By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
March 23, 2016
By now you know my administration has taken major steps to restore the Rockland County’s fiscal health. The tough choices we’ve made have changed our downward trajectory. During the past two years, we’ve been successful in building a smarter, leaner, more responsible county government.
As we work each day to cut costs and streamline operations, we’re making it a point to go after our tax debtors. Rockland County relies on property tax revenue to fund public health programs, highway maintenance, fire and emergency response training and many other critical services our residents and business owners depend on. Tax revenue, spent and handled wisely, is key to our quality of life and the future of our county.
As in most counties, cities and towns, tax revenue is Rockland’s largest source of income. Those of you who know me fully understand that I am a law and order-style leader. Tax delinquents must – and will – be held accountable. I will not allow those attempting to fleece the system to force the law abiding people of our county to foot their bills. It’s a matter of fairness and it’s also the law.
Starting this week, we’re moving more aggressively on foreclosures when they become “ripe,” and not delay unnecessarily. We will give no quarter to those developers who routinely use the good graces of the people to delay due tax payments, essentially forcing our citizens to make up the difference. Whether it’s $5 or $500,000, Rockland County counts on that money. The new policy I announced on Tuesday will help to alleviate the financial burden that non-residential tax delinquent properties impose on our taxpayers.
It came as no surprise that our announcement was made at Patrick Farm. This unspoiled, wildlife-rich slice of Ramapo just happens to be the largest non-residential tax delinquent property in Rockland County.
Scenic Development, LLC., the entity which owns the Patrick Farm parcels, owes more than $350,000 of tax debt. This amount is anticipated to rise to over $500,000 when the County receives its 2016 tax transfer from the Town of Ramapo within the next few weeks.
On Monday, we filed to foreclose for unpaid taxes on these parcels and approximately 125 other properties, from Stony Point to Suffern to Sparkill. The total amount due to taxpayers? Approximately $3.3 million. Let me be clear: our Finance Department will continue to make every effort to collect this money.
This week, we sent a clear message to delinquent property owners: my administration will seek out money owed to the County of Rockland with vigor and intent, using new and innovative approaches. As we work every day to restore the County’s fiscal health, we expect this effort to generate much-needed dollars.
Let me take a moment to recognize the thousands of hard-working residents who do pay their property taxes on time. I know it’s not always easy. I appreciate their commitment to our county.
For those property owners who owe back taxes on non-residential properties: if you’ve not made any attempt to satisfy your obligations, we’re coming after you.