Ed Day, Rockland County Executive
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2015
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645
STATE OF THE COUNTY 2015: ROCKLAND COUNTY IS ON THE MEND
County Executive Day Says Strong Fiscal Stewardship, Efficient Operations, Collaborative Leadership Are Keys To Rockland's Financial Recovery
NEW CITY, NY -- Committing to "pay down our debts and continue the conservative, common-sense management of our county's resources," County Executive Ed Day today delivered his annual State of the County message, highlighting Rockland's successes in cutting costs, while vowing to expand efficiencies and innovative programs to help improve the county's fiscal stability and quality of life for local residents.
Day renewed his call for collaborative leadership with the Legislature, laid out the key elements of his plan to battle illegal housing in Rockland and noted the work ahead to create new jobs and build a stronger, more diverse local economy.
County Executive Day also promised to keep a constant focus on protecting taxpayers in 2015 and beyond. "They said it would be impossible to craft a budget that comes in under the Governor's two-percent tax cap. But, we succeeded in our first year. Despite the unfunded mandates that continue to strangle this county, I plan to seek tax relief again during the 2016 budget process."
The County Executive outlined his vision for enhancing the county's strategy for economic growth and business recruitment, including the appointment of Lucy Redzeposki as Rockland's new Director of Economic Growth.
Said Day, "As we looked for an innovative leader to coordinate our efforts, Lucy stood out because of her extensive experience in business development and her strong ties to Westchester County and New York City's economic growth initiatives. Her main task will be to position the county for the global, modern marketplace in partnership with the REDC, IDA and the RBA."
Day touted the county's economic progress in 2014 and pledged to continue future economic growth by fostering revenue-sharing partnerships with local towns, villages and Bergen County.
Following years of neglect, Day also presented his administration's mission to create a sound and modern infrastructure that will play a key role in keeping Rockland County moving forward. "We have a responsibility to ourselves and to future generations to maintain and improve the roads, bridges and sewer systems that previous generations built for us. It is a responsibility we cannot ignore or postpone. Waiting will cost us three to four times the amount of taxpayer money," said Day.
Day also stated that plans are underway to construct a new facility for the Rockland County Highway Department, including the potential for including a Compressed Natural Gas filling station at the Pascack Road portion of the proposed site. "Cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness will drive this project, if approved by the Legislature," said the County Executive.
During his 2015 State of the State address last month in Albany, Governor Cuomo pledged to divvy up the $5 billion windfall New York has reaped from recent bank settlements. Cuomo revealed that the biggest chunk of that money will go to the new Tappan Zee Bridge and to the Thruway Authority to buy a one-year toll freeze.
In his remarks today, County Executive Day called again on Governor Cuomo do everything within his power to prevent the already-high tolls on the Tappan Zee Bridge from moving even higher on the new span. "While I have been a staunch advocate of spending significant funding from the bank settlements on infrastructure, it's not clear how much of the $1.3 billion will actually go to Tappan Zee construction and how much will go to helping Thruway Authority's deteriorating finances," said Day.
Along with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, Day promised to push Governor Cuomo to dedicate much more of the settlement money for the new span.
Another new initiative is a countywide effort to provide uniform and aggressive enforcement of building, housing and zoning codes, with an emphasis on eliminating illegal housing. Elements of the plan include a countywide rental registry, complete with regular inspections. Another component involves an on-line "request for investigation." Said Day, "Our message to unscrupulous landlords, or anyone participating in the illegal housing business is this: we're coming after you. So long as I'm County Executive, the illegal housing business will no longer be 'business as usual' in Rockland."
County Executive Day also honored Village of Spring Valley Police Officer Marc Miller with the 2015 DeFlumere Medal of Valor.
Day concluded by discussing the critical need for mandate reform. He said that nine state mandates alone currently consume 82% of Rockland County's tax levy and the situation is expected to be even worse next year. "Albany needs to deliver real mandate relief and deliver it now - otherwise there won't be any money left to take care of our local services."