YORKTOWN, NY – A recent investigation authorized by the New York State Public Service Commission has identified 43 potential violations by public utilities, including Con Edison and NYSEG which serve Yorktown, for failing to follow state-approved storm emergency response plans a year ago when Winter Storms Riley and Quinn knocked out power to 160,000 residents across the Hudson Valley. Yorktown Supervisor candidate Matt Slater helped launch the investigation while serving as the chief of staff for the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations.
“This report confirms what we all saw firsthand throughout our community,” Slater said. “The communication from the utility companies to customers and government officials was a disaster. Instead of accurate information, calls were made saying power had been restored when homes remained in the dark. Thank you to the PSC for identifying the problems. It’s now up to the legislature and governor to end the utilities’ repeated mismanagement of storm responses. Our energy rates are the second highest in the nation. We should be getting more for what we pay, starting with adequate storm response.”
Slater had helped author and pass a bill to strengthen emergency plans, adding new criterion which must be included, setting minimum benchmarks and providing stiffer penalties for noncompliance. He says it is critical for immediate action to be taken at the local level.
In Yorktown, Slater proposes setting up an online portal so residents can report damaged or dying trees, alerting town officials of potential problems before storms strike. “The portal will be available all year round and provide a shareable database so that problem trees can be identified, and the proper response can be developed by the town, utilities and residents ahead of an emergency, not once it happens,” he said.
Slater provided hands on support throughout Winter Storms Riley and Quinn, communicating directly with utility officials and organizing relief efforts for local residents. He said pressure on the utilities must continue. Last fall, he assisted in organizing an online letter drive by residents urging the PSC to take action against NYSEG, citing consistent service interruptions and failures by the company.
These efforts can have positive results. NYSEG is now being forced to pay $1.1 million stemming from an investigation into its storm response failures from a windstorm on March 8, 2017, which impacted 48,000 customers. The fine will help pay for improving storm response.
“I have heard from residents across town who don’t even know where to call when trees are lying on power lines,” Slater said. “This is another opportunity for Yorktown to step into the 21st Century and advance our mission of making our town government more efficient, effective and responsible to local taxpayers.”
MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced it will be applying aluminate sulfate in Mohegan Lake today as a part of a pilot-program to improve water quality by binding phosphorous, which will control eutrophification. The program was undertaken in February 2018 following advocacy by Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and former Senator Terrence Murphy and coordinated by his chief of staff, Matt Slater, who is now a candidate for Yorktown Town Supervisor.
“It’s great to see the work i engaged in during my time in the State Senate is coming to fruition,” Slater said. “Thank you to the Mohegan Lake Improvement District for keeping up the fight to get the alum treatments approved.”
The program was announced at a press conference today by current Senator Pete Harckham. However, only local Democratic elected officials were invited to the press conference. In contrast, in an effort to rid the lake of it toxic green film, Senator Murphy and Westchester County Executive George Latimer had teamed up to write a letter to Basil Seggos, Chairman of the Department of Environmental Conservation, urging the need for the coordinated rehabilitation plan, including the use of alum to restore the lake’s water quality as well as the area’s overall environment.
A year ago, Senator Murphy said it was his belief that Lake Mohegan will prove the use of alum can successfully battle phosphorous and other harmful algal blooms that plague the area. “We can return the lake to its status as one of the major destinations for recreation in Westchester County,” he said.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said at the time that “Lake Mohegan is one of the most contaminated water bodies in New York State. It is time we act to change that. The use of alum has, in test cases, shown to be effective in combatting the spread of harmful algal blooms, and I commend Senator Murphy’s efforts to expand its use here.”
Several weeks ago, Slater pointed out the town has done little to address the issues Mohegan Lake faces under the Gilbert administration. He pointed out how the town has failed to move forward with a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, a comprehensive planning document that was authorized by the passage of legislation last year. He also noted the town chose not to apply for an EPF LWRP grant in May of 2018, even though the town was eligible at the time.
The alum pilot program is just part of the work Slater has done on Mohegan Lake issues since serving as an Assembly Chief of Staff from 2011-12 and Senate Chief of Staff from 2015-19 representing Yorktown.
Along with prior letters supporting the application of copper sulfate, alum and altering rigid soil testing requirements to suit local needs at Lake Mohegan, Slater delivered an $80,000 grant to purchase a new weed harvesterfor the Mohegan Lake Improvement District. He also helped secure four summits supporting the state’s comprehensive effort to protect vulnerable lakes and waterbodies in Upstate New York from harmful algal blooms. He also helped author and pass the first comprehensive harmful algal bloom mitigation program in the nation through the State Senate, based on the State’s invasive species program.
