The absentee ballots for the Spring Valley mayoral race have been counted, and according to the unofficial results that were released by the Rockland County Board of Elections on Thursday Demeza Delhomme remained in the lead with $1,748 to Bernard Charles’ $1,402 votes. After the General Election showed Delhomme as the likely Mayor Elect, Charles conceded the race, though over 900 absentee ballots had yet to be counted. Also counted were absentee ballots for the Clarkstown Highway Superintendent race Republican Wayne Ballard won with $10,695 votes to Dennis Malone’s $10,152. In Orangetown the anticipated results of the Supervisor race are still unknown. Currently Republican Walter Wettje is in the lead, 18 votes ahead of current Democratic Supervisor Andy Stewart. According to Republican Louis Babcock there are 54 disputed ballots that will be counted beginning Monday.
According to Spring Valley Police a 6- year old boy is in critical condition at Westchester Medical Center after he was hit by a pickup truck on Bethune Boulevard at 5:48 Monday night. The boy was crossing the street from the Martin Luther King Multi- Purpose Center to his waiting mother when a truck, described by witnesses as white or gray with a ladder on the back, hit him and drove off. According to police the boy has been placed in a medically induced coma as a result of head injuries. If anyone has any information on the vehicle or the accident call Spring Valley Police Department at 845-356-7400.
Rockland County Legislative Budget and Finance Chairman Michael Grant stated at a Legislature meeting Tuesday that the proposed 2014 budget plan has lines repeated from the 2013 budget plan being considered as revenue. According to Grant 2 million dollars of a 5 million dollar bond was used last year for tax settlements and the remaining 3 million dollars were listed as revenue for 2014, when it should have been listed in reserves for debt, which means the 7 million dollar budget plan is losing 3 million. The proposal also states that 14 million dollars will be received through the county’s residential energy use tax, but the amount is closer to 11 million due to exemptions for residents who use alternate energy sources or receive utilities through other companies besides Orange and Rockland. Grant stated that the county’s auditor recommended that the county set aside 2 million dollars for unpaid taxes, though according to him the money has not been set aside in the budget. The Budget and Finance Committee has been reviewing the proposal since its submission on October 24 and will continue to review it until the Legislature votes on approval December 5.
A six- month long undercover drug investigation by the Rockland County Drug Task Force in Hillburn and Mawhah led to the arrest of twenty-two people, including an ex- Orangetown police officer. Officials stated that the distribution ring was responsible for transporting into Rockland County between 350 and 400 grams of cocaine per week. 45- year old Ennio Munno, of Tappan, resigned from the Orangetown Police Department in 2006 when he was accused of inappropriate sexual contact against a woman while on duty. Munno was charged with four Federal counts of selling and possessing cocaine and conspiracy. According to Rockland County District Attorney, Thomas Zugibe, Munno and the other suspects face charges of selling cocaine and other drugs to the undercover officers. Christopher Goldrick, the director of the drug task force stated that the major suppliers, two brothers from Jersey City and Manhattan, sold $30,000 worth of cocaine to Rockland County per month and authorities identified Peter Bowen of Hillburn as the main distributor of the ring.
On Tuesday voters in the North Rockland School District will decide whether or not to approve a 7.69 million dollar spending proposal for the district. If approved the spending plan would raise taxes by about 1 to 3 dollars a year for fifteen years, though a large part of the money will be granted through state aid. The district would receive 2.6 million dollars from EXCEL, or Expanding our Children’s Education and Learning, and 5.09 million dollars in building aid in the form of a bond to be repaid over the next fifteen years. The proposal includes improvements to health and safety such as replacing roofs, fire alarms, and boiler system as well as electrical upgrades and exterior repairs to all eleven of the district’s buildings. According to Superintendent Ileana Eckert the roofs need repair one way or another and the EXCEL aid is available for a short time and the district should take advantage of the money now. For more information you can visit www.nrcsd.org. Voting is open 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM Tuesday at Haverstraw Elementary School, North Rockland High School extension, and James Farley Elementary School.
