Westchester County Board of Legislators will help the United Way place volunteers who will deliver services to our residents

8/26/2009 11:10:51 AM



(White Plains, NY) ~ In this tough economy, with money tight and community-based organizations in need of volunteers, Westchester County Board of Legislators Chair William Ryan (D, WFP - White Plains) today announced that funding will be provided to the Volunteer Center of the United Way to help the Center place volunteers in a variety of programs and services benefiting county residents.  “The recession has placed considerable stress on the budgets of many organizations in the county,” stated Chairman Ryan.  “Volunteers on staff can help these organizations maintain programs and services used by thousands of people throughout Westchester.” 


The funding for the Volunteer Center addresses the need for community outreach to inform volunteers of work opportunities and for training organizations in effective ways to engage their volunteers.  Learning how to find and make creative use of the skills of volunteers enhances the experience for all parties.  “The return on this investment is immense,” said Chairman Ryan, “in terms of opening doors for people who want to help others and in helping the underemployed find a job.” 


The volunteers are out there in large numbers.  The Westchester Serves Expo, held recently at the County Center, attracted an overflow crowd of hundreds looking for opportunities to volunteer in such areas as health, emergency services, the arts, social services, and the environment. 


The Volunteer Center of the United Way matches the interest and availability of hundreds of volunteer workers with the needs of not-for-profit organizations and it works to improve the quality of the volunteer experience through training.  Over the last several months, visits to the Volunteer Center website have increased dramatically and volunteer referrals to organizations have more than doubled.








County Board’s review of the proposed agreement to continue with legislators the Administration, agency representatives and attorneys

8/27/2009 4:32:30 PM


Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman William Ryan (D, WFP-White Plains) has officially called a series of committee meetings to provide all legislators the opportunity to obtain additional information, in relation to the proposed affordable housing settlement agreement and the Bond Act to fund costs related to the settlement.  Chairman Ryan and the members of the Legislature will be gathering more details on the settlement from various agency and Administration representatives and attorneys.


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


FIRST MEETING -- Tuesday, September 1, at 10:00 a.m. 


o       financing the requirements of the proposed settlement

o       our submissions to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development

o       HUD policies, rules and regulations, and expectations

o       other relevant topics of inquiry



o       Todd Miles, Esq. of Hawkins, Delafield and Wood (the County’s bond counsel)

o       Westchester County Finance Commissioner Kathy Thorsberg

o       Westchester County Planning Commissioner Gerard Mulligan and Planning Department staff; representatives of the Administration

o       Westchester County Attorney Charlene Indelicato


SECOND MEETING -- Wednesday, September 2, at 2:30 p.m. 


o       any outstanding legal matters

o       housing development programs including State and federal grants and loans

o       the availability of funds that could be applied for by housing developers for the construction of affordable AFFH units



o       Michael Kalish of Epstein Becker and Green, P.C. (our counsel in this matter),

o       Westchester County Attorney Charlene Indelicato

o       Commissioner Deborah VanAmerongen -- NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal


THIRD MEETING -- Tuesday, September 8, at 10:00 a.m. 

o       This meeting is to allow time for any further discussion


In response to the landmark settlement between the federal government and Westchester County, the county’s Board of Legislators has officially received the final version of the proposed negotiated settlement agreement and Bond act.  The settlement agreement is subject to and conditional upon approval of the county’s Board of Legislators.  The Board’s Budget and Appropriations Committee took the first step toward ratification of this settlement and bond act by approving these measures.  The settlement Act and Bond Act will be on the regular calendar for our Board meeting scheduled for Monday evening, September 8.  Should the Board fail to provide approval, the agreement shall be null and void, and all parties would proceed to trial.  The Board of Legislators is conducting its process of thoroughly reviewing the agreement.

RE: Proposed housing settlement with federal government

9/4/2009 10:56:52 AM



This week, the Board of Legislators continued its full consideration and thorough review of the proposed affordable housing settlement with the federal government and the bonding needed to fund the costs related to the settlement.


Our legislative review process began more than two weeks ago with the work of the Board’s Budget and Appropriations Committee on the settlement Act and Bond Act.  Our Committee discussion proved to be a productive first step in our process.  We made specific inquiries into the history of the fair housing lawsuit and the chief issues and concerns raised by this matter.  We obtained needed information from the Administration and our attorneys.  The Committee reported the settlement Act and bond Act to the full Board for appropriate action.


