After years of conflict between the administration and Board of Legislators over capital projects, the legislature’s Government Operations committee is working toward a system of tracking open projects and sharing information between the branches.
The board’s staff worked with the administration to complete a list of about 380 open projects and now has one that both sides agree on. Tuesday at a committee meeting, Government Operations Chairwoman Catherine Borgia, D-Ossining, and Public Works Commissioner Jay Pisco agreed to have their staff members work together to update the status of the lower-profile projects that have not been discussed in committee.
The purpose, Borgia said, is to get a big picture look at how the county’s resources are being spent. Individual legislators also have concerns about whether the administration will authorize work on projects in their districts, including the Sprain Ridge Pool in Yonkers. The administration has held up that project to save money, according to a county spokeswoman.
One unresolved issue is how the administration will treat additions to the capital plan by the Board of Legislators. The administration told the board that it had to submit capital projects through the same process used by county departments, rather than adding them during the budget process at the end of the year. The board rejected that determination and sued in state court. In a decision in February, Acting Supreme Court Justice James Hubert said the board cannot be treated like a county department but he dismissed the overall challenge.
In the meeting Tuesday, Borgia asked for updates on the projects on the list but Pisco said he was only prepared to talk about two road projects and bridge work. He suggested the board let him know ahead of time the particular projects they want information on. Borgia also asked how the court decision affected the department’s scheduling of projects. Pisco said he needed to find out.
“This is not an adversarial conversation,” Borgia told him. “We’re trying to figure out where things are.”