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County 'Charge-Back' for College Tuition Makes No Sense

If our goal is government financial accountability it makes no sense to have one local government footing the bill (Orangetown), while another (the County) oversees the program.

The Rockland County Legislature recently voted overwhelmingly in support of the County Executive’s decision to .

This move will cost Orangetown about $238,000 in 2012, a completely unanticipated expense.

Apparently, it is legal for the County to “charge-back” Orangetown for the cost difference in tuition when Orangetown residents attend more expensive SUNY community colleges outside Rockland County. But if our goal is government financial accountability, it makes no sense to have one local government footing the bill (Orangetown), while another (the County) oversees the program. Since it is not paying the bill, the County has little incentive to run the program more cost effectively. For its part, the Town pays the bills, but cannot exercise any direct management control, nor does it have any particular interest or expertise in the financing of college education.

So this kind of “charge-back,” or “cost-shifting” maneuver is a recipe for more bad budget management by the County, while accomplishing nothing more than transferring a cost from one tax bill onto another. Some might say, “What difference does it make, since ultimately the money comes from the same taxpayers?” But taxpayers have the right to hold government accountable for spending, and this is harder to do when one government is paying for a program run by another government.

County government is in the middle of a great reconciliation of budget to reality. Cost-shifting of college tuition, elections and other programs to the Towns, without doing anything to improve the programs in question, is a step in the wrong direction.

