacity as MTA Chairman.  During that time, I found Mr. Ravitch to be sensitive and responsive to the transportation needs of Westchester residents.”
“Governor Paterson’s selection of Mr. Ravitch is a superb choice. He is exactly the type of individual to lead the State Senate, as it takes up the important business of our state.  We’re fortunate that Mr. Ravitch is available to serve in this capacity.”


 “It’s imperative that the State Senate quickly refocus its attention on the important business that Westchester and other counties have placed on its agenda.  The Governor is to be commended for his ongoing effort to put the people’s business first.”







Peekskill, Cortlandt arts and kids programs to receive more than $230,000

7/9/2009 3:07:59 PM



Westchester County Legislator George Oros (R/Cortlandt) is pleased to announce more than $230,000 has been approved for five different organizations in Peekskill and Cortlandt that enhance the quality of life for adults and children.


“Music, art and recreational programs are an integral part of the quality of life of a community and I’m glad the county can play a role in ensuring the organizations that offer these programs can continue to do so,” Oros said.


Oros said he was particularly proud that the City of Peekskill’s Youth Bureau would be the recipient of $150,000 to enable the highly successful Invest-in-Kids program to continue for another three years.


More than 280 youth, ages 11-18, participate in various programs offered through Invest-in-Kids, including Leadership Initiatives for Teens and Savvy Parent & Youth PACT. The Peekskill Youth Bureau, under the direction of Valerie Swan and with the support of the Peekskill Common Council, is “help up as a model for other municipalities in the county,” according to Oros.


Under the inter-municipal agreement with the county, the City of Peekskill will be required to contribute $80,769 to the Youth Bureau’s activities over the next three years.


Meanwhile, three other groups in the City of Peekskill will receive grants, thanks to county funds that were allocated to ArtsWestchester.


The Paramount Center for the Arts will be awarded $50,000, the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art $20,000 and Taconic Opera $8,000. In neighboring Cortlandt, Copland House will receive $6,000.