The New York State Comptroller released a report on Tuesday, which pointed out the pros and cons of Rockland County Executive Ed Day’s proposed 2016 budget. In the report Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli stated that the budget is a reasonable attempt to solve the fiscal issues the county is faced with, though the revenues listed are overly optimistic for the $723 million plan. DiNapoli called the sale of the Summit Park Nursing Home and the Sain Building “one-shot revenues” that likely won’t do enough to bring down the $29.5 million deficit. Ed Day’s office stated that the deficit will be reduced by the minimum of 10% saying, “The County Executive will accomplish this via budgetary practices and running government more efficiently, which has already yielded impressive savings during the first two years of his administration.” The Legislature agrees with the Comptroller’s reports that the budget will do little to keep costs down, the property tax levy will increase by 5% for homeowners. There will be a public forum on November 17 at the Allison Paris County Office Building at 7:00 PM where residents can hear further discussion on the spending plan.
According to results from a special election on Monday night, voters in Monroe have approved the annexation of land to the village of Kyrias Joel. Held for residents living within the 164-acres proposed for annexation who were able to vote yes or no and fifty-two of them came out to cast their vote, with 40 saying yes and 12 saying no. Various municipalities and Orange County have filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court, which is holding up the project, stating that the Hasidic Jewish village did not spend enough time to complete the proper environmental studies. Supporters are saying that the studies were accurate and the project is ready to move forward, though opponents believe the high density housing would have a negative impact on the area.
According to Thruway Authority officials, the opening of the New Tappan Zee Bridge has been delayed. Executive Director of the organization Robert Megna, stated that the first span of the $3.9 billion project was set to open in December 2016, but has now been pushed back to Spring or Summer of 2017. Megan told the Journal News that officials were worried about the changed traffic pattern, with only four lanes open and a sharper turn there would be major delays during rush hour while driver got used to the differences and they should not have to worry about ice and snow on top of that. Megan also announced that there would be no toll increase on the current bridge for next year, and the task force for the new bridge will continue studying toll charges and traffic patterns to determine a cost for the all electronic toll system.
According to an audit filed by O’Connor Davies on the East Ramapo School District budget for this year, there’s over $1 million extra. At Monday night’s board meeting, which was the first for interim Superintendent Deborah Wortham, the company told members that they found $2.4, though $1 million is being used for payments, leaving the district with $1.4 million. Scott Oling, a partner with O’Connor Davies spoke to the board, stating that while the extra money is a good change from last year’s deficit of about $8 million, they are still spending about 99.7% of this year’s budget and the district has yet to implement changes for recommendations made last year regarding bidding on contracts, and the discovery that a former employee who hasn’t worked since 2013 is still authorized to sign checks.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, they will be implementing new security efforts in airports following a Russian Metro Jet crash. Homeland Security announced on Friday that incoming international flights will see an increase in screenings of items through customs, the presence of bomb sniffing dogs, random searches of persons, and hand swabbing, focusing on mainly commercial flights. Though security is already intense for international travelers, after the back box showed the Russian flight went down in Egypt last week was due to an explosion, more screenings will be taking place.
On Thursday Westchester Executive Rob Astorino announced that the county would not be approving a new contract between the Westchester Community College Board of Trustees and employees in the CSEA union. According to Astorino the pay increases of 7% over the first four years proposed in the contract were to high and though the college responded that there would be no need to increase tuition, the executive disagrees. Union officials stated over the weekend that they will be taking legal action, and employees at the college are deserving of the new pay increases due to higher workloads and less staff working there.
The Rockland Police Benevolent Association recently joined multiple other police organizations and supporters in a call to boycott director Quentin Tarantino’s new film “Hateful Eight”, which is set to be released Christmas day. In October Tarantino upset many during a rally against police brutality in New York City, when he said that the killing of an unarmed black man was murder. Phillip Fantasia, the president of the Rockland PBA stated in a press release that the director “used his celebrity to promote a hateful message that unjustly mischaracterized police officers.” Fantasia asked that in support of law enforcement nationwide people don’t go to see the new film as well as future projects. Tarantino stated to the Los Angeles Times that he was misinterpreted, and he does not all cops are murderers. The national boycott asks officers not to provide security, technical advice, or traffic control for any more of the director’s work.
According to a report released by Albany think-tank The Empire Center, if the proposed minimum wage of fifteen dollars an hour is approved it could result in the loss of nearly 200,000 jobs in New York State. By the end of the year the minimum wage for New York is set to increase to $9 an hour and Governor Andrew Cuomo recently approved a $15 wage for fast food workers which will take effect statewide by 2021. Cuomo’s administration is working to get minimum wage for all workers to be approved by 2021 as well, and according to the report released on Thursday the increase would negatively affect residents by forcing businesses to cut jobs. On Wednesday a “Minimum Wage Reality Check” campaign was started by business groups throughout the state to prevent the increase. Supporters of the raise believe that it will create an equal living wage for every worker in New York.
According to police a man was fatally struck by a Metro-North train on Thursday morning. Around 5:30 AM a 30-year old man was found dead on the tracks between the Bronxville and Fleetwood stations in Westchester after he was struck by the Harlem Line train. Officials are investigating the death as an apparent suicide, and have not released the man’s identity yet, as they look into the reasons he may have been on the tracks. The line was delayed for about a half-hour until around 10:00 AM.
According to Ramapo Building Inspector Tony Mallia, who spoke with the Journal News about a house fire in Pomona on Wednesday, the owners did not have illegal apartments in the basement. Mallia stated that following the investigation into the suspected violations officials found that the basement apartment and five bedrooms in the two story home were up to code and despite facing violations two years ago, the owners paid a fine and corrected the issues. Five family members were living in the home along with two individuals that were legally renting rooms. The building was deemed uninhabitable and only one person was home at the time of the 3:00 PM fire but they were not injured.