Slater’s Slate plans to launch Operation Thank You in first 30 days

YORKTOWN, NY – Surrounded by a dozen local veterans at Yorktown’s Patriot Park, Supervisor candidate Matt Slater announced his plans to help streamline the benefits and services he believes local veterans have earned.  Announcing Operation Thank You, along with Councilman Tom Diana, Councilman Ed Lachterman and Town Clerk Candidate Mary Capoccia, Slater said their plan would be implemented within his first 30 days in office. 

“We have developed a plan that raises the bar for Yorktown’s veterans and will better serve our local vets and their families,” Slater said.  “Our plan is to give them a stronger voice in our community while streamlining access to benefits and services.”

The plan includes establishing a Veterans Council and exploring the need for a Veterans Service Agency Office for Yorktown.  Several municipalities in Westchester County, including Bedford and Cortlandt, help streamline services through municipal veterans councils or veterans service agency offices.

Yorktown can be a better resource for those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation and freedoms, Slater said.  “Yorktown’s Veterans Council will provide assistance and connect their fellow vets to an array of services from VA assistance, to property tax exemptions to mental health services.”

Slater said he saw the struggles of a local veteran, Frank Garcia, who had to wait decades to be designated a disabled veteran as well as receiving the New York State Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption. With Slater’s help, Mr. Garcia was able to receive the exemption but his experience highlights the complicated systems local veterans have to endure to receive the benefits and services they deserve.

Yorktown Veteran Frank Garcia said, “I waited 40 years to be classified as a disabled veteran after being injured during training with the National Guard.  After meeting Matt he was able to quickly track down new information that I was not aware of which entitled me to the property tax exemption from New York State.  I appreciate his efforts.” 

Working alongside State Senator Terrence Murphy who represented Yorktown for four years, Slater helped deliver and protect critical funding for the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Program for both Putnam and Westchester Counties.  The Dwyer Program offers mental health services to soldiers suffering from PTSD or recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

Town Clerk candidate Mary Capoccia applauded the plan saying, “Having a Veterans Council would be an important resource to assist our veterans and their families.”

Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman, who has spearheaded Yorktown’s Annual Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony, wants the council to be charged with developing a living history program to preserve the primary accounts of Yorktown’s local veterans.  Calling it Operation Remember, Lachtermanexplained it would be geared toward the continued education of neighbors and students about the experiences of our local veterans.

“Through my work supporting places like the Country House, I have heard first hand accounts of D-Day invasions and merchant marine operations, simply amazing stories,” Lachterman said.  “In addition to forming this council we will task them with completing Operation Remember, a living history program in partnership with local veterans, civic organizations and our public schools to capture and digitize the firsthand accounts of our local veterans to preserve the memories of their service to our nation.” 

Yorktown is no stranger to veterans causes.  Councilman Tom Diana helped lead the charge to make Yorktown a Purple Heart Town and designating parking spots in front of Town Hall for Purple Heart Recipients.

“Our freedom isn’t free and we have incredible men and women who have made our country what it is today,” Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana added.  “My father was in World War II serving in the Battle of the Bulge.  We owe a veterans in this town an extreme amount of thank yous and help when we can do so.  The Veterans Council is just a mere token of the sacrifices that these men and women have made for us.  To all of our veterans, and their families, thank you.

Eugene Lang, a Holocaust Survivor, Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart recipient added, “We have signs up in both sides of town saying Yorktown is a Purple Heart Town and parking for Purple Heart recipients.  I thank Councilmen Diana and Lachterman for their help getting this done.”

More than 2,600 local veterans in Yorktown currently receive a property tax exemption. 

Please Stand: Military Service Members of the Mohegan Lake FD Honored

MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – In October of 2018 the Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a resolution supporting the creation and distribution of special pins to be displayed on the uniforms of local firefighters, police officers and emergency medical service workers who served or are serving in the nation’s armed forced.  At Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Mohegan Lake Fire Department, County Legislator John G. Testa, State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and local dignitaries recognized the service of more than 20 volunteer and paid firefighters who served in the United States Military.

Westchester County Legislator John G. Testa said, “We can never do enough to thank and recognize our veterans. I am honored to be able to present area Veterans who are also First Responders the recently created Westchester County Veteran Pin to show our appreciation for their tireless service to both our county and community. They are special individuals who should be thanked and appreciated for their dedication and service to others.” 

Westchester County Veteran Pins
 New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne added, “We are always grateful to our veterans and active military who serve our nation.  This occasion was particularly special as we joined our local and county partners in government to honor veterans who continue to serve in Westchester County as a member of emergency services.  We honor these brave men and women for their years of service to our nation in the military, as well as their continued service to the community in the Mohegan Lake Fire Department.”

Andrew Cerrato, President of the Mohegan Lake Volunteer Fire Company said, “I would like to thank our past and current members who have served our country in various branches of our military service.  May God bless them all!” 

Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana applauded their past and continued service saying, “I thank County Legislator Testa for bringing this great recognition to Yorktown.  Our town is blessed to have such patriotic and passionate individuals who have protected our freedoms and are now serving our community.  This was just one small way for us to acknowledge their service and sacrifice.”

Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman agreed saying, “Just last weekend my wife and I were guardians on the Hudson Valley Honor Flight.  Anytime we can honor the service of the brave men and women who protect our freedoms we should.  I thank County Legislator Testa for taking the lead on this initiative and look forward to our partnership in recognizing similar citizens within our community.”  

Matt Slater, former Chief of Staff to State Senator Terrence Murphy, praised the honorees saying, “Our community was built with the blood, sweat and tears of incredible citizens like those we honored last night.  We thank all of our local veterans for their service to our nation and continue to pray for the safe return of all active military members.  It is our responsibility to find innovative ways to ensure our brave warriors receive the acknowledgement and benefits they have clearly earned.”

Similar events are being planned to recognize additional veterans and active military members serving in the Yorktown Heights Volunteer Fire Department, Yorktown Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Yorktown Police Department.

Every Bit Helps: Pines Bridge Memorial Unveil Set Thanks to State Senate Grant

YORKTOWN, NY – After nearly a decade of effort by local historians, Yorktown’s Pines Bridge Memorial Plaza and Walkway will be officially unveiled this weekend.  This marks the 238th anniversary of the battle of Pines Bridge which took place on May 15, 1787.  Funding for the project came from all over including a $50,000 State and Municipal Grant secured by the office of former State Senator Terrence Murphy.

Matt Slater, candidate for Yorktown Supervisor and former Chief of Staff for Senator Murphy praised the community effort to preserve the significance of the Revolutionary Battle.  “People often forget how rich our region is with history dating back to the Revolutionary War.  The efforts by the Yorktown Historical Society, and in particular Michael Kahn, will make sure future generations know about the Rhode Island Regiment and the important role our town played during our fight for independence.”  

Historians often highlight the Rhode Island Regiment because it integrated European, African and Native American soldiers nearly two hundred years before the United States Army officially took similar action.  The regiment was led by Colonel Christopher Greene who lost two men while defending the Croton Reservoir against the British at the Pines Bridge crossing.

Former State Senator Terrence Murphy added, “I am proud to have been able to support this important memorial during my time in the State Senate.  During a time when history seems to have taken a back seat in our culture it is refreshing to be a part of a community that embraces its history and protects it for future generations to learn from.”

Under the Grace Administration the Pines Bridge Memorial received two installments from the Town of Yorktown totaling $167,500.  Originally to be displayed at Downing Park, the monument and subsequent plaza was relocated to Railroad Park in the Heights Hamlet.

Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana added, “As a lifelong resident of Yorktown I thrilled to see this important historical memorial and plaza be completed.  All good things come to those who wait and I thank everyone who helped pitch in to make this a reality.”

Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman stated, “I am proud to have been part of a town board who not only recognized, but took action, to promote the historical significance of Yorktown.  All of the hardwork that went into this has finally paid off.”

Commemorative bricks will remain on sale to raise funds for the memorial and be installed annually at similar events to commemorate the Battle at Pines Bridge.

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.

Yorktown drops ball on Mohegan Lake

MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – Over $14 million in local waterfront revitalization program funding is being left on the table since Yorktown has failed to complete it’s local waterfront revitalization plan, or LWRP. Today, Yorktown supervisor candidate Matt Slater joined Council members Tom Diana and Ed Lachterman, to call for the process to begin for Mohegan Lake, which has closed for parts of each summer since 2012 due to water conditions.

“Mohegan Lake became eligible for the local waterfront revitalization program over six months ago, but nothing has happened,” Slater said. “In the Senate, I helped secure $80,000 for a new weed harvester in Mohegan Lake and secure a special permit from DEC to apply phosphorous-fighting alum, but these are minor victories. Issues in the hamlet and greater watershed including failing septic systems, traffic, and pollution at the town’s only public access point, the Holland Sports Club, will cost millions of dollars to remediate. A local waterfront revitalization plan can provide those dollars.”

Over a year ago, former Senator Terrence Murphy passed legislation to authorize the town of Yorktown to participate in the state’s inland waterway program to help Mohegan Lake, which allows the town to complete an LWRP. Yorktown Supervisor candidate Matt Slater served as Murphy’s chief of staff, and helped similarly protect dozens of other waterways in communities like Peekskill and Somers, which are already pursuing their LWRPs. Last week, Murphy’s successor, Senator Peter Harckham, passed his first bill through the State Senate, which would authorize three additional Yorktown lakes to have LWRPs, but the town is yet to act on last year’s law.

Council member Tom Diana said, “This is a beautiful lake that I used to swim in growing up, but since 2012, this lake has basically not been open for swimming. The algae is so thick, its almost like you could walk across it. With an inland waterway designation, we would be able to get the help we need to keep this lake a viable resource to the community.”

Council member Ed Lachterman said, “This is not only about cleaning the lake, but cleaning the areas around it. There is a lot of grant money available, we could work on sewers and do a lot of projects that have been a priority that our current supervisor says, ‘hey, we’re going to work on’, but we’re not working on them. I hope we can get the ball rolling on this.”

