Basile Announces Regional Sustainability Initiative
NEW WINDSOR, NY – Seeking to be a partner in helping local governments expand their commercial tax base and better manage land resources in our area, State Senate candidate Tom Basile (R, C, I) recently proposed a plan to help ensure critical state resources for the long-term planning needs of municipalities are directed to our area. Basile’s Regional Sustainability Initiative (RSI) for Orange, Rockland and Ulster counties would also ensure greater local control in the process of crafting the future of our communities.
“Our towns and villages continue to grow, but updating zoning and planning codes, comprehensive plans, aquifer protection programs, local architectural standards and other elements of a long-term vision can come with significant costs. My RSI will help local municipalities afford to engage in this important process and work together to achieve goals that enhance our communities for the benefit of everyone.”
Basile’s RSI includes:
• Grant funding for local master plan development, aquifer protection plans, architectural standards
• Creating a local grant program for historic downtowns and business district revitalization
• Regional funding for water and sewer system upgrades
• Increasing funds for local parks, land preservation and view-shed protection
“Economic development needs to start in local communities with protecting and enhancing character of our Main Streets and environment,” said Basile. “Like so many others, my wife and I are raising our kids in our area and sustainable communities mean protecting the equity we have invested in our home. Accomplishing that is vital to being able to stay in our area.”
Individual program elements would be fully funded by diverting money from New York’s failed, multi-billion-dollar corporate welfare programs to this local initiative.
“Working together, we can advance reforms that help everyone in our area succeed, but it requires a serious vision and political courage. Talk is cheap. People deserve to have a Senator who like Bill Larkin is willing to drive real action and real reform on the issues that are important to our families,” said Basile.
Components of Basile’s plan include:
• Strengthened Code Enforcement and Planning for Towns, Villages and Cities: This provision would empower local municipalities within in Orange, Rockland and Ulster Counties, to strengthen Code Enforcement and update their Master Plans. More specifically, this provision would provide:
o Local Zoning Master Planning Fund: This part of this provision would establish a new, $5 million, state fund for towns and cities within Orange, Rockland and Ulster Counties to provide resources to update their master plans, zoning, aquifer protection plans, comprehensive quality of life plans, and architectural and design standards, to better craft a vision for the future.
Improved Code Enforcement: This component would provide for the establishment of a $10 million dollar grant program to strengthen the ability of municipalities in Orange, Rockland and Ulster Counties to provide effective Code Enforcement. The funds would be used for the review and upgrading of building codes, and planning and zoning ordinances as well as for code enforcement training and additional code enforcement officers.
• Historic Downtown and Business District Development Program: This provision would provide $30 million in grants to promote the development and retention of vibrant local business communities in our area’s historic downtowns and business districts. The enhancement of the character, preservation and revitalization of our historic downtowns is vital to protecting home values, driving additional commercial tax revenue, increasing tourism and maintaining quality of life.
The grant program would be administered by towns, villages and cities, to allow business owners in these districts to upgrade their buildings and facades, and preserve historic structures. Funds will foster greater cooperation between local governments and the business community by helping counties and towns work with the private sector to develop 21st century business plans. Proper planning will expand employment, worker training, business growth opportunities and diversify business offerings in these downtown areas.
• Regional Water and Sewer Infrastructure Fund: Our local municipalities can’t afford to upgrade their water and sewer systems without borrowing often significant sums. Property taxpayers foot the bill for that debt. Many water and sewer lines and sewage treatment facilities are decades old and in need of upgrades. In areas where pollutants threaten the quality of groundwater, upgrading facilities is even more critical. Modernizing these systems not only provides residents with reliable service but helps facilitate economic development. Basile’s RSI would allocate $50 million per year for three years for local governments to modernize systems, address water quality issues and upgrade capacity.
• Funding for Parks, Open Space and the Preservation of Natural Vistas and View-sheds:
Basile will call for an allocation of $40 million for use in the RSI area for a combination of:
Open space acquisition of additional parkland/preserve land in the region. Basile recently called on the State to purchase the former Lake Anne Country Club property in South Blooming Grove and annex it to Schunnemunk Mountain State Park.
Expanding, upgrading and improving existing local county, town and village parks and recreation spaces.
Expanding eco-tourism and environmental education opportunities in our area.
Protecting natural vistas and view-sheds in the RSI counties.