Ed Day, Rockland County Executive
February 16, 2016
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645
COUNTY EXECUTIVE ED DAY DELIVERS VISION FOR FUTURE OF ROCKLAND COUNTY
2016 State Of The County Is "Strong, And Getting Stronger" Following Two Years Of Fiscal Responsibility, Accountability And Economic Growth
NEW CITY, NY - Rockland County Executive Ed Day outlined his vision for the future of Rockland County in his third annual State of the County message on Tuesday night.
"Because of our ability to make difficult choices, we have overcome complicated problems with innovative solutions, and our taxpayers have benefited," said Day. "We all have a stake in the future of our County, and we must work together to realize our potential."
After outlining a number of accomplishments from his first two years in office, Day outlined plans for 2016 and beyond, including:
- Deficit reduction
- Redevelopment of the former Summit Park complex into a mixed-use, health and human services hub
- Next phase of the Rockland Codes Initiative: the Rental Certification and Registry Initiative
- Economic growth and jobs
- Public assistance Front End Detection - identifying and targeting problems at the application stage
- Continued conservative budgeting
Through prudent budgeting, investing in the community's well-being and focusing on improving the County's infrastructure, the Day Administration has laid the groundwork for a healthier, stronger Rockland County. Operational reforms have reduced the County's bi-weekly payroll by several million dollars a year, allowing the administration to cut its inherited deficit by nearly 30% in just two years.
Summit Park Transformation
The Day Administration's vision for the former Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center (Building "A") involves a mixed-use complex that houses county departments, like Personnel, Health and Social Services, along with independent, nonprofit health and human service agencies currently scattered across Rockland County. With the cooperation of the Legislature, the County would locate physical health, behavioral health and human services providers under one roof. Said County Executive Day, "Our proposal to re-think Summit Park will help ensure access to a full spectrum of high-quality programs and providers for all of our residents, including our most vulnerable populations."
Rockland Codes Initiative "Phase Two" - The Rental Certification and Registry Initiative
The new effort requires that every property in the County, at which there are more than three renters, must register with the Rockland County Department of Health in order to be allowed to offer those units for rent. The applicant must verify that the premises comply with all laws or regulations that ensure the health and safety of the occupants and first responders, as a condition of being permitted to rent the premises, while also maintaining the property's safe and sanitary condition in the future. Failure to obey the requirements of the regulation may lead to significant fines. "For the sake of our residents, who are tenants, and first responders, the County is supporting their dignity and taking up the gauntlet against landlords just don't give a damn," said Day.
Economic Growth and Jobs
Working closely with strong partners like the Rockland Economic Development Corporation, the Rockland County Industrial Development Agency and the Rockland Business Association, the Day Administration's economic strategy is creating jobs and opportunities for residents across the county. The fact that unemployment is at its lowest December level since 2006 is a good sign the County's efforts are paying off. Said Day, "Last year, we chalked up significant job-creating successes on projects that will positively impact our entire County for decades to come. We anticipate the same in 2016."
Public Assistance Front End Detection
The problem of fraud is becoming increasingly important as the number of local residents who receive some form of assistance from the County grows. Currently, nearly one-third of Rockland's entire population is receiving Medicaid, requiring a closer look. To that end, the Rockland County Department of Social Services has made it a priority to target fraud, waste, and abuse of our programs and services. "To date, our Front End Detection System has saved millions in taxpayer dollars - nearly $4 million worth," said the County Executive.
Continued Conservative Budgeting
Under County Executive Day's leadership, Rockland County saw its credit rating increased by both Moody's and Standard and Poor's, which will lead to lower borrowing costs in the future. The County also recently finished successful negotiations with the CSEA and RAM labor unions, working out contracts that reward the workers for their service without breaking the backs of the taxpayers.
"We need to work together to continue to build on the foundation before us," said Day. "When we work together, we can make this an even better community to live, work and raise a family."
Day discussed the critical need for mandate reform. He said that nine state mandates alone currently consume more than 90% 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."
Day also presented Rockland County's 2016 Distinguished Service Award to County Highway Department equipment operator Peter Power and New York Waterway Captain Mike Baker for saving lives in 2015.