White Plains, NY – Serving as further proof that the legislative and executive branches of Westchester County government agree on much more than they differ, the Westchester County Board of Acquisition and Contract (A&C) approved last week a ten-year agreement to turn over restoration and maintenance of the Jay Property Estate in the City of Rye to the not-for-profit Jay Heritage Center (JHC).
On November 26th, the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously approved new legislation sponsored by Legislator Judy Myers (D-Larchmont) and Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) to allow Westchester County to enter into a ten year agreement with the State of New York and the JHC to use and manage County park land—the Jay Property— with the agreement renewable after the initial term. The County and State will have the right to approve or disapprove alterations to the property, which will remain accessible to the public.
Legislators Myers and Jenkins introduced their legislation soon after County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced that the County was signing a “management agreement” for ten years with JHC to use and maintain the Jay Property. Because the laws of Westchester only authorize the County’s Parks Commissioner to sign a five-year lease regarding park property, with longer leases needing legislative approval, the two legislators stepped in to help the Administration legitimize the deal.
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The Administration tabled its resolution in A&C for the proposed Jay Property “agreement” following Jenkins’ warning that it was not in accordance with the laws of Westchester and a commitment that the BOL would take up the matter favorably.
At last week’s A&C meeting, Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett thanked the Board of Legislators and Chairman Jenkins specifically for providing necessary guidance and leadership to finalize the lease’s approval.
“The Board of Legislators recognized the mutual benefits and viability of this public-private partnership to manage a renowned County resource, but the law requires a proper review and approval for a long-term lease,” said Jenkins. “The Administration’s ability to cooperate with the Board on this issue should bode well for future efforts that help our taxpayers and strengthen our future.”
Added Myers: “The Jay Property is one of the many historic jewels in Westchester County. It provides a window to our past, beginning when our nation was being founded. This treasured building and surrounding open space are in good hands with the Jay Heritage Center, who will ensure that future generations will enjoy and learn from it.”