Working Together: The Only Way for All of Us to Survive Here in Rockland

The snowball effect continues ... as does the drain on all of our taxpayers. The time has come for all of us to work together to stem the tide on the increasing cost of living here.

The latest "hit" upon our taxpayers came when our school districts served by the Town of Clarkstown were advised that they will have to assume the cost for collecting school taxes. The town has always been allowed by law to add a processing fee, but facing their own budget shortfalls, now seem compelled to take this action. 

Clarkstown School Assistant Superintendent for Business, Facilities & Fiscal Management John LaNave stated that the effect of this action by the Town will add to the District's planned 2.1 percent tax increase by the equivalent of another percentage point. Translation? Because of the chargeback, that planned, average, annual property tax increase of $160 will now have another $80 added to it.  

This is a prime example of why I and a few others in the County legislature opposed the passing down of costs mid-year such as elections, RCC, etc., from the County to the Towns, as it is merely was transference of costs and absolutely NOT a savings. That action created a budget shortfall for Town governments. In the final analysis, the taxpayer will pay more, just on a different tax bill. 

Now the Town is passing along administrative costs by charging a fee to the schools, and of course the schools will pass that cost along to us on their tax bill. But at some point  does the school district respond to their future budget shortfalls by charging the Town for use of their school facilities by Town programs? The point is that the "town" will not be charged ... you, the citizen using the program will be charged by virtue of an increased fee. And the cost spiral continues.

Bottom line ... when costs are passed along in this manner, the payment is made by the taxpayer either by additional taxes on another tax bill or through added fees.

Look, the county, schools, towns, and villages all must deal with budget demands. The 2% property tax cap adds even more challenges to that. And to continue an approach to these demands in a separate and parochial way is not going to work, something we are all finally seeing now.

To be very clear ... this is not a "fault" issue nor a "finger pointing" exercise. It is an observation in support of what I have maintained since first becoming as legislator. The challenge is clear ... we need to work collectively across ALL levels of government to reduce the ENTIRE cost of living here. Find ways to consolidate and combine responsibilities, not add more charges for them. Government cannot continue to function in a provincial manner because in the final analysis, we will all pay more.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Maureen September 02, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Surely you don't expect a reply? As you yourself have pointed out republican Sparaco is a protege of Vinny Reda the chairman of the RC republican party. I'm told republican Day plans to run for republican Vanderheof's job which needs republican Vinny Reda's permission. You know the saying that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones and Day won't. But I am interested to see how he avoids your question. Silently, maybe?
John Gromada September 02, 2012 at 11:12 PM
With gas prices rising, and TZ tolls climbing sky high, it is imperative that we get mass transit for our residents so that employment opportunities are within reach. If we don't get transit on the new TZ, Rockland County will soon be indistinguishable from Sullivan County.
Michael N. Hull September 03, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Ed: I join John in thanking you for your response.  You write <<<Let those outside my domain be judged for their actions by their employers - the voter!>>> Therein lies the problem.  The voters' choice is being manipulated by minor parties that don't run their own candidates but seek to offer their support in return for patronage jobs or other favors as I discussed in this article http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/puppet-on-a-string When the majority of the Clarstown Town Board, except George Hoehmann, including the Town Attorney and the Town Clerk attended this meeting http://www.rocklandtimes.com/2012/08/09/house-of-horrors/ the voters are in trouble even though some are trying to change the situation. http://newcity.patch.com/articles/grassroots-republicans-seek-change-in-county-leadership What choice were voters  given by 5 parties in this election ballot to choose a Supervisor? http://www.preserveramapo.org/Community%20View/feiner_politics_in_rockland.htm None!
Mike Hirsch September 03, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Ed, you forgot to mention that you have sponsored a term limit bill for the County Legislature which of course is stalled in committee. You have my vote. I see you as one of the few elected officials who put service above self. Keep up the good work.
Rockland County Legislator Ed Day September 03, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Yes, Mike, thank you for that reminder. Some stuff comes so naturally, I just forget!


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