YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Ten municipalities in northern Westchester have entered into an agreement with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection in an effort to reduce the approval process for $10 million in water-quality improvement projects.
The inter-municipal agreement was announced Tuesday by County Executive Rob Astorino and members of the Northern Westchester Watershed Committee (NWWC) at Yorktown Town Hall.
"We're trying to cut out the middle man and, quite frankly, the middle man was the county," Astorino said. "I think this will speed up the process and get the decision in the hands of people who make the decisions, the town supervisors. I think it's a good day for Westchester. This is how government is supposed to work."
In 1997, New York City gave Westchester $38 million to create the East of Hudson Water Quality Investment Program Fund. The funds were intended to pay for dozens of clean water projects in northern Westchester that are designed to protect New York City's drinking water supply. Approximately $28 million has already been disbursed.
Somers Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy, chair of the NWWC, said cooperation between government entities often results in a more efficient process.
"I know my colleagues are happy to get to this day. This is an absolutely fabulous day for the towns in northern Westchester," Murphy said. "I am extremely proud of and grateful to all my colleagues in local government both in Westchester and Putnam counties for their patience, tenacity and hard work in achieving this milestone."
The 10 municipalities that are part of the agreement are Bedford, Cortlandt, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers and Yorktown.
"Hopefully, over time water quality in those areas will improve," said North Salem Supervisor Warren Lucas.