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Astorino vetoes Playland entry-fee cut

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June 04, 2011

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino vetoed Friday aproposal from county legislators to drop an entrance fee for county residents atPlayland Amusement Park in Rye.

Later in the day, Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins said the legislators will vote on whether to override the veto at a meeting Monday night.

In addition to dropping the $5 fee for residents, it would cut the fee for non-residents to $5 from $10.

"It's illogical," Astorino, a Republican, said Friday of the board's proposal. "It's irresponsible to yet again ask the taxpayers of this county to foot more of the bill for non-residents to come to Playland and dig a deeper financial hole for county taxpayers."

Astorino said the change would cost the county up to $1 million in revenue. The legislators projected it would cost up to $646,000, said Thomas Staudter, board spokesman.

The loss would be even lower, he said, because the season already has begun with the higher fees.

Playland had 494,000 visitors last year, down from 1 million in 2005, Astorino said.

Jenkins, D-Yonkers, said residents should not pay to enter the park when they already support it financially.

"Perhaps there is some consolation in the fact that in a few days the board will do the right thing for everyone in Westchester and vote to override the county executive's wrong-minded veto," Jenkins said in a statement.

The board approved the act May 23 with an 11-6 vote, one vote shy of what would be needed to override Astorino's veto. All five Republicans and Democrat John Nonna of Pleasantville opposed it. The current prices remain in effect until the matter is resolved.

The entrance fees were first charged in 2009, when they were set at $3 for residents and $5 for others. They were raised in this year's budget, which Astorino noted was approved by the Board of Legislators.

Jenkins said rising gasoline costs, better financial projections and worries of discouraging people from coming to the park caused legislators to revisit the idea.

The fee is not charged to park-goers who buy unlimited-ride tickets, which cost $25 for residents and $30 for others. There is no charge for the boardwalk, the seaside walk or Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary adjacent to the park.


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