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County Executive Approves 2012 Budget Adopted By Rockland Legislature

Warns of additional layoffs if union negotiations are unrealistic

 

Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef Wednesday, Dec. 14 notified the Rockland County Legislature that he has approved the it adopted last week, despite some “very serious reservations.”

 Vanderhoef explained his decision in a memo delivered to the clerk of the legislature just past 4 p.m. 

The $701.8 million budget is now considered adopted according to the county charter. 

Vanderhoef wrote that his proposed budget with layoffs, program cuts and reductions “addressed the dire financial situation of our county and sought to reinvent county government.  Our goal has been to put the county financial ‘house’ in order and provide for a solid financial future so that we can deliver essential services to our residents.”

That proposal called for layoffs of more than 500 county employees whereas the approved budget reduces the county workforce by 40 positions. 

Legislator Ilan Schoenberger, chair of the budget & finance committee, said he had heard of the county executive’s approval but had not read the memo.  Schoenberger said he glad the county executive approved the budget and would be working with the legislature to address the deficit and bring financial stability to Rockland.

Vanderhoef noted the two percent property tax increase and one-time property tax assessment he recommended would have cost the average homeowner $175 in 2012.  The cost remains the same under the budget he has approved, however, the legislature included the onetime assessment as a property tax increase and voted to override the state’s two percent property tax cap.  The property tax increase is now 30 percent.

Vanderhoef criticized the legislature’s approval of a 3/8 of one percent sales tax increase and inclusion of anticipated sale tax revenue of $14 million.  The sales tax increase must be approved by the state legislature and governor in early 2012.

“If it were not for the importance of funding law enforcement and my concerns for the admittedly aggressive time schedule to sell or close the Summit Park facility, I would veto the sales tax increase approved by the legislature,” Vanderhoef wrote.

He stated the increase is risky but he will support efforts to gain state approval.

“This administration, of course, will do its part to get approval as well.  Without the approval, the County will be thrown into financial disarray again.”

Vanderhoef explained studies must continue to determine Summit Park’s future even though it is funded for operation throughout 2012.

The county executive stated union negotiations must lead to an agreement “that meets our budget objectives.  If not, we will be forced to again consider 150 to 200 additional layoffs in 2012.”

According to Vanderhoef, the state comptroller’s internal review aligned with the administration’s position on what led to the county’s current $52 million deficit.

“The Mirant certiorari action, losses at the Summit Park facilities and overly optimistic sales tax revenue projections created our deficit – over expenditure did not.  This is not a case of spending too much.”  

Deanne Wernicke December 15, 2011 at 04:12 PM
Isn't there ANYTHING we can do about this increase? Maybe someone should form a Protest at Town Hall or in New City or something. We HAVE to bring attention to this situation and let the whole country see what's going on here.....because They are next. Let's all try to DO something about this. I know we won't vote for him again, but this issue needs to be aired big time. Where do they think ppl will get the money for this increase,. These are our HOMES they are talking about! How can we just sit still and let this rinky-dink "local" government do this to US!
Tony B December 15, 2011 at 05:41 PM
I guess the back room and under the table politics has won. Shame on you. You were told by your constituents and should know what the right thing to do is. Why do the wrong thing? It does not make sense. The county will never be stable as long as you keep paying six figure salaries to so many cops. Face it we do need law enforcement but not so many and not so hightly paid. We live in a safe environment overall thank God and thanks to the good hard working people that live here. And thanks to the police too, but the reality is we don't live in "Fort Apache the Bronx". And I'm originally from the Bronx and can say those cops really need the pay raise. Scott I hope it was worth it.
hardtimes December 15, 2011 at 07:48 PM
the crime in clarkstownis low do to the fact we are mainly all harding people fro all different lively hoods including city police officers,city correction officers,state court officers ,say what you wil i beleive their jobs are more dangerous and they earn a lot less.srry for leaving out the fireman,and dont tell us crime is so low because of what you get paid.give back 200,000 is to much for what you do.if you want action go back to nypd orangetown police
Suzanne Du Charme December 20, 2011 at 08:36 PM
I've read paragraph 7 of the above article several times, and darned if I can make heads nor tails of it. "The cost remains the same?" So, the increase for the average homeowner will be about $175 over the entire course of 2012? Have they just moved the numbers around? And what do they consider the " average homeowner?" I tried Google Translate but they don't have "political double talk" as one of their language choices.
the truth December 12, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Cut the top jobs layoffs for the small guy doest help anything

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