DEC begins alum pilot at Mohegan Lake started by Murphy, Slater

MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation applying aluminate sulfate in Mohegan Lake today as a part of a pilot-program to improve water quality by binding phosphorous, which will control eutrophification. The program was undertaken in February 2018 following advocacy by Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and former Senator Terrence Murphy and coordinated by his chief of staff, Matt Slater, who is now a candidate for Yorktown Town Supervisor.

“It’s great to see the work i engaged in during my time in the nys senate is coming to fruition,” Slater said. “Thank you to the Mohegan Lake Improvement District for keeping up the fight to get the alum treatments approved.”

The program was announced at a press conference today by current Senator Pete Harckham. However, only Democratic elected officials were invited to the press conference.

Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman said, “Leave to to Ilan Gilbert to politicize everything, down to water quality at Mohegan Lake. The supervisor told us he wasn’t even aware of the press conference to invite us to it, which is no surprise, seeing as he has done little to nothing to address the issues Mohegan Lake faces.”

In an effort to rid the lake of it toxic green film, Senator Murphy and Westchester County Executive George Latimer had teamed up to write a letterto Basil Seggos, Chairman of the Department of Environmental Conservation, urging the need for the coordinated rehabilitation plan, including the use off alum to restore the lake’s water quality as well as the area’s overall environment.

A year ago, in a press release, Senator Murphy said it was his belief that Lake Mohegan will prove the use of alum can successfully battle phosphorous and other harmful algal blooms that plague the area. “We can return the lake to its status as one of the major destinations for recreation in Westchester County,” he said.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said at the time that “Lake Mohegan is one of the most contaminated water bodies in New York State. It is time we act to change that. The use of alum has, in test cases, shown to be effective in combatting the spread of harmful algal blooms, and I commend Senator Murphy’s efforts to expand its use here.”

Several weeks ago, Slater pointed out the town has done little to address the issues Mohegan Lake faces under the Gilbert administration. He pointed out how the town has failed to move forward with a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, a comprehensive planning document that was authorized by the passage of legislation last year. He also noted the town chose not to apply for an EPF LWRP grant in May of 2018, even though the town was eligible at the time.

Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana said, “It is great to see DEC moving forward with helping to clean up the lake where I grew up. I want to thank former Senator Murphy, Assemblyman Byrne and Matt Slater for their hard work alongside the Mohegan Lake Improvement District in making this a reality. But the question remains, would this even have been a press conference if we had not pointed out the town’s failure to move forward with an LWPR last month?”

The alum pilot program is just part of the work Slater has done on Mohegan Lake issues since serving as an Assembly Chief of Staff from 2011-12 and Senate Chief of Staff from 2015-19 representing Yorktown. Slater delivered an $80,000 grant to purchase a new weed harvester for the Mohegan Lake Improvement District. He also helped secure four summits supporting the state’s comprehensive effort to protect vulnerable lakes and waterbodies in Upstate New York from harmful algal blooms. He also helped author and pass the first comprehensive harmful algal bloom mitigation program in the nationthrough the State Senate, based on the State’s invasive species program.

Parents must skip work to sign-up for Yorktown Parks

YORKTOWN, NY – Concerned parents in Yorktown are asking why they must take off from work to sign-up for a parks pass. Yorktown Supervisor candidate Matt Slater joined them today alongside Council members Tom Diana, Ed Lachterman and Town Clerk candidate Mary Capoccia and called for Yorktown to begin offering online registration through the Community Pass program.

“Yorktown is the only community where one cannot sign up for a park pass online, and the extra dollars generated from this new system could go a long way to getting Yorktown to operate in the 21st Century,” , Slater said. “It’s time Yorktown got with the times. We are here today to take the first step toward redefining service delivery for the citizens of Yorktown and frankly it is a pretty simple one.”

Neighboring communities including Carmel, Cortlandt, Mount Kisco, New Castle, Peekskill and Somers all participate in Community Pass. In these communities, the program has saved time and money by making the registration process more secure, efficient and convenient for residents. 

Jillian Sherman, a Shrub Oak resident and small business owner, operates her business during the time window when residents must appear in-person at the Parks Department to register, including Saturday mornings. “I have a two-and-half year old son and own my own business, so it is difficult for someone like me to take off time from work to register in person all the way across town. We want to be able to take part in what our town offers,” she said.

Under Slater’s plan, residents would still be allowed to sign-up for programs in person or by mail if they so choose. However, adopting an online registration system will cut down on countless hours of data entry at the parks department, saving time and money, while expanding participation in town programs, generating revenue.

“Our parks department is one of the best, but they’re bogged down and its tough for our residents to get to their facility to sign-up,” Diana said. “We have to give our residents the quality of service that they have become accustomed to and deserve. The town is a business and you shouldn’t have to leave the comfort of your home.”

“We are so far behind the times,” Lachterman said. “Community Pass would tie everything together. It would make the jobs easier for employees, save us money over all, as well as being able to maximize the reach our programs. This hasn’t been acted on, and we need the leadership to move this through.”

“Four years ago we called for online registration and the current town clerk, who is a member of the recreation commission, paid lip service to the idea,” Capoccia said. “That means the administration has had almost four years and has done nothing. For the taxes we pay, we deserve a responsive local government that will turn words into action. The status quo just isn’t good enough.”

Slater said the issue is indicative of an overall problem with the current administration leaving local taxpayers behind instead of leading the way. “Under my administration, we will not only make the Community Pass a reality but we will redefine how we deliver services for all of Yorktown,” he concluded.