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Astorino Rips Dems Over Emergency Training Roof

Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino vetoed legislation that would delay adding a new roof to the emergency service's training center building.

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.

KAH November 27, 2012 at 05:18 PM
So, Astorino argues that the county can't afford child care for working mothers, but wants 2/3rds of a million dollars to replace a roof, rather than repair it. It begs the question; which of his cronies is in line for the contract? What's the logic? No affordable child care sends mothers on to welfare instead of working and paying taxes. It just shifts the burden to another line at a muich higher rate and eats up even more taxpayer money. Yet where an opportunity exists to actually save some money by repairing instead of replacing a roof, Astorino is incensed that the Dems aren't willing to hand 640K to his contractor friends. Fiscal conservatism my @ss! I'll take "tax and spend" policies over "tax and pocket" any day.
Thomas Reddy November 27, 2012 at 09:40 PM
This issue should not be a political one. A bond act should be passed bi-partisan. The proper way to replace the roof is to BOND it. Interest rates for bonds are at an all time low. Repairing is just a temporary fix and in the long run there will be reoccurring costs. Roof replacement is a Capital project and the elected members of the BOL have a fiduciary responsibility to insure that the infrastructure and buildings in the county are well maintained and safe for county employees and others that utilized the facilities. Being a Fire Chief, I know just how important DES is to both the Career and Volunteer Fire/ EMS departments. I have had members of my department come back from training with wet gear from the leaky roof. There has also been slip and fall injuries from wet surfaces inside the building from this condition. After Hurricane Sandy I’m sure the operating budget of many of the county departments have taken a big hit, even with FEMA, reimbursement will take a good year before that money is received.

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