Ed Day, Rockland County Executive
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2016
Contact: Jane Lerner (845) 638-5645
ROCKLAND COUNTY EXECUTIVE ANNOUNCES EMERGENCY FINANCIAL ACTION TO COUNTER LEGISLATIVE STALLING ON SAIN BUILDING
NEW CITY, NY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day today announced a series of emergency financial measures that will be put in place to address a potential $4 million budget shortfall caused by the Legislature's failure to move forward with the sale of the Sain Building.
"We are facing a $4 million hole in our budget, not because of poor planning or economic circumstances beyond our control," Day said as he stood outside the Sain Building on New Hempstead Road. "We are facing a $4 million deficit because of senseless political posturing."
A $4 million deficit equals an approximate 4 percent county property tax increase. As the county's chief budget officer, Day said he has the responsibility to Rockland's taxpayers to make sure that finances are handled appropriately.
"We will make some very painful cuts in programs and services in an attempt to recoup as much of that $4 million shortfall as possible," Day said. "This will be a deficit – and tax increase – created solely by the Legislature."
To counter the potential $4 million budget hole, Day ordered the following steps effective immediately:
• hiring freeze – including all temps and relief positions.
• curtailed overtime – payments will require prior authorization from the county executive
• review of all scheduled highway work, with delays or stoppages as appropriate
• purchasing orders will be cancelled or delayed.
• all mass mailings are suspended
Other measures that could be implemented by July 1:
Departments will return 20 percent of county vehicles to the fleet garage, with the exception of fully marked law enforcement vehicles.
• Hours could be cut at all county parks.
• Review of all consulting contracts, with some stopped as needed, including, among other actions, cancellation of this year's police academy class.
• Contract agencies that have migrated to oversight by county departments under my administration's new rules will be unaffected. But we will be forced to stop payment to other community based organizations that receive payments via the legislature without similar, appropriate oversight.
Day pointed out that he proposed as part of the budget in October – nine months ago – that he wanted to sell the Sain Building to offset the one-tome costs associated with the closure of the Summit Park nursing home to ensure a balanced budget.
The Legislature approved a budget that called for $4 million from the sale of the Sain building. By vote, each legislator affirmed the sale.
But since then, the legislature has refused to move on the sale even though a well-financed, nationally known company responded to a request for proposals and advertisements and offered to pay $4.51 million – $510,000 above the appraised value.
"Now the Legislature, for no lucid reason, is refusing to bring the sale to a vote," Day said. "We cannot even make our case because the chairman refuses to simply place the matter on an agenda."
These cuts are not designed to hurt county residents or county employees, he said.
"Unfortunately, the actions of the Legislature leave me no choice but to take these actions," Day said. ""I will not allow this county to run up another deficit."
All of these cuts and emergency measures can be avoided by immediate action of the Legislature, Day said.
"I urge all county residents to contact their legislators with this simple message: Sell the Sain Building."
(pictured: Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Rockland Budget Director Stephen DeGroat)