“I have always believed we should put community above politics,” Slater said. “However, today we saw Supervisor Gilbert play the exact political game he consistently accuses anyone with new ideas of playing. Not only did he try to take credit for something that I was proud to work on during my time in the State Senate, but neither Councilman Diana or Councilman Lachterman were invited to attend today’s event. Yorktown deserves better from their Town Supervisor.”
YORKTOWN, NY – Concerned parents in Yorktown are asking why they must take off from work to sign-up for a parks pass. Yorktown Supervisor candidate Matt Slater joined them today alongside Council members Tom Diana, Ed Lachterman and Town Clerk candidate Mary Capoccia and called for Yorktown to begin offering online registration through the Community Pass program.
“Yorktown is the only community where one cannot sign up for a park pass online, and the extra dollars generated from this new system could go a long way to getting Yorktown to operate in the 21st Century,” , Slater said. “It’s time Yorktown got with the times. We are here today to take the first step toward redefining service delivery for the citizens of Yorktown and frankly it is a pretty simple one.”
Neighboring communities including Carmel, Cortlandt, Mount Kisco, New Castle, Peekskill and Somers all participate in Community Pass. In these communities, the program has saved time and money by making the registration process more secure, efficient and convenient for residents.
Jillian Sherman, a Shrub Oak resident and small business owner, operates her business during the time window when residents must appear in-person at the Parks Department to register, including Saturday mornings. “I have a two-and-half year old son and own my own business, so it is difficult for someone like me to take off time from work to register in person all the way across town. We want to be able to take part in what our town offers,” she said.
Rosemarie Panio, chairperson of the Yorktown Senior Advisory Committee, said “This will be a convenient for seniors, and while some of us are not computer literate, with our children and grandchildren this will be a very easy way to apply for all these programs. Anything we can do to help seniors to improve our quality of life and make them feel more a part of our community is certainly worth doing.”
Under Slater’s plan, residents would still be allowed to sign-up for programs in person or by mail if they so choose. However, adopting an online registration system will cut down on countless hours of data entry at the parks department, saving time and money, while expanding participation in town programs, generating revenue.
“Our parks department is one of the best, but they’re bogged down and its tough for our residents to get to their facility to sign-up,” Diana said. “We have to give our residents the quality of service that they have become accustomed to and deserve. The town is a business and you shouldn’t have to leave the comfort of your home.”
“We are so far behind the times,” Lachterman said. “Community Pass would tie everything together. It would make the jobs easier for employees, save us money over all, as well as being able to maximize the reach our programs. This hasn’t been acted on, and we need the leadership to move this through.”
“Four years ago we called for online registration and the current town clerk, who is a member of the recreation commission, paid lip service to the idea,” Capoccia said. “It is clear that this administration is unable to execute on any initiative that would move our town toward greater efficiencies. For the taxes we pay, we deserve a responsive local government that will turn words into action. The status quo just isn’t good enough.”
Slater said the issue is indicative of an overall problem with the current administration leaving local taxpayers behind instead of leading the way. “Under my administration, we will not only make the Community Pass a reality but we will redefine how we deliver services to and communicate with all of Yorktown,” he concluded.
YORKTOWN, NEW YORK – The Independence Party of New York State announced this week it has endorsed Yorktown Supervisor candidate Matt Slater and his running-mates, Mary Capoccia for Town Clerk and incumbent Council members Tom Diana and Ed Lachterman, and Judge Gary Raniolo. The slate now has the support of three party-lines going into the November elections.
“Our campaign is about putting community over politics,” Slater said. “Our issues-oriented platform for more economic growth, innovation in government and preserving our quality-of-life is being recognized. We pledge to appeal to voters from all parties as we work together to bring solutions to the many issues facing our town.”
The Independence Party’s decision was made Monday after both sets of local candidates had delivered petitions attempting to gain the line.
Frank MacKay, state chairman of the Independence Party said, “When it came to choosing the right men and women for the job in Yorktown the choice was clear. Matt Slater, Mary Capoccia, Tom Diana, Ed Lachterman and Gary Raniolo embody public service. They have gained our support because we know they will put words into action.”
Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana stated, “I have lived in this town my entire life and have been dedicated to improving the quality of life for all of our neighbors. The Independence Party endorsement validates my focus and efforts on behalf of our community.”
Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman added, “The Independence Party endorsement stands as the voice for nonpartisan voters who are community focused. My record echoes those sentiments and I look forward to carrying this banner on Election Day.”
Mary Capoccia, candidate for Town Clerk welcomed the endorsement, “Yorktown is a great community but there is more we can do to enhance the town’s government and make it easier to navigate. With the support of the Independence Party, I will institute modern day changes to the Town Clerk’s office’s operations. I look forward to getting the Town back on track towards real prosperity.”
Yorktown Town Justice Gary Raniolo said, “I appreciate the support of the Independence Party yet again. Our court continues to shine as a model of justice and efficiency for the Hudson Valley.”
The candidates also have the backing of the Republican and Conservative parties. Slater, his team and their supporters outworked their opponents, filing petitions for each line, turning in over three times the minimum number of signatures required to run on the Republican and Independence lines, and quadruple the number of signatures required to appear on the Conservative line, under New York’s electoral fusion system.
I recently put forth a plan to help restore the health of Lake Mohegan. New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation identifies it as the state’s most impaired waterway. Since 2012 the blue green algae issue has intensified to the point of closing the beaches during the summer months.
Sadly, but not unsurprisingly, there was a misinformed rush to attack the plan I put forth. From a process standpoint, according to documentation that can be found on the Department of State’s website, the Town of Yorktown could have initiated the process of developing an LWRP, and submitted it as part of its Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), when the legislation was passed by the State Senate and State Assembly in June of 2018. The Department of State goes on to say, should the application have been approved, only after the Governor signed the legislation (in September), would the town have received the allocated money.
From a funding standpoint, the grants associated with the CFA process are not the only dollars available through the development of an LWRP. The development and implementation of an LWRP qualifies for federal funding from the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act Fund as well as planning grants through the Hudson River Greenway Communities Council. Look no further than the Village of Ardsley. Sadly, these are just more missed opportunities by this administration to address a serious issue.
To be clear, a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan would not replace the good work of the Mohegan Lake Improvement District, but provide added resources to restore the health of Lake Mohegan, and depending on the approved plan, would act as a sword or a shield for the future development of the Mohegan Lake hamlet.
As Supervisor, I will be fully engaged in building the necessary coalitions, and be willing to cross the political aisle, to make an LWRP a reality not just for Lake Mohegan but Lake Osceola and Sparkle Lake as well. These are incredible resources for our community that we should be paying greater attention to.
MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – Over $14 million in local waterfront revitalization program funding is being left on the table since Yorktown has failed to complete it’s local waterfront revitalization plan, or LWRP. Today, Yorktown supervisor candidate Matt Slater joined Council members Tom Diana and Ed Lachterman, to call for the process to begin for Mohegan Lake, which has closed for parts of each summer since 2012 due to water conditions.
“Mohegan Lake became eligible for the local waterfront revitalization program over six months ago, but nothing has happened,” Slater said. “In the Senate, I helped secure $80,000 for a new weed harvester in Mohegan Lake and secure special permits from DEC to combat algae and invasives, but these are minor victories. Issues in the hamlet and greater watershed including failing septic systems, traffic, and pollution at the town’s only public access point, the Holland Sports Club, will cost millions of dollars to remediate. A local waterfront revitalization plan can provide those dollars.”
Over a year ago, former Senator Terrence Murphy passed legislation to authorize the town of Yorktown to participate in the state’s inland waterway program to help Mohegan Lake, which allows the town to complete an LWRP. Yorktown Supervisor candidate Matt Slater served as Murphy’s chief of staff, and helped similarly protect dozens of other waterways in communities like Peekskill and Somers, which are already pursuing their LWRPs. Last week, Murphy’s successor, Senator Peter Harckham, passed his first bill through the State Senate, which would authorize three additional Yorktown lakes to have LWRPs, but the town is yet to act on last year’s law.
Council member Tom Diana said, “This is a beautiful lake that I used to swim in growing up, but since 2012, this lake has basically not been open for swimming. The algae is so thick, its almost like you could walk across it. With an inland waterway designation, we would be able to get the help we need to keep this lake a viable resource to the community.”
Council member Ed Lachterman said, “This is not only about cleaning the lake, but cleaning the areas around it. There is a lot of grant money available, we could work on sewers and do a lot of projects that have been a priority that our current supervisor says, ‘hey, we’re going to work on’, but we’re not working on them. I hope we can get the ball rolling on this.”
