County Budget Spares Local Nature Center

The county board of legislators approved a budget early Friday morning that saves six nature centers on preserves across Westchester County.

Last minute adjustments to the county budget have saved a local nature center and five others like it, the Westchester County Board of Legislators announced Friday.

Nature preserves in five Westchester communities, including the Cranberry Lake Preserve in West Harrison had been . Budget cuts would have closed nature centers in the preserves and eliminated several curator positions, possibly leaving nearby trails vulnerable to hunters, litter and other misuse.

But the county board has reconsidered, choosing to continue funding for Cranberry Lake Preserve, The Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary in Rye, the Marshlands Conservatory, also in Rye, the Ward Pound Ridge Preserve in Cross River, Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson and the Lenoir Preserve in Yonkers.

The new budget restores 187 jobs to the 2012 budget while maintaining a zero percent increase to the tax levy. The total county budget currently stands at $1.69 billion and now eliminates 23 county positions.

The board approved the budget with a 16-1 vote. It will now go to Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino for final approval.


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