RC Legislature Amends 2017 County Budget

According to a press releases this morning the Rockland County Legislature voted 11-6 Tuesday to adopt an amended 2017 County Budget that cuts property taxes for the first time since 2007, restores funding for public benefit organizations and sets aside $4 million for deficit reduction, among other actions. The $705 million spending plan cuts property taxes by 0.43 percent next year, a modest decrease that marks an important milestone in the county’s return to good fiscal health. The amended budget restores 31 non-profit Public Benefit Organizations – including Child Care Resources, Keep Rockland Beautiful, the Legal Aid Society, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the NAACP and the Historical Society of Rockland County. The plan also commits to selling the Sain Building with the proceeds of approximately $4.5 million to be used for deficit reduction, as recommended by the Comptroller’s office and also required by County Law. Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe said, “Challenges remain, and will always remain, but we have made changes that have well-prepared us to meet them.” After reviewing the amended budget County Executive Ed Day said in a press release the proposed deductions and additions, “will create new deficits and increase taxes next year. It will set us back substantially.”   He says the Legislature has blocked the sale of the Sain Building for the past year and he doesn’t see any “reason to believe that this opposition to sell the building will just go away.” Day now has five days to review and issue line item vetoes. It will then return to the legislature who must have 12 votes to override each line-item veto by the County Executive. The final budget must be completed by December 20th. The Legislature will meet again 7:00 p.m. on December 19th to consider any overrides. Here is a summary of the Legislature amendments:

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Here is a summary of the adopted budget:

  • Reduces property taxes by 0.43 percent
  • Does NOT bust the tax cap
  • Restores funding to nonprofit Public Benefit Agencies (about $1.3 million)
  • Restores two nurses’ aide jobs at the HIV/AIDS Clinic and four jobs in the Health Department’s Petroleum Bulk Storage Inspector Unit.
  • Sets aside funding to cover contractual obligations not included in County Executive’s proposal (about $724,000), as recommended by the state Comptroller
  •  Sets aside funding for deficit reduction not included in County Executive’s proposal ($4 million, in accordance with County law and as recommended by the Comptroller)
  • Commits to sale of Sain building not included in County Executive’s proposal (estimated revenue is $4.5 million)
  • Commits proceeds from Sain sale to deficit reduction, NOT operations as was budgeted by the County Executive in 2016
  • Conservatively increases estimated sales tax revenues by $1.5 million to $195.5 million, $1 million less than the amount the Commissioner of Finance and outside auditors estimated for 2016
  • Eliminates $1,000 per week increase in funding for postage as called for by the County Executive (cuts $50,000; leaves $$3,400, same as in 2016)
  • Eliminates a combination of 26 new and vacant positions and restores 13 jobs, including 9 layoffs ($920,188)
  • Total budget is about $705 million

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