By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
A few days ago, I had the honor and privilege of addressing more than 300 people attending the 2015 Rockland Economic Development Corporation Annual Awards Luncheon in Suffern. The special event recognized three organizations and two outstanding individuals for making major contributions to improving the economy of Rockland County. These are the entrepreneurs and the risk takers – the people with a dream and the work ethic to achieve it.
My remarks from the dais also included an update on the progress we’ve made in delivering on one of my administration’s three core priorities: economic growth.
Most people agree the main goal of economic development is improving the financial well-being of a community through job creation, job retention, tax base enhancements and quality of life initiatives. That’s a major goal – one that cannot be achieved overnight. Today, I’m pleased to report that we’re moving steadily in the right direction.
In the two years since taking office, we’ve worked hard to dramatically improve Rockland County’s financial standing. We consolidated departments, slashed county spending and proposed realistic county budgets. We’re paying down the deficit and ensuring that near-term decisions measure long-term impacts. We’ve built a platform of responsible growth that will lessen the demands on taxpayers. As a result, we’ve received three credit rating upgrades from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
In short, we’re spending prudently, paying off debt and prioritizing the core functions of government. If Rockland County is to grow even healthier, we must continue to expand and diversify our local employer base.
Working with the REDC, the Rockland County Industrial Development Agency and the Rockland Business Association, my Director of Economic Growth Lucy Redzeposki has been focused on promoting the county, meeting with potential new businesses and seeking to create jobs and tax ratables. Major job growth success stories this year include: Green House Data in Orangeburg; Par Pharmaceutical in Chestnut Ridge; Crystal Run Healthcare in West Nyack; Streit’s Matzos in Orangetown; and, Industrial Realty Group (IRG) at the Pfizer campus in Pearl River. As for Merlin Entertainments and its Legoland project, I’ve been in touch with company developers to urge the consideration of other, more suitable locations in Rockland County.
Make no mistake: increased investment in the county will make government less reliant on the taxpayers. More corporate neighbors will bring a lower tax burden to you and your neighbors. Economic development is a process, not an event. And, our process is well underway and yielding impressive results.
With the new Tappan Zee Bridge growing ever closer to completion, now is the time to make certain “the gateway” to our county is functional and appealing to both residents and businesses alike. The ability to commute to work, and to get around our county easily, are part of our values; part of the reason people want to live here. The New NY Bridge project and the transformative Route 59 redesign are important milestones for Rockland’s economic future.
As your county executive, I pledge to continue partnerships with REDC, IDA and RBA to attract and keep jobs in Rockland County. And, while we prepare for good news from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils next week, we will aggressively pursue new job investments in our towns and villages. Because when small and large business succeeds, we all succeed.