Boulders Recap

The fourth and final game in the Boulders and Capitales series was rained out Monday night. The two teams are scheduled to play a double header on August 21. Rockland has a day off and will head to New Jersey for an 11:05 game Wednesday morning against the Jackals, before returning to Provident Bank Park on Thursday.

Hillcrest Elementary Appraiser Pleads Guilty

The appraiser for the East Ramapo School District’s Hillcrest Elementary building pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of second-degree filing a false statement for which he was sentenced to three years probation, repayment of the $3,500 fee the school paid him for the job, a $1,000 fine and he will not be allowed to renew his license in New York for three years. 57-year old Avi Vardi was accused in July 2010 of accepting a bribe for $5,000 from the buyer of Hillcrest Elementary, though in Clarkstown court on Monday Vardi only faced the misdemeanor charge that he did not disclose that he had already been hired by East Ramapo when a New Square School attempted to hire him.

Pearl River Graffiti Could Be Hate Crime

According to Orangetown Police they are currently investigating an incident that took place at a home on North Lincoln Street in Pear River between 11:00 PM on Saturday night and 8:00 AM on Sunday morning. Police stated that the family woke up to find their property and cars covered with an anti-semitic and racist graffiti, and they don’t know who might be behind the potential hate crime. According to Detective Lt. James Brown the police are searching for leads to determine why the family may have been targeted, but this is the first case of racist content in graffiti they have come across. Brown stated that the offenders may be young and neighbors reported their beliefs in the same conclusion, stating that the family doesn’t have problems with anyone and community is not an area where this usually happens. If anyone has information on the crime, call Orangetown Police at 845-359-3700.

Rockland’s Bond Rating Upgraded

On Monday Moody’s Investor Service announced the credit rating for Rockland County has been moved from a Baa3 rating to a Baa2, moving the county from dangerously close to junk status to a positive outlook. Moody’s stated some of the reasons for the upgrade in bond status are the larger tax base, the sale of the Summit Park Hospital, and the state’s involvement in the budget that was conditional with the borrowing of $96.4 million. Legislature Chairman Alden Wolfe stated the recent cuts in employment and spending, as well as increases in taxes are paying off. Moody’s also warned the county in their report to watch finances closely in the event of a delay in the sale of SUmmit Park. According to Rockland’s Finance Commissioner Stephen DeGroat, Rockland is soon to borrow $41 million in general funds for projects and debt, but the county is on the right track to get back to a levelA bond rating. County Executive Ed Day stated the positive rating means cheaper interest rates on future loans as well as great news for the county.

Boulders Recap

The Boulders played the first three games in their series against the Quebec Capitales this weekend. On Friday Rockland won 10-1 and on Saturday they did it again with a score of 5-3. Unfortunately on Sunday the Boulders lost with only 2 runs to the Capitales’ 4. They play their final game tonight at 7:05 in Canada.

Electronic Tolls Set to Start on Tappan Zee Bridge

According to the New York State Thruway Authority they have begun developing completely electronic tolls for the Tappan Zee Bridge, meaning there will be no booths and each car will pay their toll through EZ-Pass or by having the bill sent to them after a photo is taken of their license plate, allowing traffic to maintain the same speed. The Thruway Authority stated that as of now the plan is to begin testing the equipment in August 2015 and the process of installing the booth-free system will cost about $29 million and drivers will use the system, located in South Nyack until the new bridge is completed in 2018, when the tolls will be located on the Westchester County side of the bridge.

PSC Postpones Surcharge Filing Date

According to James Denn, a spokesman for the Public Service Commission the agency is requesting that United Water New York postpone the filing date for a surcharge proposal that would increase the bills by $60 a year and, according to the company, would help them regain $56 million they spent on the proposed desal plant so far. An email from Denn on Friday stated that the PSC would like more time to review the surcharge. The company, who’s spending of the $56 million has been questioned in the past, stated that they agreed to the new date, which will be November 30, and they will not be taking any action on the plant until they are reimbursed for the money they have already spent, despite the PSC’s suggestion they continue their pursuit of permits. Alden Wolfe, Chairman of the Rockland County Legislature, stated that Unite Water spent money before the project was approved and the spending costs should not go to ratepayers.

Boulders Recap

The Boulders won two out of three games against the Trois Riveres Aigles this week, losing the final with a score of 3-2 last night. In the third inning the Aigles scored one run, followed by two in the fourth, giving them a head start with a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the fifth the Boulders scored their first run, scoring their second in the eighth inning, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead. The Boulders travel to Quebec today to play the Capitales in a four-game series starting tonight at 7:05.

Study Shows Payment of County Employees

A recent study done by an Albany think tank, the Empire center, showed that Rockland was in the top five counties in New York with highest paid government employees, spending an average of $61,689 on each county worker. The data was compiled over a couple of years, includes overtime and unused sick days and found that Ramapo employees are the highest paid in the county, topping the list with an average of $72,264 per person a year, with town police officers making $164,847 a year. Clarkstown followed closely in second for New York. Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St.Lawrence stated that the town has attempted to keep labor costs down by controlling the amount of employees, and he believes each worker is paid fairly.

Colton Elementary Sale Finalized

The East Ramapo School District completed their sale of Colton Elementary School to the Bais Malka Congregation and the Hebrew Academy for Special Children, who use the school as Yeshiva. District officials announced on Thursday that the $5.1 million sale was finalized after East Ramapo discussed the sale thoroughly with New York state education officials, and will generate income while freeing the district of liability for the property. The sale was postponed for a year and a half in 2011 when residents claimed the original price of $6.6 million was less than the property is worth. Education Commissioner John King allowed the sale to move forward, and earlier this year a judge ruled the district would deduct $1.5 million in rent credit due to the Yeshiva from the $6.6 million sale, making the final price $5.1 million. The district is hoping to sell Hillcrest Elementary School this year as well, recently authorizing it at a meeting. The building would be sold to long-time tenants Congregation Avir Yakov of New Square for $4.9 million. The previous sale of the property was cancelled when it was discovered the appraiser had accepted a $5,000 bribe from the Yeshiva to undervalue the appraisal on paperwork. If the sale goes through the district would have about $10 million in real estate revenue for the next school year.