[POLL] County BOL to Vote on Playland Audit

The County Board of Legislators Government Operations Committee approved resolution for independent Playland audit.


A resolution for an independent audit of Playland, the 280-acre amusement park and beach facility owned and operated by Westchester County, received approval Tuesday by the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Government Operations Committee and will now be set for a full vote at the BOL’s next regular meeting on September 10.

The resolution, which was supported only by the Democratic legislators on the committee, authorizes BOL Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) to employ an independent financial firm to audit and review the actual revenues and expenses of Playland along with the current procedures in place to ensure proper and accurate compilation of the data; and instructs the Budget Director and the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Conservation to provide the professional auditors with all information and documentation requested. 

“This is a thirteen million dollar a year business that deserves a full financial and operational audit so that legislators can make informed decisions about Playland’s future,” said Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), chair of the BOL Government Operations Committee. “With this in mind, it is entirely prudent that we start planning for an audit right now.”

Last week, Borgia and two of her colleagues—Judy Myers (D-Larchmont), chair of the BOL Budget & Appropriations Committee, and Bill Ryan (D-White Plains), chair of the BOL Legislation Committee—called for an independent audit of Playland because of 'troubling inconsistencies and omissions in the data regarding the park’s attendance and revenue figures being reported by the Astorino Administration' according toa press release from the Board of Legislators office.

The release also cited language in the Westchester County Charter that mandates that the BOL “investigate the official conduct and the accounts, receipts, disbursements, bills and affairs of any office or officer of the county, or of any office or officer of any special county district or other unit of county government, and make such studies or investigations as it deems to be in the best interests of the county,” as well as “employ such...financial or other technical advisers as may be necessary from time to time, in relation to the performance of any of the functions of county government” to bolster their support for the audit.

Last year, the BOL passed an Act mandating that the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Conservation provide weekly reports to the BOL comparing the 2012 Playland attendance and revenue figures with those compiled in the summer of 2011.

The Board of Legislators claim the information provided thus far has been incomplete and sporadically reported. Also, revenue figures that were presented to the BOL do not include substantial profit centers like parking, mini golf and concessions—none of the revenues, in fact, budgeted for in the finally adopted 2012 County Budget outside of ride fees. 

“Playland looks better than ever this summer, and it continues to be a fun-filled destination for residents and families from around the region,” said Bill Ryan. “The park’s finances could be stronger, however, and my colleagues on the Board and I need complete financial information to be able to increase revenues at Playland and even further reduce the nominal tax levy support it now receives.” 

This post is adapted from a release from the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

Rye Reader August 22, 2012 at 11:56 AM
The audit is an excellent idea, but the auditor should be careful to evaluate Playland's debt service the same way it is evaluated for all the other county parks: that means the debt service should not be part of the balance sheet at all. The debt service continues no matter what Playland's future, and it is not included in any bottom-line reckoning for any of the other county parks. Removing the debt service from Playland's balance sheet is critical for a fair evaluation of the park's revenue.
Arthur Wenzel August 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Playland, in some shape or form, should continue to be a facility accessible to the general public.
Billy L August 22, 2012 at 01:54 PM
This is something I have complained about for years and have posted various editorials in various papers to that effect...and that is that Playland has been consistently one of the only parks to account for debt servicing on it's operating budget. The county hired a company in 2004 to commission a master plan to come up with ways to "fix" Playland and very few of the suggestions were implemented. What we need are more rides, newer rides and complete historically accurate overhaul and restoration of the park, which needs to include rebuilding the park's original gates and colonnades along with rebuilding the Airplane Coaster.
Anne McCarthy August 22, 2012 at 02:57 PM
All good points. Again, thank you to Judy Myers for consistenly standing up for us. We shouldn't be steamrolled into privatizing a National Historic Landmark by a County Executive hell-bent on privatizing public assets.
Billy L August 22, 2012 at 03:27 PM
You cannot expect to have a viable amusement park if you add two new rides in the last decade. The Airplane Coaster is a good choice for a ride addition because the park still has the original blueprints, it's part of the park's original design and would not detract from it's landmark status, and it is of the intensity of a roller coaster that is needed to attract more thrill seekers. We all love the Dragon Coaster but as far as roller coasters go, it is not very intense. It was built specifically as a milder counterpart to the Airplane Coaster, which is why the Dragon Coaster was not opened until Playland's second season in the spring of 1929.
RyeDad August 22, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Let's not let a few rich politically connected Rye snobs who have probably never been to Playland decide on what is best for Playland. Playland was there long before these people came to Rye from wherever they came from and now they want to change it.
Billy L August 22, 2012 at 04:33 PM
That's what always amazed me about the local residents that want it closed due to noise and traffic. Did you not do your research before moved to the area to learn what was in the area that may be disruptive to you? If not, shame on you. Unless you have been living there since before 1900 you do not have a leg to stand on. Before Playland was there, there were two other amusement parks, Rye Beach and Paradise Park, both with far worse reputations than Playland. They were well know hang out places that attracted illegal gambling and prostitutes.
Paul August 22, 2012 at 05:26 PM
As a new Rye resident, I'm very much FOR keeping Playland open as a county park. Privatiziing it would create a pressure for quick bucks that would destroy the character of the park. I visited for the first time last weekend and loved it. And for the record, I may be a snob, but only a beer snob and an indie rock snob.
Suki van Dijk August 22, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I've been in Rye for nearly 20 years and have never spoken to any Rye resident who wants Playland closed for noise, traffic, or any other reason. We live in the neighborhood and everyone I know loves Playland. I don't think there are "Rye snobs" behind the effort to sell Playland out from under us - I think it's County Executive Astorino.
Suki van Dijk August 22, 2012 at 07:05 PM
and a big thank you to Judy and the BOL for insisting on an independent audit of the finances!
Billy L August 22, 2012 at 07:08 PM
There is quite a large moment among Rye residents of people who would rather have Playland be a more passive park than what it is now. Apparently you do not know the same people I know. And by the way, I never called anyone a snob.
Anne McCarthy August 22, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Yes, I frequently hear locals speak enthusiastically about the passive park potential..."we need lacrosse fields". A passive park would likely improve the market values of the area homes. But, as someone described earlier, Playland's been there for a LONG time; people who purchased homes in the vicinity were fully aware of the seasonal activity. It's a county asset, not a Rye asset. For people who whine about "City" people driving up to Westchester to use the Park: So, what? The Park employs something like 700 County teens. The bulk of their paychecks probably stay in the County and they're employed for the summer, learning responsibility and interpersonal skills.
Nummy August 22, 2012 at 07:34 PM
ArTDecoPlayLand Wrote: " Rye Beach and Paradise Park, both with far worse reputations than Playland. They were well known hang out places that attracted illegal gambling and prostitutes." Hell let's bring them back, look what it's done for Yonkers
Elsie philips August 27, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Playland is a great park filled with a million memories for residents. I think the problem with Playland is that it is being mismanaged on purpose by the same group that mismanaged it several years ago. Why doesnt the park stay open on weeekends until October? Why are there no tenants in the new boardwalk stores that were just built? How come the boardwalk isnt used for fairs every weekend? If I could think of a hundred ways to bring in money and attract people to Playland why cant the Commissioner? Or do we need a fresh one?
PlaylandWatch.org September 17, 2012 at 04:39 PM
How to fix Playland in 60 Seconds: http://youtu.be/5THIKGGVssk


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something