New York’s coastal and inland waterways program was designed to help be a sword or a shield for communities to access funding through an LWRP to achieve goals including toxic blue-green algae control and phosphorous reduction, flood control, tourism and economic development, while requiring all actions taken by developers, as well as federal, state and local government agencies, be consistent with the plan.
“Walking into the Supervisor’s office, there should not be a learning curve,” Slater concluded. We know what we want to get done. We should not be waiting a year to draft a plan to protect New York’s most endangered lake.”
Yorktown is a place for families. I’m proud of growing up here and my wife and I are raising our family here too.
For Yorktown to be a place where young families grow and seniors can retire, we must have both a plan and a commitment to achieve smart growth.
As I’ve begun knocking on doors in my campaign for Town Supervisor, I’ve heard one overarching theme: Yorktown is just too expensive.
For starters, Yorktown’s commercial tax base continues to be the lowest in Westchester County. So when the town needs money, it looks squarely at our homeowners. Yorktown has fallen behind our neighbors who are welcoming new employers and new jobs. Traveling down Route 6, you see transformative projects underway expanding the commercial tax base in nearby towns and alleviating the pressure placed on their residential taxpayers.
Unlike Cortlandt, which quickly zoned, cited and approved a new ShopRite, the Yorktown Lowe’s took nearly a decade and an estimated $20 million to open for business. And while the rest of Yorktown lays dormant, there are exciting projects underway in Somers, Mahopac and Chappaqua.
Yorktown has earned a reputation as hostile to new opportunity—and it’s crushing our homeowners. Look no further than the cancelled expansion of the Jefferson Valley Mall, which is one of Yorktown’s largest taxpayers. Beyond new jobs, the additional tax revenue could have helped alleviate the Town’s property tax burden, improve services for our seniors and enhance our schools.
I have a plan to get Yorktown moving again and the experience needed to deliver real results. We need walkable downtowns in each of our hamlets and complete streets that improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. We need smarter, more efficient delivery of services. It’s time for our local government to be a leader in innovation and, considering the taxes we pay, it already should be!
I have the experience needed to reform Town government and I’ll work hard every day to get Yorktown headed in the right direction. I believe in public service and, for the past four years, I was privileged to serve our community as State Senator Terrence Murphy’s chief-of-staff. Together, we wrote and passed 50 new state laws benefitting local residents and delivered over $4 million in new state funding for Yorktown. We tackled a wide range of state and local issues, ranging from the heroin epidemic to the installation of a new traffic light at the intersection of Route 118 and Route 129.
Working with Senator Murphy, we partnered with local officials and members of our community to enact important reforms, including new state laws requiring insurance companies to cover treatment for opioid addiction and ending the long-term prescriptions that helped flood our communities with Oxycontin and other dangerous narcotics. We also invested in Yorktown’s quality-of-life by delivering $1.9 million to rehabilitate local roads and millions more for our fire departments, school districts, libraries and vital community organizations that provide important services for local residents.
One such grant provided $700,000 to modernize town facilities. Yorktown has the best employees in Westchester, but we must continue working to ensure they have the resources and technology needed to move our community forward. Specifically, we must create an online system to streamline the permitting process and use Open Data to improve government transparency. The rest of the world is already doing these things and Yorktown’s dormant town government is not keeping up.
It’s time for new leadership for Yorktown. As Town Supervisor, I will bring my passion and experience to the job. Let’s make Yorktown a place that everyone can afford to call home.
Click here to read the original in the Northern Westchester Examiner.
YORKTOWN, NY – Stepping out from his behind-the-scenes political roles, Yorktown Republican chairman Matt Slater announced last week that he is running for town supervisor.
It will be the first bid for elective office for Slater, 33, the former chief of staff for state Sen. Terrence Murphy and a longtime political professional. He is expected to face incumbent Supervisor Ilan Gilbert in November.
Slater, who said he plans to step down from his Republican Town Committee post, lives in Yorktown with his wife, Kellie, and their 3-year-old son, Charles.
Slater was joined at the event by dozens of supporters, many of them decades his senior, including his running mates, incumbent councilman Tom Diana, 62, and Ed Lachterman, 53. His former boss, Murphy, 52, who lost a re-election bid last year, said, “Matt has been waiting to do this for years. His credentials are bar none.”
