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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 28, 2016
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications
Office of the County Executive (845) 638-5645

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Rockland County Executive announces plan to provide funding to nonprofits

NEW CITY, NY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day announced today a three-point plan to provide funding without damaging county finances to nonprofits that were not included by the Legislature in the 2017 budget.

"If your checking account is overdrawn, you do not keep writing checks," Day told members of the media and leaders of nonprofit agencies who gathered in the county office mail room. "Rockland County's checking account is still overdrawn. The Legislature wants to keep writing checks."

He outlined a plan that includes him giving up $50,000 to do his first countywide mailing since he took office. That money will instead be put in an account for the nonprofits once the Sain Building is sold.

He challenged members of the Legislature to do the same.

He asked Legislators to put all but $3,400 of their $34,600 budget for 2017 into an account for the nonprofits – the same amount he will retain for postage.

"Let that co-equal branch of government pledge the same amount from its postage budget to fund these nonprofits that they say they care about so much," he said.

Day's 2017 budget provides $16.3 million in funding for nonprofit agencies that serve Rockland. The Legislature did not approve breaking the tax cap for $1.3 million in funding for other nonprofits.

Now the Legislative majority wants to take unspent funds from 2016 and apply to nonprofits in 2017, which could increase the deficit.

Day's plan:

Sell the Sain Building. Rockland has an offer for $4.51 million. That's $510,000 over the appraised value. Once the building is sold, both branches of government can talk about how to allocate those funds.

"I am certainly willing to look at that $510,000 – true surplus – as funding for these nonprofits," Day said.

The bulk of the funds will go toward deficit reduction.

Mailings. On Jan. 2, $50,000 from the County Executive's postage account will be transferred to a special reserve account to assist the community based organizations that the Legislature did not fund.

In Day's first two years in office, he spent $3,810 for postage.

He wanted to do one countywide mailing in four years. The 17 members of the Legislature are each budgeted for two mailing annually.

During that time that that Day spent $3,810, the Legislature spent a total of $54,516.

For 2016-2017, he budgeted $56,000 for mailings. The Legislature budgeted $69,200 for the same period.

Day will retain  $3,400 for postage in 2017.

A challenge: He asked Legislators to put all but $3,400 of their $34,600 mailing budget for 2017 into an account for the nonprofits – the same amount Day will spend.

"After all, we serve the same number of constituents," he said.

Here's the math:

$50,000 from the County Executive's mailings budget
$31,200 from the Legislature's mailing budget
$510,000 from the sale of the Sain Building.

That equals $591,200 for the nonprofits, nearly half of the $1.3 million in funding.

Day also proposed making the nonprofits formal contract agencies with the county.

His long-term goal is to avoid this end of year scramble and enter into contracts with these organizations. That will ensure their funding, take them out of the political arena and set goals and expectations in return for the taxpayer money they are receiving

"I value the work that these organizations do, as much as I value the work done by the nonprofits that will receive $16.3 million in funding in the 2017 budget," he said.

Rockland County is still in deficit. That deficit, which was $138 million when Day took office, is a lot smaller now – $16.3 million.

Any unspent or unanticipated funds or savings needs to go toward paying down the remaining deficit, he said.

"Someone has to be the grown-up in the room and say no, we can't spend money we don't have when we are still in a deficit," he said. "My plan is both better for the taxpayers, the nonprofits and the long-term financial health of Rockland County: Sell the Sain Building."

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