Assemblywoman Sandy Galef Announces Passage of Legislation Increasing Membership of the Westchester County Soil and Water Conservation District Board

Membership increases from 5 to 7 board members
June 21, 2005

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator Vincent Leibell announce the passage of Legislation (A.4523-A/S.4523-A) increasing the membership of the Westchester County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors from five to seven members.

"This amendment to the Soil and Water Conservation Districts Law would benefit Westchester County by expanding the number and experience of members on the Board," said Assemblywoman Galef.

"Westchester County has very specific issues with regard to soil and water conservation so it is only fitting that there be the maximum amount of members allowed on the Board to ensure the expertise needed to make the proper decisions for the residents of this area," said Senator Leibell.

New York State Soil and Water Conservation Districts Law (SWCD Law) was amended in 1985 to allow counties the option of increasing the membership of County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors from five members to seven. However, SWCD Law contains provisions specifically related to Westchester, so the general provisions of the statute are not applicable to Westchester County.

"I would like to thank Assemblywoman Galef and Senator Leibell for sponsoring and passing this bill. It will help us increase the breadth of our knowledge and representation on the Board of Directors of our Soil and Water Conservation District, allowing the District to better serve the residents of Westchester," said Westchester County Executive Andrew J. Spano.

Vice-Chair of the Board Phyllis Wittner added, "It is important to have a representation from varying viewpoints in the county, and it makes it much easier for us to have a quorum. We’re delighted that the bill passed so readily."

The SWCD was created to develop and carry out a program of soil, water and related natural resources conservation. It has developed a program with a district urban/suburban conservation orientation, dealing with issues such as the restoration of streams, freshwater and tidal wetlands, the protection of water bodies, the control of erosion and sedimentation, and the promotion of sound soil and water resources through public outreach and education.

The term of office for each board member will remain as three years from date of appointment, and members may not include more than two officials of constituent local municipalities, each of whom shall serve for one year or until he or she ceases to hold local office, whichever is sooner.

"This increase in the number of Board members will also serve to ensure quorums for conducting business with the SWCD Board," concluded Assemblywoman Galef.