In an editorial by the Journal News the budget decisions facing the County Legislators have been laid out. But to date all we have seen is Chairman Wolfe bluff, Legislator Hood puff, Sheriff Falco huff while Legislator Schoenberger looks chuffed. However, now it is time for the budget numbers to be crunched.
The Journal News editorial may be summarized as follows:
1) County Executive Ed Day’s budget plan slashes Rockland Sheriff Department staff and nixes funding for nonprofits. Both legislators and residents have expressed anger and dismay. Meanwhile, the state comptroller reports that Rockland is still carrying a $41 million deficit. Tough decisions loom.
2) For 2015, the state will cover the cost of property tax increases for certain state residents, as long as their taxing districts – including county, town, village and school district – respect the state’s property tax cap. The county has hardly toed the state’s 2 percent property tax levy cap: Taxes increased by about 10 percent in 2014, about 18 percent in 2013 and about 30 percent in 2012.
3) The specialized police teams aren’t touched by the county budget layoffs, but civil service regulations would allow some senior officers slated for layoff to “bump” officers who perform those specialized duties. Falco’s bloated brass and his hobby horses need to go. As Day said: “There are too many people, too many bosses, too many specialists and not enough work,”
4) On Thursday, the New York State Comptroller released his review of Rockland’s budget, an extra step mandated by the state law that allowed the county to take out a bond to pay off its deficit. In that document, the comptroller made clear that the $10 million deficit payment was mandatory. He also put the county’s remaining deficit at $41 million.
As the Journal News aptly stated: “The county can ill afford revenue-knitting budgetary tricks of the past. That’s what got the county into a huge deficit hole. Rockland remains the most fiscally stressed in the state, just now clawing its way back to solvency and erasing its near-junk bond rating status.”
The Legislature meets this Tuesday to tackle what is now THEIR budget.
One county legislator has become so passionate that he called Day a liar during a public meeting. As members of the public who will be in attendance might we suggest that the legislators do themselves a favor by NOT mentioning Day’s name during their discussions.
The ‘devil incarnate’ is NOT the County Executive – it is the County Legislature’s continuing DEFICIT SPENDING that is stirring their budget cauldron.
Only the County Legislature can deal with this devil! After all he is a creature of their own creation!