PRESS RELEASE FROM THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Rockland County Executive Ed Day today used the line item veto provision of Rockland County’s Home Rule Charter to strike 22 of 37 amendments made by the Rockland County Legislature to the Administration’s 2016 Executive Budget.
The vetoes include Legislative amendments that:
- Restore 13 Department of General Services security guard positions currently staffing county properties
- Restore six Department of Finance positions that will have no work/official duties following the closure of Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center on December 31, 2015
County Executive Day proposed a $723 million spending plan for 2016 that included a modest property tax levy increase, which equated to an additional $4 per month for the average Rockland County homeowner. Last week, the Legislature passed a series of amendments establishing a tax increase of 9.86%.
“It is my fiduciary responsibility to veto what I consider the Legislature’s ill-advised amendments,” said County Executive Day. “I simply cannot compromise on those 22 changes.”
Under law, County Executive Day may use a line-item veto on both increases and decreases made by the Legislature. He expressed concern about the restoration of unarmed security positions, which he believes is leaving county buildings under-protected.
Said County Executive Day, “While our existing security personnel provide information and directions, they are ill-equipped to handle today’s violent threats. Now, more than ever, we must harden security at all county facilities. I will not allow some Legislators to play politics with the lives of our employees and visitors. On October 1st, I acted upon my authority to direct Sheriff Falco to handle security at all county facilities, a function which already falls under the responsibilities described by his department.”
Of particular concern, Day said, was the Legislature’s restoration of the six Finance Department positions assigned to Summit Park.
“This move was illogical,” said Day. “The Legislature’s amendments restore positions for which there is no work. According unchallenged parts of the Budget, as of January 1, 2016, we will have an empty nursing home and hospital, and no duties to assign these employees.”
“Our constituents expect us to demonstrate the fiscal discipline necessary to balance our budget and manage county services in the most cost-efficient manner possible,” said the County Executive. “In the days ahead, I remain confident that members of the Legislature will reach across the aisle and work collaboratively with my Administration to achieve that goal of good governance.”
The State Comptroller’s review of the County’s budget for the 2016 fiscal year noted policy matters involving deficit reduction, the proposed sale of the Sain Building in New City and the issue of community college chargebacks to local towns. Regrettably, the Legislature’s method to address these matters, unlike the County Executive’s approach, added to the property tax levy. Additionally, the Legislature’s vote amending and adopting the spending plan on December 3rd is an acknowledgement by the body to complete the sale of the Sain Building.
“Rockland County residents can expect to see recurring savings throughout the years due to the tough decisions made during this year’s budget process,” said Day. “As we approach 2016 and beyond, we will continue to identify areas in which revenue can be enhanced and where expenses can be reduced on a regular basis.”
Day’s vetoes can be overridden by a two-thirds vote (12) of the legislators. The Democrats control the Legislature by a 12-to-5 margin over the Republicans.
County Executive Day’s full veto message can be accessed in PDF format at RocklandGov.com