By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
Two months have passed since I presented my proposed 2017 county budget to the Legislature and the people of Rockland.
I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from Rockland residents, which is heartening since they are the ones paying the tax and it’s their opinion that matters.
Now it’s up to the Legislature, which will vote Dec. 6 on a budget.
My budget kept the tax increase within the state-mandated property tax cap of 1.17 percent. That comes out to about $1 per month, an increase that will be offset by a reduction in sewer taxes for people in Clarkstown, Ramapo and parts of Orangetown.
My proposed budget reduces spending by 3.5 percent. That cut comes a year after I cut spending nearly 6 percent – the largest cut in recent Rockland history.
In two years I have cut spending 9 percent. That is $67 million of your money.
I put a stop to the endless tax-and-spend cycle that was taking more and more of your money by reversing three years of double digit tax increased before I took office.
We have accomplished this savings without compromising services.
The proposed 2017 budget contains more than $16 million for contract agencies that provide important services to the people of Rockland.
These agencies include Meals on Wheels, which will receive $1.8 million, the Mental Health Association, which will get $2.3 million, along with many other organizations that serve our seniors, young people and others.
They include VCS, Venture, Catholic Charities, JCC and the Jewish Federation, People to People, SHARE, Head Start, the Martin Luther King Center, West Street Childcare Learning Center and many more.
We have also improved oversight of how these groups spend your money and set a clear list of performance expectations.
Almost without exception, resident have told me how much they appreciate what we accomplished in this budget.
Here are some reactions to the budget proposal posted on my Facebook page:
- “Thank you Ed Day for making the people first again. God bless you!”
- “Great job Ed! Next step an actual tax rollback.”
- “We thank you for your service and efforts for the people of Rockland County. You have my vote!”
- “Thank you for a job well done. You are a man of your word.”
- “Thanks Ed!! You’re a man of and for the people!!”
I appreciate this feedback because it reminds me who I am working for – you.
We continue to reorganize and streamline county government to make it more responsive to your needs.
We are eliminating redundancies – county programs that provide services that you pay for elsewhere.
My administration has worked with department heads and commissions to abolish some jobs – mostly vacant – and reclassify others.
We will have 11 fewer positons in 2017, resulting in nine layoffs. On Jan.1, 2017, there will be 1,690 county positions, down from 2,161 when I took office in 2014.
That’s a 22 percent reduction since I began reorganizing county government to improve efficiency.
Again, my administration put this budget together at my direction to make your government less costly and more efficient.
Let’s hope our Legislators leave it that way.