The Rockland County Legislature’s Budget & Finance Committee will discuss scheduling four public hearings related to the county budget and budget deficit at tonight’s 7:15 p.m. meeting. They will also talk about the status of labor negotiations between the Highway Department and the county. Those talks have stalled.
The committee will vote on a date for the public to have input on the proposed “Deficit Reduction Act.” Budget & Finances Committee Chair Ilan Schoenberger has proposed the “The Deficit Reduction Act of Rockland County,” which would require $10 million of every budget go directly into a separate account to create a reserve fund that would be applied to reducing the deficit.
The second public hearing under consideration is to override the two percent state property tax cap for 2013, which would allow the county to raise taxes more than two percent. The town boards of Clarkstown and Orangetown have already approved exceeding the tax cap and Clarkstown voted for a budget with a tax increase of more than six percent.
The third and fourth public hearings will deal with the establishment of the Rockland County Mandate & Taxation Information Act and development of a Mandate & Tax Information Statement, which would be included in taxpayers’ annual property tax bills.
The proposed statement would read as follows:
“The State of New York requires local governments to perform many functions and provide services; without financial support. These state requirements or “unfunded state mandates” have a direct impact on local spending and represent a significant portion of the County and Town real property taxes that are due. Please see the notice enclosed with this tax bill for a more detailed explanation of the spending required by the State of New York and the impact of local property tax rates or visit the following website: http://co.rockland.ny.us or http://www.co.rockland.ny.us/Legislature."
The legislators will also consider the request of the county commissioner of finance to insert a Mandate & Tax Information notice in property tax bills that would summarize revenues and expenditures and the financial impact of state mandates on Rockland.
A special meeting of the full legislature will follow the committee meeting at 8 p.m. and approval of the four public hearings is included on the agenda. Previously scheduled meetings to discuss these topics were cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy and the nor'easter.
Schoenberger said the committee will meet this week for 2013 budget reviews and discussion of the Local Development Corporation (LDC) proposed by the county executive to handle the sale of Summit Park Nursing Home & Hospital.