Orangetown is once again taking the steps to establish a community preservation fund that will enable the town to purchase vacant property within it’s boarders and accept gifts of land or money. First introduced during the tenures of former State Senator Elijah Recklin Melnick and former state Assemblyman Mike Lawler, the fund has been described by Supervisor Teresa M. Kenny as a necessary tool to preserve Orangetown’s character and environment. Though the original bill was introduced “two day’s before” the conclusion of last years legislative session and was not voted on, Assemblyman John McGowan and State Senator Bill Weber are cosponsoring this new attempt and remain optimistic about it’s prospects.
New York State Senate Bill S4712, sponsored by Senator Weber, authorizes the town of Orangetown to establish a community preservation fund that can to accept gifts of land or monies, incur interest, which will be put towards the fund, and prohibit monies accumulated by or deposited into the account from being transfered anywhere else. State Assembly bill A4606, sponsored by Assemblyman McGowan, mirrors it’s counterpart in the Senate; both bills are currently with their respective state committees on local government. If approved, the community preservation fund would be monitored by a special committee appointed by the town board. This committee would be responsible for managing the fund and advising the town as to it’s best possible uses. The legislation would allow the town to collect 3/4 of a percent tax on any home purchase in Orangetown with an exemption for any purchase over 400,000$; this new revenue will be the main source of monies allocated to the community preservation fund for the identification and purchase of avilable properties. The properties acquired through the new fund would primarily be used as public space and park land, though Supervisor Kenny has stated that the fund could also be used to acquire and preserve historic properties in Orangetown.
“This legislation is a home run for Orangetown as it will provide the Town the ability to preserve and protect land for a variety of beneficial and worthy uses, such as open spaces, parks, and agriculture,” said Assemblyman McGowan. “Ensuring that open spaces and natural resources are safeguarded is a top priority. This legislation will help further enhance the beautiful landscape and character of Orangetown for generations to come.”
Senator Bill Weber shared his collages sentiment stating, ” I am grateful to Supervisor Teresa Kenny for bringing this innovative proposal to my attention. Protecting community character is something that is very important to me and the people of
Orangetown and I’m gratified to be in a position to help.”
Supervisor Kenny expressed gratitude towards both legislators and restated her support of the proposal, which has been molded after similar preservation efforts in the towns of New Platz and Warwick.
“I would like to thank Senator Bill Weber and Assemblyman John McGowan for sponsoring the Orangetown Community Preservation Fund Bill. As many of you recall, this was a key promise of my campaign in 2019,” said the Supervisor. “With support in both the Assembly and Senate, Orangetown should soon follow the path of Warwick and New Paltz, where millions of dollars have been raised and numerous pieces of property have been purchased. The land trust would allow Orangetown to protect at-risk propertiesand would give the town another tool it needs to preserve what makes Orangetown special.”