Calling the proposal "illegal and inappropriate", Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino vetoed legislation Monday that would repair—not replace—the roof at the county's Department of Emergency Service's training center.
The County Board of Legislators approved a plan on Nov. 13 that would repair the roof out of money from the county's operating budget, avoiding the need for a bond. Astorino, a Republican, ripped the Democrat majority in the BOL Monday, saying they are using illegal legislation to prevent the necessary expense.
Astorino said as a capital project, funding for the new roof can't be financed through the county's operating budget. The possible drawing down of reserve funds could also threated the county's bond rating, according to Astorino.
“It is time for the Democrats to stop playing games with public safety,” Astorino said in a statement. “The Democrats know the rules. Why won’t they just follow the rules, so we can get the roof fixed?”
The cost of a new roof is estimated at about $640,000. Westchester's DES training center is used as a fire-training center for classes and instruction and is utilized by local departments throughout the county. Leaks in the roof have created a safety hazard, according to Astorino's statement.
“It is hard to imagine an issue more deserving of bi-partisan support than putting a roof over the heads of local firefighters, first responders and members of our Emergency Services Department,” Astorino said. “But the record of the Democrats has been to delay and obstruct.”
Astorino initially sent legislation to repair the roof in October 2011, but the bond act has never been voted on by the full board.