The slater resume includes four years in the State Senate as Murphy’s aide as well as stints as executive director of the New Hampshire GOP and the Mid-Hudson regional director for the New York State Assembly’s minority leader.
A 2004 Yorktown High School graduate, Slater received his bachelor’s degree from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire and went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from Marist College.
During his press conference, Slater criticized the Gilbert administration for what he called its inaction on important projects. Owners of the Jefferson Valley Mall, for example, recently shelved plans to construct an 8,000-square-foot building with two new restaurants and a retailer on its property.
The Washington Prime Group, the owners, has been typically tight-lipped, declining multiple opportunities to explain the decision. But Republicans lay the blame squarely at Gilbert’s feet, saying the project was reviewed to death at the local level.
“I’ll have a very proactive administration,” Slater said. “It’s not waiting for people to come to me saying there’s a problem. It’s going to them, understanding what hurdles they’re seeing and how we can help them overcome them faster, more efficiently, more effectively without costing us more tax dollars.”
His criticism of town government wasn’t reserved for Gilbert’s administration. Slater faulted elected officials for decades of what he said was poor financial planning and bureaucratic hurdles that “have created a system where expenses continue to outpace revenues and nothing is done to ease our residential tax burden.”
Yorktown, with its “anti-progress reputation,” he said, has the lowest commercial tax base in Westchester County.
“Why is it that Cortlandt can get ShopRite zoned, sited and approved in a year and it’s taken us here in Yorktown 10 years to get Lowe’s open for business?” Slater asked.
Asked specifically about Depot Square, Slater stopped short of endorsing former Republican Supervisor Michael Grace’s plan to demolish the highway garage on the corner of Front street and Underhill Avenue and replace it with a privately owned mixed-use building. Gilbert’s administration has not moved forward with the Grace plan, calling it “flawed.” But Slater did say there were opportunities to “modernize” the town’s facilities.”
“Here in Yorktown, we have town employees working out of a trailer with a tarp because they have a leaky roof. And we park our maintenance vehicles and our equipment on tennis courts,” Slater said. “That’s unacceptable, and, for the taxes we pay, frankly it’s outrageous.”
YORKTOWN, NY – The Grand Old Party in Westchester County ain’t dead yet. That is the message republicans are proclaiming as new candidates step up and challenge democrats in the northern and southern parts of the county. In the wake of the Blue Wave that swept Westchester in 2016 and 2017, several new, fresh faces have stepped forward to talk about taxes, affordability, and present a different narrative to the progressive ideals proclaimed by many democrats in Westchester and New York State.
In the Town of Yorktown, Longtime political operative Matthew Slater has declared his candidacy to become the next Yorktown town supervisor. Yorktown, which was a republican stronghold for decades, recently elected its first democratic supervisor in more than a generation, when Ilan Gilbert defeated Michael Grace in 2017.
Slater is not new to government, having served as chief of staff for former State Sen. Terrence Murphy, as well as having served as mid-Hudson regional director for the New York State Assembly Minority Conference. Slater served as chairman of the Yorktown GOP committee until stepping down to run for supervisor.
“People that have lived here all of their lives and people that just moved in say the same thing, Yorktown is just too expensive,” he said. “Decades of poor planning and bureaucratic hurdles have created a system where expenses continue to outpace revenue and nothing is done to ease our residential tax burden.”
Slater has been endorsed by Murphy, his former boss. “There are a lot of unsung heroes in public service and to have Matt step up from behind the scenes will be a huge win for the people of Yorktown,” said Murphy.
State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne also endorsed Slater, saying: “In Yorktown alone, he helped us alienate parkland to preserve a historic cemetery, designate nearly two dozen local lakes including Mohegan Lake, Sparkle Lake and Junior Lake – as inland waterways for the purposes of waterfront revitalization and environmental remediation, as well as rename two of Yorktown’s state roads for fallen warriors of the community.”
Slater, 33, and his wife, Kellie, have a 3-year-old son. He is a 2004 graduate of Yorktown High School, received his undergraduate degree from St. Anselm College, and earned his Master of Public Administration from Marist College.
Click here to read more from Westchester Rising.
Yorktown Patch: ‘We need a walkable downtown in each of our hamlets,’ says Terrence Murphy’s former chief of staff
YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – Lifelong Yorktowner Matt Slater announces his candidacy for Supervisor with his Mom, wife Kellie, and son Charlie.