New Rochelle & Mt Vernon Should be exempt from County Affordable Housing Settlement

Written By: Deprecated User

As written below and as brought up by a caller to my radio show New Rochelle and other specific communities in Westchester County should be exempt from any taxes brought about from the Affordable housing settlement. If Andy Spano cannot see the logic in that how about the WHOLE county share the tax burden for the Sewer Treatment Upgrades that New Rochelle Residents will be hit with in the near future.

This is a serious issue in terms of tax implications for New Rochelle residents and it is NOW IS THE TIME for our elected officials to step up and say something about it. Do not let New Ro get steamrolled again. You are our voice go out there and protect your constituents, maybe with a little more gusto than that what you did for us in terms of fighting the sewer tax.

From Todays Journal News

County board challenger favors fighting Westchester housing deal

Gerald McKinstry
gmckinst@lohud.com

Candidates for Mount Vernon’s county legislator seat are squaring off over the looming federal affordable-housing settlement with Westchester County – even though the city likely won’t be targeted for such housing.

It’s not fair for Mount Vernon taxpayers to have to pay any bill related to the more than $60 million agreement since the city already has its share of affordable housing, said Dorothy Fiorillo, a Republican running against Democratic incumbent Lyndon Williams.

Fiorillo, a real estate manager, said the county should take the case back to the federal government and broker a better deal, an approach many lawmakers say is too risky.

“I think they should fight it,” she said. “Maybe things can be worked out. … We can’t afford anymore (taxes) in Mount Vernon.”

Fiorillo said she’s not against affordable housing – it’s just that Mount Vernon has its share. City taxpayers should be exempt from this, she said.

Her comments, first reported on LoHud.com’s Politics on the Hudson blog, drew ire from Williams, who accused Fiorillo of playing on people’s integration fears and not understanding the ramifications of that viewpoint.

Williams said only “irresponsible leadership” would go down that road and that it would be wrong to use fear to create divisions.

“The reality is the county has to make a decision that is rational and reasoned,” Williams said. “We can’t put the taxpayers in a worse situation by acting in that way.”

Williams, who supports the settlement that mandates Westchester build 750 units over seven years in mostly white communities, said the cost of losing would be too large: more than $180 million.

Though Mount Vernon wouldn’t see any units from this agreement, fighting could affect local nonprofits and service providers if the federal government cut off housing, shelter and other federal aid if the matter returned to court.

There’s also concern that Westchester would be branded as a racist county if it fought the settlement, Williams and other leaders including County Executive Andrew Spano have said.

Lawmakers supporting this deal say the settlement is an amicable agreement because it protects the taxpayer from larger liabilities. It also ensures that most of the money will be used on affordable housing in Westchester.

A federal judge already has ruled, in a summary judgment, that the county failed to analyze race as an impediment to affordable housing and misrepresented its integration efforts, meaning any appeal could be a long, expensive and uphill fight.

“I think voters want leaders who are not going to shoot from the hip,” Williams said. “This requires thoughtful leadership. Mount Vernon residents are interested in housing, and they’re interested in affordable housing. I will not take a stand against affordable housing in this county.”

Additional Facts
If you go
The Westchester Board of Legislators continues its discussion of the affordable-housing settlement at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the county office building, 148 Martine Ave., White Plains.