I never would have thought last October when I presented my budget to the Legislature that now, a full year later, we would still be talking about the Sain Building.
But here we are, to my frustration and the detriment of everyone who cares about this county, still talking about the Sain Building.
Now, however, there seems to be a new glimmer of hope that might allow us to move forward to unload this falling apart, county-owned building.
A group of legislators led by the Republican minority have proposed legislation that would allow the county to pass a local law allowing us to sell the building to the one bidder who wants to buy it.
Sounds easy. But not when you look at the history of the Sain Building over the past year. The county-owned Sain Building has been put out to bid twice. Once by my office and once by the Legislature.
The same company put in the sole bid twice. That bid was for $4.51 million – $510,000 more than the appraised value.
A buyer who is well financed and experienced wants to take this dilapidated building that the county doesn’t need any more and demolish it to create much-needed senior housing in New City.
What could go wrong?
Unfortunately, due to the intransigence of the leadership of the Legislative majority, a lot. We can go on for hours about the ridiculousness of this situation. We can also point out that the Legislature approved this year’s budget and included in it $4 million from the sale of the Sain Building.
Many of the same members of the legislative majority that approved the budget with the sale of the Sain Building have been blocking the sale for months.
We hope that we have reached the point where petty politics takes a backseat to real progress for the county and respect for our money.
The Legislature adopted a budget a year ago that depended on $4 million in revenue from the sale of the Sain Building.
As we all know, the Sain Building has not been sold. It doesn’t appear that it will be sold by the end of 2016.
Rockland was on track to have a budget surplus again this year. Imagine how positively the bond rating agencies would have reacted to that. All of Rockland County would have reaped the benefits of lower borrowing fees from a credit rating increase.
But despite our austerity efforts, we likely won’t have a surplus this year because of the failure to sell the Sain Building.
We fervently hope that the Legislature looks out for the best interests of the county and moves forward with this new proposal to pass a county law to sell the Sain Building.
We have a buyer willing to pay us above the appraised value for the building.
Continued delay will chase this buyer away and could cause the county to unload the Sain Building at a fire sale price. Why would we do that to the taxpayers?
I am asking that ALL legislators work together, put our taxpayers first, and move the sale forward without delay.