New York’s coastal and inland waterways program was designed to help be a sword or a shield for communities to access funding through an LWRP to achieve goals including toxic blue-green algae control and phosphorous reduction, flood control, tourism and economic development, while requiring all actions taken by developers, as well as federal, state and local government agencies, be consistent with the plan.

“Walking into the Supervisor’s office, there should not be a learning curve,” Slater concluded. We know what we want to get done. We should not be waiting a year to draft a plan to protect New York’s most endangered lake.”

Slater’s slate solidifies

YORKTOWN, NY – The Yorktown Republican Town Committee met last evening and endorsed its full slate for the 2019 election cycle. Leading the ticket is Matt Slater, the former Chief of Staff to State Senator Terrence Murphy. 

“Over the last two years the town has regressed. Indecisiveness and inaction has stalled progress,” Slater said. “The current Board majority has failed to advance the material interests of the town. Every other community is undertaking transformative innovation to keep pace with their community’s needs. Our slate will get Yorktown moving once again by seeking to appropriately expand our commercial tax base, modernize the way the town delivers services and improve our quality of life by restoring the health of our local lakes and addressing the drug and opioid crisis.” 

Joining Slater are incumbent Council members Tom Diana and Ed Lachterman, Judge Gary Raniolo, and Mary Capoccia, candidate for Town Clerk, who came just 20 votes short of winning that position in 2015.  

“While local governments in other states are leading the way in innovation, Yorktown is still decades behind the eight-ball.” Capoccia said. “I will bring cost-effective, secure and modern processes to town government that will create a truly responsive, open and transparent Yorktown at a far lower cost to taxpayers.” 

“In the brief time as a majority the Board we worked hard to overcome years of short-sighted planning to get our town open for business,” Council member Diana said. “The results showed and dozens of job-creating projects were approved and funded, but that progress has come to a grinding halt. Regaining the majority will get Yorktown moving back in the right direction.” 

“The current Board majority’s tendency to arbitrarily reject the progress that preceded them has cost us the $60 million Jefferson Valley Mall reconstruction project, the Heights revitalization project and the expansion of vital sewer services,” Council member Lachterman said, “Without a walkable downtown, who is going to want to open up shop inYorktown? It should never have taken ten years to get Lowe’s approved, and without our ticket, it might never have gotten done. This election presents a clear choice to voters about which direction they want Yorktown heading.” 

Justice Gary Raniolo said, “I first ran for town judge when I saw how the safety and security of our community was emerging as a major concern. I have dedicated my legal experience and knowledge of the community to provide a judicial environment of law and order, with integrity, experience and honesty to address the opioid crisis and the backlog of cases at the town court, and it would be my honor to continue.”

Slater, 33, holds an MPA from Marist College and spent the last decade as a top aide to Senator Murphy, former Assemblyman Steve Katz and Westchester GOP Chair Doug Colety. He previously ran the New Hampshire State GOP and is involved in numerous local organizations. 

Council member Diana 62, is a former Yorktown police officer and is retired from the Westchester County Police Department. He is the owner of a local fuel oil company. He was elected to the town board in a 2015 special election and re-elected that year. 

Council member Lachterman, 53, is the owner of a small business in White Plains and has over thirty years of business management experience with corporations in Westchester. He was elected in his first bid for office in 2015. 

Judge Raniolo, 61, has over three decades of legal experience. He is a former Westchester County Assistant District Attorney. He mantains numerous professional memberships and is closely involved with the Yorktown Youth Court and the YorktownAlliance for Safe Kids. 

Capoccia, 58, is a program administrator at the Westchester County Board of Elections and previously served as Confidential Secretary to the Supervisor of Yorktown from 2012 to 2018. She worked as a law clerk in the office of former Yorktown Supervisor Al Cappellini in his private practice. 

Running for the Westchester County Board of Legislators are former Peekskill Mayor Frank Catalina, 61, in the 1st District, and former Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace, 62, in the 4th District. 

“Westchester County is heading in the wrong direction and after years of bipartisan governance and holding the line on taxes, we are seeing insane proposals like a 13.6% sales tax hike,” Catalina said. “We have to put a stop to the tax madness or there will be no-one left here in Westchester to pay them.” 

“The Board of Legislators and its Democratic majority is a impediment, to the advancement of innovative business investment in the County,” Grace said. “The County must foster an environment that encourages investment in all of its communities, the attempts to run roughshod over local zoning and involving itself in the promotion of progressive social issues is counterproductive to keeping Westchester County vibrant. A Republican victory in the 4th Legislative District will begin to restore the much needed checks and balances to County government.”

Lachterman nominated for Town Board

YORKTOWN, NY – The Yorktown Republican Town Committee showed a united front last evening when it unanimously endorsed a slate of candidates for several local offices in the November 2015 elections. It backed incumbent Supervisor Michael Grace, Councilman Tom Diana and Judge Gary Raniolo, as well as newcomer Ed Lachterman for the other vacancy on the town board. Continue Reading