A bill approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators reducing spectator fees at Rye Playland was vetoed Friday by County Executive Robert P. Astorino.
“The Democrats’ proposal is irresponsible from both a financial and logistical standpoint,” Astorino said, referring to the majority party of the BOL.
The Board plans to reconvene Monday to override the veto.
The bill would allow free spectator admission to Westchester County residents and half the fee from $10 to $5 for non-residents.
“County taxpayers and hard-working residents shouldn’t pay admission at a park they financially support already,” said BOL Chairman Ken W. Jenkins (D-Yonkers). “The higher entrance fees for spectators will turn many people away.”
Astorino said the plan would cut the county-owned park’s anticipated revenue in spectator fees by about $1 million and disrupt the budget already planned around the existing fees. Democratic legislators said the loss would be offset by increased visitors to the park.
Astorino countered the argument citing an analysis conducted by the county’s Parks Department, which showed the county receives an average of 96 cents in individual ride fees paid by those with spectator passes. Based on these figures alone, Astorino said the park would need more than one million additional visitors.
“When you go to the park, you don’t just ride the rides,” said Thomas Staudter, BOL press secretary. “You buy food and you play the games.”
Juan Vasquez came from the Bronx to spend Friday at Playland with his wife and three children. He paid $10 for a spectator pass.
“It should be free if you’re not going to go on the rides,” Vazquez said. “I remember when it used to be free. I used to come out here more often.”
Felix Russo came to the park from White Plains with his grandson. He received a $5 discount on his spectator pass as a county resident.
“I’m happy with what I paid,” Russo said. “The park has to make money. It’s too bad more people don’t come here from outside (the county). That’s what brings in the money.”