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Rockland Legislature Awaits 2013 County Budget

County executive expected to propose budget on Tuesday and legislature scheduled to discuss it on Wednesday

 

Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef is expected to announce his proposed 2013 county budget on Tuesday, the day it is due to be submitted to the legislature.  The legislature’s Budget & Finance Committee has already scheduled a discussion on the yet-to-be unveiled spending plan for Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The county has a budget deficit of approximately $96 million. A property tax increase and other revenue generating measures were implemented over the course of the year.

On Friday, Vanderhoef proposed the creation of a Local Development Corporation (LDC) to which the Summit Park Nursing Home & Hospital would be turned over to in preparation for their eventual sale. The two facilities cost the county between $10 and $15 million annually and have lost money for the past several years adding to the county’s financial problems.

In addition to reviewing the proposed 2013 budget, Committee Chair Ilan Schoenberger said he will present a proposed law, “The Deficit Reduction Act of Rockland County” to the legislators. It would require $10 million of every budget go directly into a separate account to create a reserve fund that would be applied to the deficit.  

“I want it to be the first appropriation of a budget,” said Schoenberger.

He said since the state refused to let the county raise $80 million through issuing revenue bonds then the county should take steps to put aside that money.  Schoenberger said the reserve fund could use the same funding source as has had been proposed for the revenue bonds.

Schoenberger said he hoped the money the county could potentially receive from the proposed LDC in anticipation of a sale of Summit Park would be applied to the deficit reduction fund.  The LDC needs county legislative approval. According to Vanderhoef, the LDC could borrow money against the value of the Summit Park facilities once they are transferred.  A consultant’s report on the valuation of Summit Park was expected on Friday.    

The legislature also set a November public hearing date on the 2013 budget.

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