By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
What it all comes down to is parking for five legislators.
Yes, that’s what’s standing between a deal that would add $4.51 million to the county’s coffers and an estimated half-million to the town of Clarkstown and its school district.
Our Ramapo Democratic delegation would rather spend your money to demolish the Sain Building and make it into a parking lot.
Or they want to spend your money to rebuild the aging Sain Building so county government can get bigger.
A bigger building for bigger government or more cars for bigger government.
Building just for the sake of building and spending – the edifice complex.
Those are not actions that will lead to a healthy and energized Rockland County.
Using the money from the sale of the Sain Building to pay off our deficit and streamlining our government to make it more efficient are my goals for Rockland County.
The sale will also enable us to more easily fund not-for-profits and give us an option to pay one-time expenses, like back pay negotiated in union contracts, instead of raising taxes..
I don’t want to build for the sake of building or spend your money just for the sake of spending.
The sale of the Sain Building will pave the way to a better future for Rockland.
The parking issue is, as I’ve said before, a red herring.
We have plenty of parking – free parking unlike other local counties like Westchester, where you have to feed meters on the busy downtown streets of White Plains or Bergen County, N.J., where you have to pay $4 if you park for more than an hour.
A study done by a licensed engineering firm confirmed that there is plenty of parking in and around the county offices.
And the study didn’t take into account 34 additional parking spaces that the county retained when it sold the bank building next door to the Sain Building.
And when the bank building was sold in 2012 for $4 million how come we didn’t hear any whining about parking or about a “vision” for the county center?
Again, the excuses offered up by the Ramapo Democratic delegation fall flat.
As does their complaint that we haven’t answered all of their questions about the proposed sale.
My administration has provided the Legislature with reams and reams of documents regarding the sale, the potential buyer, the potential use, parking, traffic, etc. And, to their credit, some legislators have done their homework, read the information and voted to do the right thing. That includes all the Republicans on the two committees and Democrats Michael Grant, Harriet Cornell, Nancy Low-Hogan and Jay Hood.
More than a year after the Legislature approved the 2016 budget that called for the sale of the Sain Building, the sale has not come up for a vote before the full Legislature.
Certain legislators claim that they have not been given information.
To show how transparent we have been, I have posted just some of the most recent documents that have already been provided to the Legislature.
Here it is: http://rocklandgov.com/sain-building-documents/
You can read this information and you can decide if we’ve answered the questions.
Here are some questions that the members of the Ramapo Democratic aren’t asking, at least in public.
Why do we need to keep a building in deteriorating condition?
Under my administration, the county workforce has shrunk from more than 3,000 to 1,690.
Rockland County still owns the complex at the Dr. Robert Yeager Health Center in Pomona.
Crucial county services are located there. It’s in much better shape than the Sain Building and can be more easily adapted to different uses.
It’s not for sale. It will not be for sale.
In fact, we are in the process of moving county workers from the Sain Building into the building that formerly housed the Summit Park nursing home.
Those employees, by the way, won’t be parking at the Sain Building since they won’t be working in the Sain Building.
So if parking isn’t an issue, if the building is in deteriorating condition and is unneeded, why the fight to hold onto it, no matter the cost?
What exactly is the goal of the Ramapo Democrats who have been blocking this sale for more than a year?