Amusement park-goers are going to have to pay to get into Playland — just how much remains to be seen.
The Westchester County Board of Legislators late Monday couldn’t override County Executive Rob Astorino’s veto of the fee changes. Astorino didn’t support eliminating the $5 entrance fee for residents and cutting it in half for out-of-towners as some legislators wanted.
Democrats, who did not have the 12 votes needed for an override, postponed the vote indefinitely. They are now working on a compromise.
So for now going to Playland will cost Westchester residents $5 and non-residents $10. (That doesn’t include the all-inclusive ride passes that run $25 for residents and $30 for others.)
The one Democrat who wouldn’t support the fee change was Legislator John Nonna of Pleasantville.
“No additional information came to my attention that reducing fees would increase attendance at the park,” he said shortly after the vote last night.
Nonna said the time to debate this change was during budget season and that neither side had concrete data to support their stances.
“Neither side has done any analysis. The only way to do it is to look at what other parks do,” Nonna said. “Everybody — on both sides — (is) guessing.”
The entrance fees were first charged in 2009 under then County Executive Andrew Spano when they were set at $3 for residents and $5 for others. The rates were raised in this year’s budget and approved by the Board of Legislators as a way of generating more money for the park.
But in recent weeks, Democrats wanted to get rid of the fee. Chairman Ken Jenkins, D-Yonkers, had cited rising gasoline costs, better financial projections and worries of discouraging people from coming to the park as reasons for revisiting the idea.
While the fee feud is the latest battle between branches, it also shows why Republicans are so keen on picking up seats in the November elections; they want to rid the board of its Democratic veto-proof super-majority.
Minority Leader James Maisano, R-New Rochelle, who called the change a “policy mistake,” expects Democrats to put forth a compromise since they didn’t have the votes for an override.
“If they’re going to propose a compromise, we’ll take a look,” Maisano said.
Majority Leader Peter Harckham, D-Katonah, said the park is vital to the region’s economy and that any proposal would try to ensure that Westchester residents aren’t paying twice to use the park — once in their tax bill and again at the front gate.
“We didn’t have an entrance fee for 80 years,” Harckham said. “We want to entice people to come back to the park. … Obviously, we’re concerned about the revenue side, but we’re also concerned about driving up the number of people to the park.”