Ed Day, Rockland County Executive
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2015
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645
COUNTY EXECUTIVE DAY UNVEILS $723 MILLION BUDGET
Balanced 2016 Spending Plan To Redesign And Transform County Government
NEW CITY, NY -- County Executive Ed Day today released a proposed $723 million budget for 2016 that builds for the future by saving money, paying down debt and continuing to deliver essential services.
"This is a responsible fiscal plan that begins the historic redesign of county operations," said County Executive Day. "Our goal is to create an affordable government. We've made the hard choices to set our county on a path to prosperity."
This year's proposed budget comes with a modest property tax levy increase of 4.95%, which equates to only $4 per month for the average Rockland County homeowner.
Said Day, "Unfortunately, the events that occurred this week involving the sale of Summit Park Hospital & Nursing Care Center derailed our ability to deliver a budget that comes in under the state's tax cap. Sympaticare's decision to walk away from the transaction to sell the facility not only impacted the patients and staff, but the county taxpayers as well."
County taxes account for approximately 7% of a typical property tax bill. The remaining taxes are levied by schools, municipal governments and special districts. The exact impact of the county tax levy on a property owner varies from community to community, due to different local assessments.
The proposed budget seeks to improve Rockland's standing with the major rating agencies, which have given two upgrades since the start of the Day Administration in 2014. Last week, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced that Rockland County is no longer New York's most "fiscally stressed" local government.
"This dramatic turnaround is the direct result of my administration's continued commitment to fiscal responsibility, accountability and economic improvement. Our long-term fiscal health depends on the wise and prudent actions we take today."
The proposed budget now goes to the County Legislature, which has until December 7 to adopt a final spending plan.
Said Day, "To better align our workforce with the taxpayers' ability to pay, we have steadily reduced staffing levels since I took office - from commissioners to receptionists, and everyone in between." The county's "headcount" in 2016 will be the lowest in 25 years: 1,659 full-time positions.
Significant details within the 2016 proposed County Budget:
The closure of Summit Park Hospital & Nursing Care Center
No money is budgeted in 2016 for the hospital or nursing home. The fiscal plan eliminates all 288 filled, full-time positions from the County workforce, with the exception of a small handful of positions.
In order to finance the operations of county government and keep the tax increase to $4 a month, the budget calls for an additional 38 job cuts. This brings to 326 the total number of county layoffs in the 2016 budget proposal, with the vast majority supporting operations at Summit Park.
Transfer of Functions
As part of the Day Administration's efforts to redesign county government, the proposed Budget for 2016 calls for the elimination of all 13 positions within the Department of General Services security division. In the future, this function will fall under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff, whose core mission is to patrol county buildings and county properties.
This move will bring the county's security force up to a highly professional level, by utilizing armed, uniformed members of the Sheriff's Office to keep the government workforce, and local residents, safe.
The 2016 budget also includes the transfer of the existing medical services and eight full-time positions from Summit Park Hospital to the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Office. Included are 13 new positions to meet the requirements of the New York State Department of Corrections. This move essentially builds a new unit under the purview of the Sheriff's Office, which will be fully funded.
Early Retirement Incentive
A good number of employees are expected to participate in an early retirement incentive, and many of these positions will not be refilled. This ERI will include all RAM, CSEA and nonunion workers. An estimated $2.5 million in salary savings will be recognized in 2016.
Sale of Property
As a result of the closure of Summit Park, the proposed budget calls for the sale of the Sain Building in New City to generate $4 million. This revenue is included in the fiscal plan.
With the shut-down of both the hospital and nursing home, the Day Administration envisions the total transformation of the 10-story building for county office space, which would provide ample room for those departments currently located in the aging Sain Building.
The 2016 budget includes nearly identical funding levels as last year to most of the eligible nonprofit organizations. The fiscal plan allocates the funding in two lump sums, rather than to each individual contract agency:
A) Public Benefit Programs
B) Direct Services to Departments
Additionally, a new procurement policy will bring a substantive change to the manner in which the county seeks and obtains these valuable health and human services. County departments will review these offerings and select a group of programs that best and most efficiently perform the public benefit work of government and serve the needs of the public.
Out of County Community College Chargebacks
The proposed budget contains $1.8 million for legally charging back to the five towns their respective share of their residents/students who attend a community college outside of Rockland County.
Unfunded State Mandates
Unfunded mandates forced on the county by lawmakers in Albany continue to pose a critical threat to Rockland's finances. Medicaid, pensions and seven other unfunded state mandates will consume more than 90% of the county's tax levy in 2016, leaving less than 10% for local needs like parks, public safety and health care.
The 2016 Proposed Budget is available on the County's website, Rocklandgov.com.
In keeping with the administration's pledge of transparency, County Executive Day will host two town hall forums to discuss the 2016 budget process:
- Wednesday, October 14 - 7 p.m. - Farley Elementary School - 140 Route 210, Stony Point
- Monday, November 16 - 7 p.m. - Valley Cottage Library - 110 Route 303, Valley Cottage
Residents of Rockland County are invited to bring any question or idea they want to discuss face-to-face with County Executive Day. Residents may also submit questions in advance via email at Q&AEdDay@co.rockland.ny.us