As the Budget and Appropriations Committee was approving the settlement and bonding, I pledged to the members of the legislature the continuation of our process of full consideration and thorough review.  We would continue to meet with relevant parties to get all the information we deem necessary for the full Board to make the correct decision on this matter. I called a series of Committee of the Whole meetings for this purpose.


This week, in two lengthy Committee of the Whole meetings involving our outside attorneys and County Attorney, representatives of the Spano Administration, bond counsel, and State agency heads, the full Board continued its due diligence.


The time spent thus far in deliberations, gathering important information and gaining additional understanding of the county’s obligations and responsibilities in this proposed settlement agreement, has been invaluable.  More time, however, is needed by the Board to continue its necessary work.


Although the settlement Act and Bond Act, reported out of Committee, will be live on the agenda of the Board’s September 8 regular meeting, I will not call for a vote on these items at that meeting.   Rather, I am directing our review process forward and I will continue to use the Committee of the Whole for our work sessions.  In this way, all Board members will have the opportunity to participate and our proceedings will continue to be open and transparent to the public.  I will be consulting with Board leadership over this weekend and will release on Tuesday a schedule for our work sessions.


All issues and questions considered, this may well be the most complex matter to ever come before the Board of Legislators and our decision here may be the most important decision any legislative body has had to make in the history of this county.  This will be a defining action for this Legislature.


I commend all members of the Board for the time and effort they have put into this review.  Their work has been outstanding.  And that work will continue to ensure that we are fully informed and prepared to make the correct decision for all of the people and taxpayers of Westchester County.












9/4/2009 3:08:04 PM





Westchester County Legislator John Nonna (D, I, WFP-Mount Pleasant) is hosting a community town hall to give updates and details on the proposed affordable housing settlement agreement and the Bond Act to fund costs related to the settlement.






Westchester County Legislator John Nonna (D, I, WFP-Mount Pleasant)






Mount Pleasant Town Hall
1 Town Hall Plaza (at Columbus Avenue)
Valhalla, NY 






Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. SHARP






This town hall meeting is to provide community residents with an up-to-date explanation and discussion of the proposed settlement agreement by the County of a lawsuit that will require the County to ensure the development of up to 750 units of affordable housing.  Residents will also have the opportunity to ask questions.




9/9/2009 10:27:26 AM



Westchester County Legislator Jim Maisano (R, New Rochelle) announced today that he will be holding a town hall meeting to discuss the proposal before the County Legislature to settle the lawsuit accusing Westchester County of filing false statements with the federal government relating to the Community Development Block Grant program on Thursday, September 17, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM at the New Rochelle City Hall Annex (the old courthouse), 90 Beaufort Place, Room B1, New Rochelle, New York.


The centerpiece of the complex proposed settlement agreement would require the County to develop 750 new affordable housing units in upscale areas of Westchester at a cost of approximately $62 million.  The next step in the process is for the County Legislature to accept or reject the settlement agreement.  If the settlement is rejected, the lawsuit against the County will proceed to trial.  If the County loses at trial, the damages could be as much as $200 million, although it is also expected that the County will then file an appeal.


Legislator Maisano stated, “This is a very complicated issue and the settlement agreement has raised many questions from my constituents.  This issue has been called one of the most important disputes the County has ever faced.  With the stakes so high, I want to hear views on it by the people of New Rochelle and Pelham. This meeting will be an important part of my decision-making process on this vote scheduled for September 21.”


Legislator Maisano has been contacted by constituents who are both in favor and opposed to the settlement agreement.  While some have argued that the risk of not settling the lawsuit could lead to a significantly worse result at trial; others have raised concerns about the overriding of local zoning laws, limits on the number of senior citizens to live in the housing built pursuant to the settlement, and why New Rochelle taxpayers must pay for the settlement when New Rochelle does not receive Community Development Block Grants through the County government.


Legislator Maisano will open the meeting with limited comments on the settlement agreement, and the remainder of the meeting will be reserved for public comments by his constituents (comments will be limited to three minutes per person).  If you would like to review the settlement agreement, it can be found at http://www.westchestergov.com/pdfs/Housingsettlementtext.pdf, or call Legislator Maisano’s office at 995-2826, and it can be emailed or mailed to you.