NEW CITY, N.Y. -- Rockland County residents will only receive $1 a month tax increase next year if Rockland County Executive Ed Day's proposed 2017 budget is approved by the legislature.
Day, who said he was keeping his promise to taxpayers by staying within the stringent state tax cap, added that the new budget reduces spending and whittles down the deficit he inherited.
Overall, the $674 million spending plan will result in the $1 a month for most residents. That small increase will be reduced further for two-thirds of Rockland residents in Sewer District No. 1, Day said.
“We have reversed the unsustainable tax-and-spend policies of the past,” Day said. “The budget we are proposing is a solid, fiscally prudent plan that keeps taxes under the tax cap, lowers spending, increases efficiency."
He unveiled the budget to the public during a presentation at the Rockland Community College satellite center in Haverstraw on Friday.
The budget reflects continuing restructuring of county government departments to make them more responsive and efficient, Day said.
Since taking office, some positions have been eliminated while others have been created. On Jan.1, 2017, there will be 1,690 county positions, down from 2,161 -- a 22 percent reduction -- from when he took office in 2014. The 2017 budget calls for a reduction of another 11 positions which will translate into nine layoffs.
Highlights of the 2017 proposed budget include:
- Creation of an Inspector General position, an independent person reporting to the County Attorney. The IG will perform audits and conduct investigations as necessary.
- Hiring a network administrator to beef up cyber security; a veterans burial coordinator to assist the families of veterans; an associate planner to help evaluate proposals before the Planning Board, and three armed guards to make sure public buildings are safe.
- The budget will also phase out services now being provided by the county that duplicate public services available elsewhere including a clinic in the Rockland Department of Health that treats patients with AIDS and HIV. Those patients will be transferred to services that are available at other taxpayer-supported agencies, like federally qualified health care centers in Rockland.
- The county is also ending the petroleum bulk storage program run by the Rockland Department of Health. That function will be taken over by the state Department of Health, which performs petroleum bulk storage inspections for most counties in the state.
- Additional positions will be eliminated in the Department of Community Development as Human Rights Commissioner Dr. Penny Jennings undertakes a complete reorganization.
The 2017 proposed budget will be available on the county's website, Rocklandgov.com . Residents are invited to submit questions about the budget to County Executive Ed Day via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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