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Randy June 05, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Our county government finally steps into action to address the nearly $100M that they don't have. What do they do? They slap a 4% heating and electric energy tax on residents. This will hit everyone, homeowners and renters alike and it won't do all that much to bridging the $100M gap. Next they go after college students. What is it going to take to vote these people out? How about laying off some of the political patronage jobs and seriously cutting expenses. No more conferences, travel, county owned cars and vehicles for employees to drive around in and take home. Sell them! Freeze all hiring. There is so much fat in the budget that hasn't been even touched. Unfortunately, some county workers are going to lose their jobs due to the years of mismanagement by the County which has created a situation where last year's over 30% county property tax increase and the new energy tax make only a small dent in the budget gap.
elizabeth June 05, 2012 at 10:37 AM
I can't believe Rockland's local governments are paying the tuition bills for students who choose to go to other areas' community colleges. That's ridiculous. If they choose not to attend their own, RCC, then let them pay their own bills. PS: RCC is a great school!
Watchdog June 05, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I agree, why am I paying for anyone's college tuition.
Watchdog June 05, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Charge it back to the student, not me.
Mike June 05, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Andy, I have a very serious question. Can the Town of Orangetown secede from the County of Rockland? Further, is there a (state) Constitutional mandate for the very existence of a County Government? I raise thes issues from two perspectives- (1) if County is now going to pass costs to Town is it constitutional- do we have proper representation and further what else will County passon-so why have County Gov't and (2) for many year prior to creation of County Gov't, the 5 Towns ran themslevs perfectly well. Why not consider going back to that system?
Watchdog June 05, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I have been saying that for years. Clarkstown ANDOrangetown should secede from the County and let the North Rockland crowd wallow in their own mud. I would like to see what Andy Stewart has to say.
Mike Hirsch June 05, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Thank you for your insights Andy. They sound perfectly logical to me. Sometimes it takes a political novice to see through the smoke and mirrors put in place by the veterans. Keep telling the truth.
Mike June 05, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Ben, not surprising, but thanks for information. I wonder if a suit could be brought though since the County is disproportainley taxing one Town over another without representation? I guess unless we get some patriots like in days of old, the Towns will contunie to just pay and pay and in the case of O'Town, get much less back in return.
Andy Stewart, Orangetown Supervisor June 05, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Great questions, no simple answers -- prior to County legislature there was a "Board of (Town) Supervisors" - I do not know the full story of why "we" decided to end that system and create a County legislature and executive system, but it does not seem to be working so great these days...
Andy Stewart, Orangetown Supervisor June 05, 2012 at 10:13 PM
That is what I was thinking, too. The Town Supervisors are researching this issue with the help of our NYS senator and assembly folks, and information from RCC management. About 2/3 of the extra tuition to be paid by Towns goes to the Fashion Institute of Technology, which is not a two-year school, per se, so we are looking into that aspect as well.
Watchdog June 05, 2012 at 11:14 PM
You mean that taxpayers were paying tuition for FIT? That is disgraceful! and Deceitful! Are we also loading for some of those private schools for certain bloc voters ala the scandal of a decade or so go where the college was ripped off for tens of millions? You never know what you will find under the Vanderhoef/Schoenberger/Cornell rock. They may regret they decided to do this.
Mike June 07, 2012 at 03:02 PM
How do we as citizens of Orangetown or any of the other towns get a solid answer to the question of seceding from the County of Rockland. I would seriously to to see our Supervisor and councilmen explore this and find out the legal options. I think it should absolutely be explored given that I contribute a significant amount of my tax dollars to the County and at this point cannot quite figure what I get back. I have no problem contibuting taxes to my town because I get services back and more importantly, the elected leaders can be held much more accountable than those in New City. Any State Constitutional lawyers out there? Even if its non- binding I would love to see the question of seceding from the County put up as a referendum during the next election.
Watchdog June 07, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I agree entirely. Let taxpayers voice their opinion in a referendum. Perhaps the two Towns can get the ball rolling by offering a Town Resolution to explore the possibility. I wonder what Gromack and Stewart say about that!
Clarkstown life June 07, 2012 at 04:43 PM
http://www.nyacknewsandviews.com/2012/01/ctown2012stateofthetown/ watchdog---clarkstown is already exploring the possibility.....you were too busy bashing to notice
Mike June 07, 2012 at 05:37 PM
@Clarkstown life- appreciate the link and I applaud Gromack for his initiative. Mr. Stewart- what about it? Can Orangetown look into this in a serious manner- I mean a legal and economic review listing pros/cons. Perhaps we can even explore the possibility of "uniting" with Clarkstown in creating a new city or separate County. It is time to explore outside the box solutions!
Watchdog June 07, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Is BASHING the only word you know? Anytime someone raises an issue you do not agree with, they seem to be " bashing" in your mind. FYI I have been promoting secession from the County in several forums for a few years and it perhaps from citizens like me that these politicians get their ideas to begin with. So please come up with some original ideas of your own and stop your own form of " bashing" of long tome taxpayers whose taxes built this Town and School system.
stephany June 08, 2012 at 02:21 PM
CL is an attack dog. his sole purpose in life it s to attack other members. Look at his profile and click a few posts to see what I mean. I have reported him numerous times for TO use violations to no avail Robin Traum has done nothing. I will be contacting patch.org regarding her lack of enforcement. I encourage others to do so if your valid complaints are not remedied for instance: terms of use say this Without limitation, you agree that you will not post or transmit to other users anything that contains Content that: 1]is ABUSIVE or offensive; 2]is HARASSING against any group or INDIVIDUAL 3]is INACCURATE, False or MISLEADING in any way;l [all of those] while he can say what he wants in response to an article, my problem is with his direct attacking with direct replies of other members. a little banter once in a while is Ok but he is fixated on it. and basically limited to it. there is no need for it I am not saying CL is but . It is very typical of law enforcement to act this way. Look around the web at forums where law enforcement post to see what i am talking about. you must have the utmost respect for every cop or you are dirt and you will be attacked behind the appropriate screen name--which is another toUse violation Registration You may not use any aliases or other means to mask your true identity. what is one more I guess
Watchdog June 08, 2012 at 03:01 PM
OTOH if you defend yourself against CL or INTHEKNOW or his other alias....he has THREE.. Traum and Demarest will delete our post. The PATCH editors are very sensitive to protecting their political philosophy and infringe on the right to free speech, especially Robin Traum.
stephany June 08, 2012 at 05:47 PM
yes billy dee. is another one. That is why i will bypass the local patch and go straight to patch.org
Mike June 09, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Make sure your comments pass the patch censorship test.

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