YORKTOWN, NY - In an effort to keep residents apprised of the legislative session which ended in June, New York State Senator Terrence Murphy has embarked on a legislative update tour. His first stop was last night at his home town of Yorktown, where he served as a local councilman from 2010 until he took office this past January.
"Its always great to come back to where you started," Senator Murphy said. "My roots are here in Yorktown and continue to grow here in Yorktown. I have not forgotten my hometown, in fact, with my new position I am working every day to deliver even more of our neighbors - and we're doing just that."
During his twenty minute presentation Murphy focused on three key topics: winning the war on heroin and opioid abuse; improving New York's economic climate; and updating the town board on the ongoing regional economic development councils.
New York State Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction
"It is no secret that the ongoing war on addiction, specifically heroin and opiates, has been a priority of mine since I sat on the board with some of you," Murphy explained. "Now, I am traveling the State with my colleagues to see what needs to be done at a higher level to improve our prevention tactics, offer better recovery options and increase law enforcement's ability to protect our kids."
Last week the Governor Cuomo signed Murphy's first statewide bill into law, which expanded the availability of drug treatment courts in New York.
"I know this is something that has been brought forward by Judge Raniolo at the local task force meetings which have been hosted by Councilman Diana and I'd like to thank them both for their efforts," Senator Murphy said. "For those who don't know, treatment courts, like the one run by Judge Reitz in Putnam County, offers a second chance to recovering addicts while holding them accountable for their past actions."
New York State Administrative Regulations Review Commission
Senator Murphy also spoke of his role as the Chairman of the Administrative Regulations Review Commission.
"Our state ranks dead last when it comes to business friendliness," Murphy reported. "I believe a major reason for that is the more than 140,000 pages of rules and regulations that are on the books here in New York. It makes opening a business nearly impossible and, as my record as a local councilman here showed, I am all about opening our doors to businesses."
Murphy encouraged the Governor to sign his legislation, S.4319 which would require a job impact statement to be included with the different rules and regulations proposed by New York's agencies. The bill passed both the Senate and the Assembly with bipartisan support and is awaiting the Governor's signature.
Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council
Looking forward toward the end of the year, Senator Murphy also addressed the Regional Economic Development Council and his commitment to advocating for worthy projects within the 40th Senate District. The money used by the councils in this round of funding are from the settlements with banks that took advantage of homeowners during the 2008 financial crisis.
"It is important to understand that this money is only available for projects, and cannot be used for any other purposes such as fixing roads and potholes," Murphy explained. "I am happy to report several of Yorktown's applications for this money have been advanced to the next round of reviews including its downtown revitalization application."
Murphy said that while he may not agree with the idea of picking winners and losers through this "upstate hunger games" process, he was committed to advocating for projects within the rules of the system as they currently exist. The freshman Senator has been able to get Yorktown's grant application on to the next round of review. The $4.8 million downtown revitalization grant initiative application, which includes a new highway garage encompasses:
- An Empire State Development grant request for $965,000 dollars, which will be used to construct new state of the art facilities that will finally consolidate town departments with similar functions to into one building;
- A Cleaner Greener Communities Implementation Grant for $500,000 that will be used for a beautification project to enhance the aesthetic of Yorktown Heights while expanding our commercial tax base and removing municipal truck traffic from downtown Yorktown by relocating the highway garage;
- A local government efficiency program grant for $200,000 which will consolidate the highway department's activities at one location, creating operational and management efficiency to save taxpayer dollars;
- An environmental protection fund grant for $400,000 to go toward cleaning up the contamination at the existing highway garage site, which will then be sold for development; and
- A recreational trails program for $200,000 that will link together two disconnected Railroad and Patriot Parks and create a new park.
The ten to twenty five percent of the required local match for these grants will be more than covered by the sale of the existing highway garage site.
In total, Yorktown submitted three consolidated funding applications (CFAs) to the regional council. The three applications under review include restoring the railroad station, a trailway connection to FDR Park and a downtown revitalization for Yorktown Heights.
All three have moved past the council reviews and are now being reviewed by the necessary state agencies