TIMELINES 5/4/17

Carlucci Bill makes property tax collection more efficient 

Senator David Carlucci (D- Rockland/Westchester) announced in a press release that he passed legislation to help local New York governments receive property tax payments from taxpayer’s bank accounts. This bill will give governments the right to accept payments directly from individual bank accounts similar to the way utilities and bills are often paid for. “Allowing residents to pay property taxes in the same fashion should really not take more than the flip of a switch,” Carlucci said. This should streamline the tax paying process and would be a way to increase efficiency for all both parties, residents and the governments. The payment option will not be mandatory and residents can choose to utilize it.

Legal fees go up in Spring Valley

In recent years the Village of Spring Valley has seen an increase in legal fees. Lawsuits filed by ex-employees and daily fines have contributed to this increase. In 2014 the legal fees amounted to approximately $155,000. In 2016 they rose to $323,500. In our current fiscal year the village has accrued over $400,000 in legal fees. At a recent press conference, Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme said he believes the village’s lack of an attorney contributes to the inefficiency. The last village attorney, whose salary was $87,000, quit in 2015.

Missing Person in Ramapo

On April 28 around 1:15 p.m., the Ramapo Police received a report of a 77-year-old female who was missing from her home in Wesley Hills. The missing person, Valentina Godik, reportedly is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Godik was located around 8:30 p.m. that same day. She was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital for precautionary reasons.

The following agencies assisted with the search and the Ramapo Police Department is very thankful for their help: Rockland County Sheriff’s Department, Westchester County Police Aviation Unit, Tallman Fire Department, Suffern Fire Department, Stony Point Fire Department, Mahwah, NJ Fire Department, Ramapo Valley Ambulance Corp., Chaverim Community Group.

RCC Names New President

Dr. Michael Baston was named the new president of Rockland Community College Wednesday. Baston’s appointment will start July 1. He will be paid $225,000 a year.

“I feel elated to have this opportunity to lead Rockland, one of our nation’s finest community colleges and to join the State University of New York,” said Baston. “You will not find a more dedicated and stellar performing faculty and staff, thoughtful and aspirational student body, and an administration and Board and Trustees committed to student success and furthering the success of Rockland County.”

Baston earned a Bachelor degree in political sciences from Iona College, a juris doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School and an education doctorate in executive leadership from St. John Fisher College. He has served as Vice President of academic and student affairs at LaGuardia Community College and was an associate provost and dean for student affairs and enrollment management. He was also the dean of student development and campus life for the New York campuses of Berkeley College.

“Dr. Baston has precisely the right balance of professional qualifications and strategic vision to lead Rockland Community College into its next chapter,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “I look forward to working with Dr. Baston as we continue to build upon the college’s strong foundation of academic excellence, workforce development and community service.”

Senators warn about NY transit crisis 

An op-ed penned by US congress reps including Sen. Charles Schumer published last month by the New York Times warns New York commuters that the recent Penn Station delays could become an everyday reality. The article explains the infrastructure supporting millions of commuters in and out of Penn Station were built over 100 years ago. Aging and deterioration was exacerbated by Hurricane Sandy. The closure of either tunnel would bring to a halt much of the flow of persons in the Northeast Corridor, from Boston to Washington D.C. If an entire tunnel is shut down, commuters will face delays for over a year.

The authors note the Gateway project underway to build a new tunnel and add tracks to the station needs to be funded, as President Donald Trump has prioritized. The projects costs were to be split by New York, New Jersey and the federal government, but the authors complain that in President Trump’s proposed budget federal transit dollars have been cut.

Uber Goes to Court OverSelf-Driving Tech

Uber Technologies heads to court to fight to continue their self-driving car program. An ongoing court battle over trade secrets threatens Uber’s growth strategy plans. Waymo, Alphabet Inc’s self-driving car unit, accused former Waymo engineer and current Uber executive Anthony Levandowski of taking Waymo’s technical secrets to Uber’s self-driving program. If it is revealed and proven these secrets were taken from Waymo, Uber could face huge consequences as many investors believe the company will dominate the self-driving market. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup could issue an injunction preventing the company from using any allegedly stolen technology, which could shut down Uber’s program. Autonomous cars will change the ride-sharing landscape, especially in rural areas and places with lower car ownership and available drivers.