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April 21, 1997

Contact: Geoffrey Ryan (718/595-5371)

City Delivers Watershed Agreement Payments to Westchester County

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Governor George E. Pataki and Westchester County Executive Andrew P. O'Rourke announced today that Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr. of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection personally delivered checks totaling nearly $40 million this morning to the County.

The payments are called for in the "New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement" that was negotiated, with the assistance of Governor Pataki, between the City, the watershed communities and counties, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Departments of State, Health and Environmental Conservation, and environmental groups. That Agreement will enable the City and its local partners to implement a Watershed Protection Program in the basins of its reservoirs.

Mayor Giuliani said, "It is with great pleasure that we deliver these checks to our partners in watershed protection in Westchester County. They represent the City's commitment to the Watershed Memorandum of Agreement, an agreement that will serve as a national model of cooperation between all the affected parties in the service of maintaining a pure and abundant water supply for generations to come."

"Today, the watershed agreement that will protect the drinking water for nine million New Yorkers comes alive," Governor Pataki said.

"This agreement not only protects drinking water, it will allow for economic growth in the watershed communities," the Governor said. "But this agreement is more than clean water and economic growth; it is a new spirit of partnership between New York City and the watershed communities that will only help enhance New York's economic renewal and national leadership in environmental protection."

"The step we are taking today wouldn't have been possible if so many talented people hadn't dedicated years of hard work to the process," said Mr. O'Rourke. "This agreement will protect both the cleanliness of our water and the economic health of our communities."

Commissioner Miele said, "This marks the beginning of a long partnership between the City and the watershed communities, a partnership that has great benefits for both the consumers of the water and the residents of the watersheds."

Town Supervisors scheduled to attend the ceremony at the Michaelian Office Building in White Plains included: John R. Dinin, Bedford; Linda D. Puglisi, Cortlandt; Philip A. Marraccini, Harrison; Robert P. McGreevy, Lewisboro; Mark Farrell, Mount Kisco; Robert F. Meehan, Mount Pleasant; Clinton B. Smith, New Castle; John A. Lombardi, North Castle; Sy Globerman, North Salem; Lucille D. Corda, Pound Ridge; William C. Harding, Somers; and Linda G. Cooper, Yorktown.

The payments will be used for a variety of purposes:

East-of-Hudson Water Quality Investment Program: The City paid Westchester County $38 million to fund eligible projects related to improving or protecting water quality in the watershed. Among the projects eligible for funding are: sewage diversion projects that would take sewage effluent out of the watershed; rehabilitation or replacement of subsurface sewage treatment (septic) systems that are failing or apt to fail; installation of best management practices to correct or reduce erosion or pollution caused by stormwater; new or upgraded sand and salt storage facilities that will enable local governments to conform to the new watershed regulations; sewage collection systems or extensions of such systems to reduce the potential for pollution; and stream bank stabilization and protection measures to correct existing erosion or pollution in streams feeding the reservoirs.

Good Neighbor Payments: The City delivered another check for over $1.6 million in "Good Neighbor Payments." The county will retain $250,000 of these funds and distribute the remainder to watershed towns based on the number of acres in the watershed. Bedford will receive $225,560; Cortlandt, $57,700; Harrison, $31,540; Lewisboro, $155,800; both Mt. Kisco and Mt. Pleasant, $42,440; New Castle, $114,380; North Castle, $68,600; North Salem, $160,160; Pound Ridge, $79,500; Somers, $214,660; and Yorktown, $219,020. These monies may be used for capital projects that will benefit the public at large in the watershed communities.

Costs and Expenses: The City also paid the county $300,000 for the costs and expenses associated with its review of the City's comprehensive Watershed Protection Program.

The City will make a future payment of $1 million to the County for Croton watershed planning, and will make other payments for local consultation on the City's land acquisition proposals and the continuing costs associated with the County Health Department's inspection and approval of new individual septic systems in the watershed.

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