At a demonstration held in front of the Rockland County Office Building in New City, officers from the Sheriff’s Department including Sheriff Lou Falco, and members of the Rockland PBA expressed their opposition to County Executive Ed Day’s proposed budget that would cut 37 patrol officers. The proposal calls for 111 county positions to be cut, saving 6.8 million dollars, while only raising property taxes by 1.67 percent for the average homeowner. Falco stated at the conference, held on Friday afternoon, that cutting patrol officers would risk public safety, especially at a time when the county has seen an increase in drug overdoses and crimes. According to Falco the cuts would be to specialized patrol units, such as mounted, marine, and street patrols. Speakers and officials asked attendees on Friday to write to the County Executive and Legislators opposing to the position cuts.
According to police a 16-year old student reported being followed by two male adults on Wednesday. Orangetown Police stated that the girl was walking from Tappan Zee High School on Bataan Road when she noticed a dark blue van was passing her several times. The passenger of the van, described as heavy set, dressed in a green polo shirt, with dark hair and a mustache in his early 40’s or 50’s, attempted to lure her into the car, calling to her in Spansih. The girl reported to officers that she ran to a nearby store to call the police, who then reported it to local school districts and parents.
County Executive Ed Day released the proposed budget for 2015 on Thursday, presenting major cuts in jobs and funding. The $772 million budget proposal will remove 111 jobs from county payroll, by cutting all 37 positions of the Sheriff’s Department Mounted and Street Patrol, as well as positions within other departments and the outsourcing of 33 jobs currently covered by the county. This will save the county $6.8 million. Day’s budget also proposes to cut funding for various contract agencies and non-profits, which will result in about $3.3 million in savings. Day’s plan is to continue paying off the county’s deficit, using an increase in property taxes of $1.67 per month for the average homeowner, to lower it by $10 million next year. The county has seen double digit tax increases of 10,18, and 30 percent in the last three years and can expect just a two percent increase for 2015. According to Day the budget is not political stating “We are making the tough decisions to thoughtfully reduce the size of this organization while maintaining essential services.” He will be holding public forums to further discuss the budget on October 22 at 7:00 PM at Fieldstone Middle School and November 20 at 7:00 PM at the Suffern Free Library.
On Wednesday morning Ramapo Councilman Daniel Friedman announced that he released the town’s preliminary budget online. Friedman stated on WRCR that the budget contains “basic fourth grade mistakes on the first page”, and serious cost errors and hidden double-digit tax increases. When speaking with News 12 Friedman claimed the new budget, which was yet to be finalized, is full of problems in part because of Supervisor Christopher St.Lawrence’s role in the planning. The FBI is currently investigating the town’s finances after raiding town hall last May and St.Lawrence declined to comment until the budget is finalized. In similar news County Executive Ed Day will be releasing the county budget tonight at 7:00 at the New City Library.
The pair of dogs accused of killing two goats in New City on September 23 are still being held at a private kennel and their owners were seen in court on Wednesday to face charges against them. 83-year old Marie Harrow stated that she woke up at 3:00 one morning last month to find two labs attacking her pet Nigerian dwarf goats in their pen and could not save them from being killed before police to retrieve the dogs. The animals’ owners Jason and Lauren Feldman were charged with violating state laws for dangerous dogs as well as town code for having a dog at large. They appeared in Clarkstown Town Court and Judge Howard Gerber ordered that the case be postponed to allow the Feldmans to obtain a lawyer. They will return to court on November 11, when a judge will decide what to do with dogs.
The Chestnut Ridge woman who is accused of killing her five-year old son by poisoning him with salt was seen in court in White Plains on Wednesday. According to Judge Robert Neary’s ruling the case is ready to move forward to trial after ordering that the evidence against Lacey Spears was obtained legally and can be used in the case. Spears became an interest to police in January, when health care workers at Westchester Medical Center reported that five-year old Garnett Spears died because of high levels of sodium in his system. According to investigators part of their evidence is a feeding bag that Lacey used to help the often sick Garnett receive nutrients through a tube. The bag was brought forward by a neighbor who stated the young mom asked her to dispose of it, and investigators found high levels of sodium inside, leading them to believe that Spears was purposely poisoning her son and may have suffered from Munchausen By Proxy causing those who suffer from it to harm their child for attention. Judge Neary ruled that the trial will begin on October 23.
According to New York City public advocates a Rockland woman was named the worst landlord of the city, due to thousands of violations. The Daily News reported that Robin Shimoff, who allegedly lives in a $1.5 million home in Wesley Hills, is the owner of thirteen buildings which, as of August have received 3,352 violations for not following building and health codes, including faulty appliances, rats, scalding water, lead paint, and collapsing walls. According to New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and development, the number of violations was reduced to 2,490 as of last week and one of the building’s managers Jose Pena, stated to the Daily News that the landlord is working to fix all the problems. According to the Journal News, Shimoff faces $3,500 in penalties for one of the thirteen buildings.
Senator David Carlucci announced a plan at a press conference in Tarrytown on Tuesday that would give residents of Rockland and Westchester Counties a discount for crossing the new Tappan Zee Bridge, stating, “If we can’t afford to cross the bridge it will be devastating to our economy.” In the past year the Senator has made clear his plans for new laws that will fight toll evaders as well. New York state loses about $30 million a year to people who do not pay for passing through tolls. According to Carlucci, he is working with lawmakers in Albany to create a plan, in which residents would receive a $250 tax credit for those who file as a single tax payer and $500 for those who file jointly. The plan will also allow residents of both counties to receive a discount on the toll, which according to speculation, could be as high as $15.
Orangetown Police responded to a call on Monday to an apartment building in Orangeburg after receiving reports of natural gas smells around 10:00 AM. According to police, officers found an 85-year old man in the living room, who was pronounced dead on the arrival of ambulance workers, and his 84-year old wife on the floor unconscious. The woman was taken to Nyack Hospital in critical condition, her current condition and the identity of the couple has not been released yet. Orange and Rockland crews also responded to the address and evacuated residents from the building until 12:30 PM when they found no problems. Company spokesman Mike Donovan stated that the stove burner had been left on and it appears to be an accident, though the police are still investigating.
According to spokeswoman for Tappan Zee Constructors, Carla Julian, the company has started the process of removing part of the current bridge. Julian stated that crews have begun removing 500 feet of the Westchester side of the bridge to make room for the new landing, as well as a colum and footing, and the section can be safely removed without harming the structure. According to officials the column is being removed to make room for the foundation of the new Northbound lanes and the work will be completed by crane at night. The I Lift New York super crane arrived last week and will assist in the dismantling of the current bridge, which project officials stated will mostly take place in 2017.