150 firefighters from 18 departments have been working to control a fire on Clausland Mountain in Orangeburg since 1:30 Thursday afternoon. Helicopters from Westchester and Westpoint flew in water to drop on the fire, but conditions and trees allowed it to continue spreading. According to Orangeburg Fire Chief Neil Lynady about 30 acres had been burned when officials made the decision to suspend fighting the flames at sunset due to safety conditions on the mountain. Departments monitored the flames through the night to prevent them from spreading further, though they couldn’t lessen the blaze. Lynady stated that the slope of the mountain, harsh terrain, and wind made it difficult for firefighters to contain the flames through the day but no one has been reported injured and no homes or businesses were in danger last night. The department sent out a reverse 911 to residents in the area notifying them of progress and to call authorities if the flames spread to buildings. More volunteers returned early this morning, according to one volunteer 12 departments have set up on the Nyack side of the fire near Tweed Boulevard and will continue to control the flames from there. Residents are urged to avoid the area. All 26 Rockland Departments responded to the fire so far today, with assistance from other counties and reports have come in that the fire is contained. Rockland’s Director of emergency services Gordon Wren stated to WRCR that so far the flames have not reached any homes and the department called in specialized equipment such as brush trucks and 4 wheel drive vehicles. Through pictures received by WRCR from witnesses and residents, smoke and flames appear to be spreading close to Greenbush Road as departments work to contain them. Officials are unsure what initially caused the fire, but according to Orangeburg Assistant Fire Chief Chris Jackson the drought conditions throughout the County and dry leaves on the mountain fueled the flames.
According to the Thruway Authority tolls on the road system and Tappan Zee Bridge will not be raised for 2014. Executive Director of the Thruway Authority, Thomas Madison, stated on Thursday that there will be no need to raise toll charges and a task force will be created by the end of the year to plan for the years following next. The Thruway was granted a 1.6 billion dollar loan by the U.S. Department of Transportation last week and the 35- year repayment will begin five years after the bridge is completed. The Thruway Board also issued 1.6 billion dollars in bonds to go towards repaying the 700 million dollars they originally borrowed for payments to Tappan Zee Constructors, the builder of the 3.9 billion dollar project.
Republican Legislator Ed Day, who was elected as the new County Executive on Tuesday, released a plan to the Legislature on Wednesday to cut elected officials’ salaries by ten percent. According to the plan Day is looking to cut the salaries of all officials, though much of the Legislature stated that there was no immediate need for the measure and felt that Day should put the proposal through the Budget and Finance Committee before the board makes a decision on it. After the meeting Day pulled his proposal and stated that he would work on the language and resubmit it, maybe as a part of the 2014 budget plan. According to Day he wanted to take action as soon as possible because the salary cannot be changed once an elected official starts a new term, which will begin January 1. Currently the yearly salary for the County Executive is $155,087, which would drop to $139,579. As a part of the plan received by the Legislature Wednesday, County Clerk Paul Piperato would be included in the salary cut decision, his current salary of $132,000 a year would be decreased to $118,834 dollars.
After a long day at the polls for voters and a long night waiting for candidates, the results are in for the 2013 General Election. In the most anticipated race for the first new County Executive in Twenty years Republican Ed Day was elected in with 36,542 votes to Democrat David Fried’s 32,311 votes, making it 52% for Day and 46% for Fried. Surrounded by family and supporters at his victory celebration Day stated, “We’re going to return this county to the great county it is, I’m going to expend every ounce of my strength to get there.” Day earlier stated that as Executive he would reduce his salary, which currently pays $155,087 a year, as a part of his plan to reduce spending, form new businesses, and cut pay to reduce the $128,000,000 deficit the county is under. In the town supervisor races all incumbents remain in their positions, except for Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart who trailed just a small 36 votes behind Walter Wettje’s 5,948 votes. In another hotly contested race Republican Wayne Ballard will continue his Sixteen- year position as Clarkstown Highway Superintendent with 9,992 votes to Democrat Dennis Malone’s 9,730. For superintendent of Highways for Haverstraw, Orangetown, and Ramapo the winners are George Wargo, James Dean, and Anthony Sharan. The new mayor of Suffern will be Patricia Abato with 860 votes. For mayor of Spring Valley Demeza Delhomme won with 1,407 votes. The anticipated proposal that will allow New York State to build privatized casinos passed 34,024 yes to 25,169 no. About the proposal Governor Cuomo stated, “This vote will keep hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year in neighboring states right here in New York, while increasing revenue for local schools, lowering property taxes, and bringing proper regulation to the industry.”
Seven Rockland fire departments were called to a brush fire off of Torne Valley Road in Hillburn that had spread about 85 acres through a forested area Tuesday morning until nightfall. According to Peter Byrne, a deputy coordinator for Rockland Fire and Emergency Services the departments put out about 90 percent of the flames by Tuesday night and New York State Park Rangers stayed through the night to keep the flames down, and will work through today to extinguish any remainder of the fire. The fire was in an isolated area and there were no injuries reported and no damage done to homes. The isolated location also meant that hoses couldn’t reach the blaze, so firefighters used hand tools until the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Westchester County sent over helicopters to assist. The Rockland fire departments received support from Orange and Rockland, whose helicopter helped determine the edges of the fire, as well as support from various New Jersey departments. Fire fighters stated that brush fires are common during the dry season and they were lucky there was no wind, which prevented the fire from spreading faster.