According to County Executive Ed Day on November 13 the County Finance Department auctioned multiple county owned properties that had failed to pay taxes. Day stated that the auction last week was the first the county has held since 2011 and the sale of the 75 properties brought in $2.5 million owed on the buildings’ taxes, as well as $2.1 million in revenue. In the County Executive’s report he also listed savings of $727,000 managed by the Purchasing Department through a contract with Resolution Energy Group, as well as discussing is budget proposal, which will raise property taxes by two percent, but will cut 111 county-held positions including 37 within the Sheriff’s Office, that has created controversy among supporters of the Department including several town officials, and supporters of Day’s budget.
Spring Valley volunteers responded to a fire on Tenure Avenue on Sunday, after receiving a call that a house was in flames. According to officials volunteers from the Spring Valley, Monsey, and South Spring Valley Departments responded to the home to what they believe was a fire caused by an outdoor barbecue. All residents made it out unharmed, but the house was severely damaged.
The town of Stony Point has been researching a proposal made last year by the company New Planet Energy, which would have built a plant to turn waste to energy through a process known as gasification that would take garbage and produce diesel with it. Recently Supervisor Geoff Finn stated that the application has been resubmitted and could potentially create millions of dollars in revenue for the town, while neighbor Haverstraw Supervisor Howie Philips has continuously expressed his opposition to the plant, which he stated will bring odors and traffic. There will be a meeting on December 11 with the Planning Board, and another between the Town Board and Planning Board on January 8 at 7:00 PM at the Rho Building to discuss the application.
Rockland officials stated last week that a program implemented to detect fraud in the county has saved more than $1.5 million by screening welfare applicants more thoroughly than in the past. Reports from the Journal News and statements made by County executive Ed Day have released information that the Department of Social Services saved money by not paying day care costs, financial assistance, and foodstamp and medical benefits for families who did not meet requirements. In the all, 111 applicants were denied this year and the County’s Special Investigations Unit has regained nearly $300,000 that the DSS overpaid to members of assistance programs.
The New York Lottery handed over a ceremonial check to a lucky woman in Garnerville today at 10:30 AM. The unnamed woman won $2,500,000 from the game $2,500 A Week for Life scratch-off ticket and will be receiving the prize from a representative for the New York Lottery at the Railroad Deli at 146 West Railroad Avenue in Garnerville this morning.
According to sources compiled by the Journal News the environmental group River Keeper and Healthy Schools Network released a report on Thursday registering that over 100 tanks of oil being carried by freight trains more than 30 times a week pass by 101 school locations from Rockland County to Albany. The report shows that the schools are often within a mile of the CSX rail line, which carries oil for companies from the Midwest in cars that have been deemed unsafe for transport by federal officials. Officials such as New York Senator Charles Schumer and County Legislator Harriet Cornell, and local parents are calling for new rules to be put in place to protect students from the highly volatile crude oil. Some safety regulations have been put into place in Rockland including a reduction of the speed limit. Parents are asking that the limit be reduced further in school areas and better evacuation plans be put in place for students.
On Tuesday, hundreds of supporters of the nonprofit groups in Rockland County that are facing cuts in funding, came out to rally against the proposal. The county legislature held a meeting last night at the county office building and before residents and officials appealed to the legislature to rethink passing county executive Ed Day’s proposed 2015 budget, which would cut 111 county held positions as well as the funding for an unknown number of services provided by nonprofit organizations. Many residents spoke out about the danger of getting rid of county funding, and how it would damage communities to reduce services. The 772 million dollar budget would raise property taxes by only two percent; the first time in the past years that they will not be increased by double digits.
The District Attorney’s office arrested a Rockland Community College professor on Tuesday after an investigation into the man led to the discovery that he was stealing money from the college, and the teacher’s union he was the president of. District Attorney Thomas Zugibe stated that the 61-year old Hackensack, New Jersey resident Cliff Garner was arrested on felony charges of second-degree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records, and first degree offering a false instrument. Garner has taught English at the college wince 1989, and was accused of charging three thousand dollars in hotel and personal expenses to the school when he attended study-abroad trips with students to England. The investigation, completed by the District Attorney’s special investigation unit, uncovered that over the last four years, Garner stole 200 thousand dollars from the Rockland Community College Federation of Teachers. The professor was arraigned on Tuesday and held on 50 thousand dollar bail, and faces 15 years in prison.
The fiscal monitor assigned to East Ramapo School District by NEw York Governor Andrew Cuomo, met with the State Board of Regents on Monday. Hank Greenburg, who recently finished his 5-month review of the district, proposed to the board of regents and Education Commissioner John King, that new Legislation be put into place to keep the school district in check, such as more state funding, but not without an overseer who will make sure that money given to a program stays in that program, diversity training, and a better handling of shared finances between private schools and public schools, especially in special education and transportation. The 61-page report also blamed the East Ramapo School Board for bad decisions and Greenburg stated that oversight is needed, using an example that 60-70 percent of board meetings held happens behind closed doors in executive sessions. At Monday’s meeting Greenburg asked the state Legislature and Governor to assign a full-time monitor to begin facing the problems addressed in his report.
The many nonprofit groups in Rockland County that are facing funding cuts with the $772 million budget proposal for 2015 will be holding a rally on Tuesday. The budget would save $6.8 million by cutting 111 countywide positions including 37 within the Sheriff’s Department. Supporters of Sheriff Lou Falco have staged several protests asking the Legislature to rethink the proposal. 33 positions will be cut in the Department of Social Services, laundry, security, and hospital radiology, as well as 41 jobs in departments that have not been announced. Funding cut from nonprofit organizations will save the county $3.3 million, but cut services given to residents. The rally in support of the nonprofits will be held at 6:00 PM just before the 7:00 Legislature meeting at the county office building in New City.