2013 Budget’s Future Rests With County Executive For Now

Legislature’s revised budget under review, county executive required to act on it by Wednesday


The Rockland County Legislature approved a revised 2013 budget by a 10 to 7 vote on Tuesday evening.  It was forwarded on Wednesday to County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, who has five business days to act on it.  His options are to accept the budget, veto it or veto line items. 

"There's not a lot of dramatic changes,” said Vanderhoef on Wednesday. “We have five days."

The bottom line of the budget remained the same with a total of $736.9 and tax increase of 18.4 percent which is $157 for the average homeowner. The legislature restored the 69 positions, which had been eliminated in Vanderhoef’s original plan and cut overtime in the sheriff’s department.

Vanderhoef commented on the increased tax rate included in the budget.

"It's less than what you pay for Cablevision,” he said. “We are still one of the lowest in New York State. Do I like raising taxes? No. Do I have to pay for state mandates? I do) I (have) got to find the money. I now have to look at the budget and see if it's fair and balanced enough to get us through. The problem with Rockland is that we don't have a surplus."

By next Wednesday, Dec. 12, Vanderhoef must act on the budget.

“Right now it’s in a review stage,” said Ron Levine, county communications director. “Now he’s going to let the process in the (county) charter work.”

Levine said the finance department is evaluating the budget revisions.  Levine said one of Vanderhoef’s major concerns is how the rating agencies will view the budget. The county’s bond rating is one level above junk bond status and its budget deficit is estimated at $96 million.

If Vanderhoef vetoes part or all of the budget, it goes back to the legislature. The legislature's next scheduled meeting is Dec. 18.  It could override a veto or line item vetoes with the votes of at least 12 legislators.  There must be an approved county budget by Dec. 20.

stephany December 06, 2012 at 03:56 PM
"It's less than what you pay for Cablevision,” so, to put another way it is like more than doubling my cable bill since i pay less than $157 but that don't sound too good.
Bradley Jensen December 06, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Mr. Vanderhoef, "It's less than what you pay for Cablevision." - Poor analogy. Whatever way you slice and dice it, the taxes in Rockland, including the *insane* energy tax are way too high here for what you are getting. I see old graffiti painted oil drums used as public garbage cans (in Clarkstown), crap on the roadways. When I compare this to similar Bergen County, NJ areas, it is clear that i'm geting much, much less for my $$ in Rockland. Seriously. The 18% Property Tax hike should be vetoed. Perhaps new luxury car sales should be subject to a Rockland County Energy Tax instead. There are many other ways to bring in new revenue that won't impact everyone at once. Staffing should be a number one priority as there are many town & county jobs that can be still be consolidated and/or eliminated. In these times you need to run lean and mean.
Michael N. Hull December 06, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Holy Cow or should I say Holy Horse - Now the excuse is cablevision! The Legislature, knowing that the County was nearly bankrupt and has a bond rating just above junk status, signed a "contract" with the CSEA that no one would be laid off. Senior citizens will get 1.7% increase in their social security next year. No one mentioned that the 18% tax increase practically wipes out the increase in social security. Mr Vanderhoef, some seniors can't afford cablevision! They are trying to stay in their homes! Veto this budget until the morons at least get rid of the horses. Nothing was cut not even the 'asses' riding the 'horses'. In my book the morality play reads: Senior Citizens first - horses last! You are the guy who didn't 'have time' to get a permanent finance director. http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/we-havent-had-time According to the JN in March: "Rockland County does not have a Finance Director. It is muddling along appointing a temporary one every 6 months. This is giving rise to issues of competence - Vanderhoef said we’re still in a learning curve - we just haven't had time to look.” We just haven't had time to look? But you racked up a $100 million deficit on the learning curve and now you want seniors to take care of the sheriff's horses? They shoot horses, don't they?
Andromachos December 08, 2012 at 03:35 PM
If this county can afford no services (without borrowing or further tax increases) but those mandated by the State then cut everything. Everything but the mandated services. The rest is simply not affordable. If there is something in the bank after the mandates are paid for, then add some services. If not, then too bad for us. Life sucks.


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