HUDSON VALLEY – Gov. Eliot Spitzer today signed legislation that enables communities in the Hudson Valley to create Community Preservation Funds – a vital mechanism to safeguard drinking water, protect farmland, preserve historic structures and create parks. The environmental group Scenic Hudson praises the governor for his support, as well as bill sponsors Senator Vincent Leibell and Assemblyman Adam Bradley.
The Hudson Valley Community Preservation Act authorizes municipalities in Westchester and Putnam counties to seek voter approval to create special accounts to fund land-protection efforts in local communities. Additional legislation signed by the governor extends this option to the Town of Fishkill, Dutchess County, and the Town of Chatham, Columbia County. With this additional legislation, Scenic Hudson saluted the leadership provided by Senator Steve Saland, Assemblyman Joel Miller and Assemblyman Tim Gordon. If passed, these accounts would be funded by a real estate transfer fee of up to two percent only on the portion of the property sale price that is above the median price for that area.
"One-hundred-thousand acres of wildlife habitat, working farms, scenic areas and public riverfront access must be preserved over the next 10 years at a cost of approximately $1 billion to ensure the long-term vitality, economic sustainability and environmental health of our region," said Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson. "Thanks to Governor Spitzer, our communities can now fund conservation projects and achieve the goals articulated in their local comprehensive plans."
"Scenic Hudson, its members and partners worked hard to achieve this important victory," said Andy Bicking, director of Public Policy and Special Projects for Scenic Hudson. "We look forward to working with local government and citizens to successfully pass referenda allowing the creation of Community Preservation Funds, as well as extending this most basic of conservation finance options to other regions in the Hudson Valley."