RockCoExec.png

Ed Day, Rockland County Executive


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct. 2, 2017
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications
Office of the County Executive (845) 638-5645
lernerj@co.rockland.ny.us

budgetannounce1.jpg

Rockland County Executive Proposes 2018 County Budget Within Tax Cap, No Layoffs, Non-Profits Funded

NEW CITY, NY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day today unveiled a proposed 2018 budget that stays under the state property tax cap, keeps spending flat, funds not-for-profits and avoids layoffs.

County Executive Day also announced that the $138 million deficit he inherited when he took office nearly four years ago is now down to the single digits.

The County Executive detailed the proposed $684.25 million spending plan at Hi-Tor Animal Care Center in Pomona. To watch the presentation click here.

The proposed budget calls for $1.2 million in capital funds to build a new animal shelter on the county-owned land where Hi-Tor is currently located. The county will take the lead in building this new shelter and counts on the five towns and the Village of Spring Valley to pay their share of the operating costs.

"This budget fulfills the promises I made to turn around our economy and stop the endless tax-and-spend cycle that nearly bankrupted us," he said. "We are under the tax cap and still maintaining a high level of services for Rockland County residents – even our furry and four-legged ones."

The budget calls for a 1.95 percent tax increase, which is lower than the state-mandated property tax cap. For the average Rockland residential property owner, taxes will increase about $2 monthly.

"I can proudly say that this budget continues sweeping reforms of County government without further layoffs and fully funds all services, including non-profits, with real revenue," Day said.

County spending is essentially flat in the new budget even as the county pays off $13.2 million yearly in the deficit bonds, deals with lower state reimbursements and increasing employee health care costs.

Revenues, including sales tax, are estimated conservatively and realistically, he said.

"No smoke and mirrors," Day said. "No one-shot deals to plug up holes."

The budget calls for no layoffs. Vacant positions are eliminated and new and redefined positions are created with a net reduction of 11 positions without layoffs.

The new, redefined positions include:

• 1 full-time County auditor.

• 2 new public health engineers for housing inspections in Department of Health.

• 1 new Clerk of the Works in General Services.

County government will now have a workforce of 1,691 – well below the height of 3,169 people employed in 1990.

"We are a slimmed down, efficient government providing the maximum services at the lowest cost," Day said.

The County Executive also announced that all current non-profit agencies will be funded, including the public benefit contract agencies. An additional 12 of these agencies will have contracts with the County, continuing a process suggested by the state Comptroller and supported by the Day administration. Those agencies include:

• Big Brothers/Big Sisters
• Mental Health Association/CASA
• Mental Health Association/Family Treatment Court
• Cornell Cooperative Extension
• Keep Rockland Beautiful
• Rockland Center for Holocaust Studies
• Hi-Tor Animal Care Center
• Rockland Center for the Arts
• Garnerville Arts Center
• Penguin Players
• Hopper House Art Center
• Historical Society of Rockland

The change means that the agencies with contracts are assured funding and also have a set of goals and expectations for the services they provide.

"In the past, there have been unnecessarily stressful and contentious struggles when it comes to funding public benefit contract agencies," Day said. "No more. We have devised a better way to fund these agencies. Better for the taxpayers, better for these organizations and better for the people they serve."

When he took office four years ago, there was $4.3 million of taxpayer money conveyed by the Legislature to these contract agencies, with no oversight and no procurement process, Day said.

Now, all but $760,530 has been migrated under County departments with oversight, and procurement rules that comply with the requirements of the New York State Comptroller's Office

Representatives from numerous non-profit organizations attended the announcement and expressed gratitude for the funding.

The budget also calls for funds to be set aside for contract negotiations.

The proposed budget will be available on the County website at http://budget.rocklandgov.com

By the Numbers:

• The proposed 2018 budget has a net total of $684.25 million
• Tax increase of 1.95 percent, under the state property tax cap
• Proposed tax increase of $2 monthly or $25 annually
• $1.2 million in funding for a new Hi-Tor Animal Care Center
• $21.3 million in funding for non-profits
• Zero layoffs, 39 new or redefined positions, 50 vacant positions eliminated, net reduction of 11 positions for a total workforce of 1,691.

-->