Despite making a convincing case for action on the $11 million premium earned on the County’s deficit financing bond, our Legislative Leaders continue to embrace inaction. Deliberate decisions to delay a vote on the resolution will bring devastating consequences, including a quarter of a million in extra borrowing costs heaped on the taxpayers. As a result, the premium is unassigned and essentially “frozen”, thus hurting our fragile financial position even more.
Weeks of talk and indecision in the Legislature has brought us to where if we do not act on this premium now, Rockland County will slide even further into debt, prompting the financial markets to consider further downgrades to our credit rating. And you will pay $250,000 of your hard earned money to boot for that lack of action.
My administration believes our case is clear and compelling. We asked for a certain course of responsible action – apply all the premium proceeds to the deficit. But there are two choices – both technically correct – again with ours highly preferable and supported by nearly every expert we can find.
So here is the issue – Lack of action is NOT a decision. Failure to pick one course of action will result in a $250,000 hit on taxpayers. At this point, I’ll deal with either course of action BUT vacillation at this point is unacceptable … and costly.
Our last chance to avoid this comes at Monday’s County Legislature meeting. I have formally requested of, and again submitted reams of documentation to, the Rockland County Legislative chairman to add this item to the agenda and simply allow for a vote – “up or down” – that will assign or “unfreeze” the money. Without that action, you will pay the price in real dollars for a failure to act.
While some a number of county legislators are supportive of our approach, I urge you to contact your legislator first thing Monday morning – 638-5100 – and demand the same from him or her. Tell them you want a decision made to avoid paying more tax money, and urge them to support applying the proceeds of the premium to pay down the general fund deficit as it demonstrates strict fiscal discipline. This is the best option for the future of Rockland County.