October 1, 2016
To the Honorable Members of the Rockland County Legislature:
In accordance with Section 6.04 of the Rockland County Charter, I respectfully submit the 2017 Proposed Budget for your review and consideration.
It is once again my privilege to present a balanced budget for the County of Rockland. The balancing of the budget always comes as a challenge in an effort to try to meet the needs of the organization and our community in terms of services while also balancing the cost to the community’s taxpayers. This budget maintains a level of service consistent with last year for municipal operations with some limited exceptions and just as important to our taxpayers the County’s property tax levy is consistent with the New York State’s property tax cap.
The 2017 Proposed Budget comes with a very modest County property tax increase of 1.17%, which would equate to nearly a $ 12 per year increase, or $ 1 dollar per month, for the average homeowner. This tax levy increase is the maximum amount permitted based on New York State’s tax cap formula for Rockland.
My office submitted in August the necessary legislation to over-ride the property tax cap. However, the Legislature failed to act upon this request. Therefore, my administration needed to examine and prioritize all non-mandated functions and programs to be funded in the proposed budget. Therefore, since we did not know the Legislature’s intention of exceeding the tax cap, I reluctantly did not propose funding for those specific contract agencies known as 224’s.
For 2017, my administration is proposing the following actions within this budget:
Abolishment of Positions:
Since taking office, my administration continues its efforts to reorganize and redesign government in order to improve departmental operations and improve services to our residents. The 2017 Proposed Budget calls for the elimination 60 positions; a majority of them vacant positions. The budget also has 9 layoffs: 6 in the Department of Health and 3 in Community Development. The 6 layoffs in the Department of Health was based on non-mandated and redundant functions that are currently being performed by New York State. In Community Development the new director is reorganizing the various internal functions in the department. The budget also calls for the creation of 58 positions as part of the overall departmental missions. The overall impact is a net reduction of 11 positions bringing our position count to an unprecedented level of 1,691.5
Transfer of Functions:
Also, this proposed budget calls for transferring the security division’s function and positions from the Department of General Services to the Office of the Sheriff, whose core mission is to patrol county buildings and property. The Sheriff has the expertise to provide a high level of armed security for the visitors to our buildings as well as providing for the overall safety of our County employees. My administration has worked collaboratively with the Sheriff to institute this initiative in this proposed budget.
County government still faces difficult decisions ahead. Our commissioners, department heads and our employees are working diligently to improve operations and the delivery of needed services to our county residents. My administration has and will continue striving to eliminate our deficit fund balance in the upcoming years, and we look forward to further credit upgrades from the ratings agencies. I ask all county residents and legislators to support this 2017 Proposed Budget.
Edwin J. Day
Rockland County Executive