A report on fiscally stressed municipalities issued this week from the NY State Comptroller’s Office rated Rockland County at the same “65.8 percent” budget stress level for Budget Year 2015 as Budget Year 2014. This keeps Rockland on the list of counties facing “significant” fiscal stress.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said there’s some good news not shown in the annual report. Day said, “It is no secret that I inherited a county that was the most fiscally stressed county in the entire state, with a fiscal score of 86.7 percent; a bond rating one step above junk status; and just $42,000 away from default in January 2014. In my first year, we went to being less than a percentage point (65.8 percent) away from coming off the significant stress list completely, a major accomplishment and looked forward to coming off the list completely for this year.
“Unfortunately, and due to financial accounting adjustments related to the closure of the Summit Park Hospital/Nursing Home, we received the same score as the previous year. The Comptroller’s report does not distinguish these one-time adjustments and therefore did not reflect our actual operating results for 2015. I am happy to report that our Finance Commissioner, after contacting the Comptroller’s Office, and making the necessary adjustments for the closure of the Summit Park Hospital/ Nursing Home, determined our revised score should be 56.2 percent. This new score will appear in our next review in 2017.”
Rockland jurisdictions on the list of stressed municipalities this year include the Village of Pomona, “significantly” stressed with a 67.5 percent rating and the Village of New Square, rated “susceptible to fiscal stress” with a rating of 50.8 percent.
Notably, in some cases municipalities avoid appearing on the report altogether by failing to file the necessary paperwork.
The Town of Ramapo, for example, is not on the 2015 list of most stressed municipalities, because it chose instead to go on the much less reported list of “not filed or inconclusive” municipalities.