Rockland County Legislature Playing Majority Monopoly: Taxpayers Don’t Collect $ 4,510,000, Can’t Pass Go and Remain Stranded On Free Parking.
Rockland County Legislature Playing Majority Monopoly:
Taxpayers Don’t Collect $ 4,510,000, Can’t Pass Go and
Remain Stranded On Free Parking.
By County Legislator Lon Hofstein
Republican Minority Leader
As incredulous as it seems, the sale of the dilapidated, unsafe, and obsolete County-owned Sain Building will not be presented for a vote due to the fact that Ramapo Democrats insist on telling Clarkstown residents: “Do as I say and not as I do“. Their continued obstruction to the sale defies any reasonable and logical explanation and has now reached the point of absolute absurdity.
Unfortunately, this ‘game’ being played out in the County Legislature has very real negative effects for taxpayers in both Rockland County and the Town of Clarkstown.
On Tuesday, May 9, 2017 during a meeting of the Budget & Finance Committee, a simple parking study conducted on the proposed sale Sain Building was the subject of HOURS of discussion. The independent, professional engineers who were hired by the administration were relentlessly grilled with such important questions as:
“When were you hired?”
“When determining the number of available parking spots did you take into account the FOUR parking spaces reserved for members of the legislature?”
The engineers stated their study clearly indicates there will be adequate parking available to the public. The parking study was completed and the report came back favorable; however, those whose goal is to block the sale suggested that maybe the study should have taken place over the course of a month.
The question to be asked is were these legislators truly looking for answers or was the goal to delay, delay and delay?
One legislator stated that the financial condition of the county is now not the same as when the sale was first proposed and suggested that there is no longer any urgency to sell the property. Was this legislator present during all the heated budget negotiations over the past few years where we have struggled to reduce debt, control taxes, and fund nonprofits?
These difficult negotiations were necessitated by the reality that Rockland County Government was, and remains, in a precarious state of financial health, mainly caused by the lack of financial restraint and responsibility when a policy of ‘tax and spend’ was the answer to poor fiscal management.
Another legislator discussed a “vision” of what the property could be.
Well, it is nice to have dreams but to expect the citizens of this county to underwrite the cost of the idyllic fantasies of a few legislators by imposing additional taxes is simply outrageous. Again, were these legislators present during all the recent budget negotiations?
The sale of this building is clearly in the best interest of the taxpayers. The process has been dragged out unnecessarily for far too long. This outright obstructionism has continued in spite of all the following:
- Two separate open bidding processes were issued and completed. Both
requests, one for proposal (RFP) and a request for bid (RFB) resulted in ONLY ONE entity submitting a bid to purchase the property.
- The price offered by that bidder exceeded the appraised market value of the property.
- The construction of the proposed senior assisted living facility to be built on the site by the bidder will provide an estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue between the county and the Town of Clarkstown.
- The sale will remove a structure that is nothing more than a useless eyesore to the community.
- Construction of the facility, as well as the new business entity that would begin operations, will provide new employment opportunities to the citizens of this county.
- The new entity will help address the need for additional assisted living housing for our senior citizens.
- Our local stores and restaurants stand to gain business from the influx of new employees, residents, and visitors to the facility.
Yet for some reason, the process continues to be held hostage by a group of legislators who don’t seem to care that many taxpayers in Rockland County are being financially strangled with a tax burden that is forcing people to relocate from this county.
Rather than help ease the real life burden on the taxpayers, these legislators choose to play a game in which no reasonable person can ascertain the objective.
People often excuse these types of antics by saying “It’s just politics”.
Could it be a coincidence that this is an election year and the county executive is seeking re election?
Is it the goal of some members to limit the success of this administration?
When the game of “politics;” is played at the expense of the financial health of the County and and the citizens of Rockland are forced to pay the price it is time to take note of the voting pattern of those elected officials.
The Members of the Republican minority refuse to play these games with the taxpayers future.
[Editor’s Note: The following day Legislator Hofstein, Clarkstown Supervisor Hoehmann, and County Executive Ed called WRCR 1700 AM and discussed the behavior of the five Democrats. Here are links to audio files of their remarks: