County Executive Hopeful Releases Parks Plan

Dagan Lacorte proposes a Rockland Parks Conservancy and six point preservation plan


Rockland County Executive hopeful and Suffern Mayor Dagan Lacorte said Wednesday the county’s financial situation impacts its ability to maintain the 3,100-acre park system and steps need to be taken to preserve it. He proposed a six point system for the 28-park system which has a value of $230 million. 

Lacorte's plan included:

  • Form a Parks Conservancy, a permanent endowment for county parks that would raise $1 million in private funds within four years with the county responsible for its administrative costs.
  • Consolidate the Division of Environmental Resources with the planning and transportation departments to create a Department of Environmental Responsibility and Transportation. 
  • Create a nine-member Rockland Parks, Preservation and Environmental Stewardship Commission instead of the current 42 members of four different boards. The boards are the Historical Preservation Board, Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, Environmental Management Council and Parks Commission.
  • Reallocate $100,000 of Parks Department senior management salaries to park maintenance and equipment.
  • Request non-residents using the county park system make voluntary contributions for park maintenance and pay a $2 non-resident parking fee of $2. He set a goal of $25,000 for the first year with the funds going to park maintenance and equipment.
  • Seek sponsors for trail maps and signage to raise revenue.

"Our parks are critical to our suburban way of life.  To make Rockland proud again, we need well maintained and safe parks for hiking, walking dogs and playing with our kids and grandchildren, said Lacorte, a Democrat. “Only a fiscally stable county government can safeguard our natural resources, including our 28 county parks."  

Lacorte criticized officials for spending more on the operation of the county legislature, almost $5.7 million compared to $2 million on the parks system.

He stated a review of 2010 through 2013 budgets showed a 55 percent cut to environmental programs from $51,654 to $23,000 since 2010 and no funds were provided for equipment since 2011. He noted an environmental staff funding reduction of 13 percent since 2010 from $1,856,235 to $1,622,880 and that 25 percent of the department’s budget covers salaries for two employees. Lacorte pointed out the department’s budget equals one-quarter of one percent of the total county budget.

Others seeking the office of county executive include Democrats Legislator Ilan Schoenberger, former Spring Valley Justice David Fried and Vladimir Leon and Republican Legislator Ed Day.


Paul Williams April 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM
The County is banktupt and the Mayor fiddles with the Parks even while the Nursng Home is set to be turned over to the BLOC. We had to borrow from future tax revenues (TAN&RAN) to finance current expenses. Ed Days Zero based budget is a better way to go. Even Lacorte agrees with that when he says "only a fiscally stable government can safeguard our natural resourses including our 28 County parks".
Watchdog April 18, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Paul, where is Lacortes plan for a "fiscally stable government"? I don't see it. He does not seem to have one even though he says he needs a "fiscally stable government"to carry out his plan for the parks. Under Schoenberger and Vanderhoef the County has passed fiscally IRRESPONSIBLE" budgets bordering on fraud and LaCorte was silent. Day spoke out against these phony budgets for years but he was overruled by the Schoenberger gang. Lacorte stayed silent.
Don April 18, 2013 at 02:40 PM
"Department of Environmental Responsibility"...Really? Well what is Lacorte's stance on Patrick Farm development, because that has huge environmental impacts. He was not present at the two DEC hearings, so it must not be a big issue to him. I believe Ed Day is the only candidate who has been very clear on the issue of over-development and its harmful effects to us all. The others aren't going near it because they want bloc support. Lacorte lost all credibility with the texting scandal, and soon after proposed new "campaign rules", so it's hard to take him seriously.
elle April 18, 2013 at 03:00 PM
All Rockland County residents should attend the County Executive Debate this evening at Town Hall in New City at 7:30 to hear what each candidate says about the environmental issues that face this small, but beautiful county that is quickly becoming overdeveloped. Get involved and let your voices be heard!!
Jake Rokeach April 24, 2013 at 12:56 AM
It just rubs me the wrong way that Mayor LaCorte said that there was only $2700 in the capital projects line of the Parks budget. As if any capital projects line item in any department dealing with grounds or maintenance would be that low. Maybe in 1850. It's a shame that Mayor LaCorte has to manipulate numbers to create a straw argument for better parks.


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