Westchester Budget Cuts Key Park Staff

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Rye Marshlands

The newly proposed 2018 county budget is — once again– eliminating staff “curator” positions at several county parks including the Marshlands Conservancy, the Edith G. Read Natural Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Cranberry Lake Preserve, and Muscoot Farm.

“These proposed cuts mean that some of the parks’ curators won’t be there any more and that there won’t be anyone to run school group activities, nature walks for families, and many other environmental programs that cultivate a love of nature and wildlife,” says Mary Davis who has founded environmental education programs for the county in the past.

Cranberry Lake Preserve

The 2018 budget process is heating up this week since County Executive Rob Astorino sent his proposed budget to the county Board of Legislators who will review it and then may approve it. The Board could reinstate the positions too.

Public hearings on the budget proposal are scheduled for 11/21 in Yonkers, 11/29 in Mt. Kisco, and 12/6 in White Plains. Details are at the Board’s “dashboard website” for the budget process.

Great Blue Heron at Edith Read Sanctuary in Rye

Legislator Catharine Parker  (District 7) has taken up environmental causes affecting parts of  Mamaroneck, Larchmont, Rye,Harrison, and parts of New Rochelle.

Parker is on the budget review committee and she notes: “These curator positions are critical to the success of our county parks, particularly in light of safety and security. It has been my experience that the current County Executive each year puts those curator positions in jeopardy by slashing them from the budget. This year we are looking at a cut to six curators. I would certainly like to see those positions funded.”

George Latimer, County Executive-elect has called for an independent study of the county’s finances so that he can make changes in the first budget that he develops, which will be for 2019.

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