State and County Legislators Address the Local Summit
Left to right: NYS Senator Shelley Mayer, NYS Assemblyman Steven Otis, County Legislator Catherine Parker
By Larry Thaul
On Tuesday, February 8th, local legislators addressed a number of topics at a Zoom meeting of the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Local Summit, including their priorities and the impact of current legislation in the State Senate, State Assembly, and County Legislature. The meeting was co-hosted by LMC Media.
NYS Senator Shelley Mayer, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, reported that Gov. Hochul, working closely with the legislature, is proposing a $100M program for mental health and student social/emotional health to be matched with federal funds. She said the Governor also proposes expansion of full day pre-K, priority for special education, and substantial investment in SUNY and CUNY to make higher education more affordable. The Mamaroneck and Rye Neck school districts will receive their full foundation aid over the next three years. To bridge the digital divide, Assemblyman Steve Otis is seeking money for the STEM Alliance to expand the availability of computers and training along with expanding broadband service. In response to a question about mask mandates in schools, Otis replied that mandates may be lifted, but districts will have to respond to outbreaks as they arise. Mayer has discussed with the Governor developing a metric to provide statistically significant guidance to parents and school administrators.
According to NYS Assemblyman Otis, the good news is that the federal government will now pay the entire $88M cost of the Mamaroneck flood project, saving the village and the county their respective 12.5% shares. He proposes grants for storm water projects to address areas not directly near waterways. Senator Mayer advocates the establishment of a NYS “Flood Czar” to centralize efforts to obtain coverage for losses, and a state-level flood relief program to augment the federal program. She also wants a flood expert on the state building codes council. They both seek a mechanism for municipalities to buy out untenable properties at pre-flood values. County Legislator Catherine Parker reintroduced legislation mandating landlord disclosure to tenants of flood events within the past 10 years.
Parker announced that the County increased affordable housing funds from $25M to $50M. Students from the popular Mamaroneck High School civics program asserted that the $35M that NYS has allocated towards legal representation in tenant eviction cases is insufficient. Mayer pointed out that NYC guarantees the right of counsel for every tenant, a worthy goal for the county.
Gov. Hochul has proposed that new school vehicles have zero emissions by 2027 and current ones by 2035. Otis pointed out the need for more charging stations and stated that area businesses, schools and municipalities have made progress with food scrap recycling. He added that installation of solar panels atop school buildings has already begun via an existing program. Parker added that money is currently being invested in clean technology.
Legislator Parker noted that the county budget is healthy with 3 consecutive years of tax cuts, including $7M this year coupled with an increase in reserves. Senator Mayer explained the configuration of the new Congressional District #3 as primarily the coastal suburban areas of Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties. She also wants to see Long Term Care insurance premiums restructured to remain affordable. Parker noted that $24M is in the budget for economic development to attract new business as well as for workforce education and training.
The Larchmont-Mamaroneck Local Summit is an informal community council that seeks to make a better life for the community by keeping it informed of major issues of concern. The next Zoom program, co-hosted by LMC Media, will be Tuesday, March 8th at 8:00 a.m. In time for spring, panelists will discuss “Healthy Yards/Health People.”
Visit the Local Summit online: https://www.localsummitlm.org/
LMC Media: https://lmcmedia.org/