image of affordable housing, fire tower and composting

White Plains, NY— At Monday night’s regular Board meeting, the Board of Legislators passed key items on affordable housing in Yonkers, a state-of-the art Fire Training Tower in Valhalla, financing for a food scrap recovery program, and the design and construction of essential infrastructure rehabilitation on the Department of Emergency Services main facility.

Board Chair Vedat Gashi (D - New Castle, Ossining, Somers, Yorktown) said, “We passed some incredible initiatives. We’re excited about this food scrap recovery program, $1.3M for the study and design of a large scale facility that will turn tons of residential and landscaping waste into compost. For our first responders, we rehabilitated a Department of Emergency Services Building and also a Fire Training Tower. We also passed a bill to make 233 rental units even more affordable for the residents of Yonkers. And we passed 31 total appointments for everything from the Human Rights Commission to the Westchester Medical Center to our Tax Commission and so many more.”

Affordable Housing

The Board passed two significant items to further the development of Affordable AFFH Units in Yonkers. The first was to amend an Act for a property at 23 Mulberry Street to make infrastructure and site adjustments to the project. The proposed building will hold 60 units of affordable housing, available to eligible senior households where all members of the household are aged 62 and older with incomes at or below 30% and up to 60% of the Westchester County area median income ("AMI"). The second item is for the construction of two buildings that will house 173 affordable rental units at 178 Warburton Avenue and 160 Cottage Gardens. Of these 173 Affordable AFFH Units, 153 were to be available to eligible households that earn at or below 30% and up to 80% of the Westchester County AMI. The remaining 20 units would be available to households that earn up to 90% of AMI.

Vice Chair Jose Alvarado (D - Yonkers) said, “For us, the Yonkers Legislative Caucus, it is always a pleasure to contribute to our city, and the creation of affordable housing is of upmost importance, especially for our seniors on fixed incomes and with limited financial resources.”

Legislator Shanae Williams (D -Yonkers) Chair of the Housing Committee said, “At the Board of Legislators we fully recognize the importance of building more affordable units at the lower percentages of the County’s Area Medium Income (AMI). Therefore, we proudly stand with the City of Yonkers to bring these projects to fruition. Furthermore, both affordable housing projects that we voted to help fund will significantly benefit the growing number of senior citizens that are in dire need of good quality affordable homes.”

Fire Training Tower Replacement

A Capital Budget Amendment and Bond Request for $2M will cover the design of a fire training tower to replace the existing 50-year-old tower located on the Grasslands Reservation in Valhalla. In 2023, the tower was used by 1,200 students for 17,000 training hours for local fire departments, police departments, FBI, technical rescue teams, and hazmat squads. The new facility will have pressurized hallways and different experiences reflecting environments that firefighters face such as a shopping mall, office building, and store front, on each floor.

Minority Leader Margaret Cunzio (C- Mt. Pleasant, North Castle, Pleasantville, Valhalla, Sleepy Hollow, Briarcliff Manor) said, “The replacement of the 50+ year old fire tower at DES is an integral part of training for our first responders – both career and volunteer. The more time firefighters have in a controlled burn environment – the better prepared they will be in the role they have in protecting our community. As a volunteer firefighter – I have seen firsthand the benefit of this training.”

Department of Emergency Services Main Facility Rehabilitation

The Board passed an Amended Bond Act, in the total amount of $3M in previously authorized bonds of the County, would finance the cost of design, construction and construction management associated with the rehabilitation of the Department of Emergency Services Main Facility, including roof replacement with associated decking and flashing. The roof over the Department's Main Facility has had multiple repairs and patches with portions of the roof not re-reroofed or replaced in over 25 years. Roofing membrane granules have spalled, exposing the underlying asphalt sheeting causing further degradation. There are areas of standing water on the roof causing interior water intrusion that needs to be addressed to prevent further damage to the building.

Food Scrap Recovery Program

The Board passed a $1.3M capital project and bond act to finance the study, design, and related costs for a large scale food and organic waste composting facility in and for the County's Refuse Disposal District No. I. The Department of Environmental Facilities has advised that a review of potential properties for siting facilities, along with design and related activities for any viable location, must be undertaken to further the collection and processing of food and organic wastes within the District.

Legislator Erika Pierce (D-Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers), Chair of the Public Works & Transportation Committee said, “I was thrilled to see several items passed by the Board, including critical work needed to rehabilitate Emergency Service’s Main Facility and funds needed to finance the design of a new tower to replace our 50-year-old Fire Training Tower. Much like our other training facilities, the tower gets hard use, and it is the second busiest training facility in New York State.”

“We are also excited to fund the design of a new County-owned composting facility, which will be capable of processing 10,000 tons of household waste plus 20,000 tons of landscaping waste annually, removing a significant chunk out of our waste stream and producing needed compost for our county. These three items will do much to guarantee a better and safer future for residents here, for decades to come.”

Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson (D-Elmsford, Greenburgh, Tarrytown, White Plains) Chair of the Budget & Appropriations said, “The Board of Legislators has approved initiatives to enhance public safety, environmental sustainability, and infrastructure integrity. We invested in a new fire training tower, a food scrap recovery program, and rehabilitation of a leaking roof to ensure the safety and functionality of our facilities. These initiatives represent a significant milestone in our efforts to build a stronger and more resilient county.”

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