County Executive’s Corner: More Parking, More excuses?

 

By Rockland County Executive Ed Day

So now we have 70 more parking spaces at the Allison-Parris County Office building on New Hempstead Road.

Plenty of parking for employees and visitors and people conducting business at the nearby courthouse.

So much parking in fact that I have seen many empty spots at peak work hours.

I have put photos of these empty parking spots on my Facebook page. As we all know, a picture is work a thousand words – even to a Ramapo Legislator.

With parking clearly plentiful, what’s the next excuse our obstructionist Ramapo 5 legislators will come up with to stall a move that will help us erase nearly half of our remaining fiscal deficit and make our county government more efficient for years to come?

I’m talking of course about the Sain building.

This October will mark two years since the Legislature was presented with the 2016 budget that proposed selling this deteriorating, ugly building on a prime piece of real estate in New City.

The legislature approved that budget – therefore giving its de facto approval to selling this building.

A buyer quickly emerged offering $4.51 million — $510,000 over the appraised value – for this knock-down that he wants to turn into much-needed senior housing.

His plan would put the property back on the tax rolls and generate $500,000 in taxes for both the town of Clarkstown and the Clarkstown School District.

Who could argue with such a deal?

Our Ramapo 5 – that’s who.

They didn’t like the bid process, so the Legislature put out its own bid.

Guess what? The same bidder put in the same bid.

Then even more excuses, the latest being parking.

At the urging on the Ramapo 5, we spent $14,000 of your money to do a traffic study. A study that was done in addition to the traffic study submitted by the proposed buyer.

The study confirmed what we had been saying all along – there was enough parking to meet our needs in the Allison-Parris lot even without overflow parking at the Sain building.

We went a step further – we repaved and restriped the Allison-Parris lot and added a row of parking in the back of the lot.

As a result we added 70 spaces. We are working on adding an additional 34 or so spaces on property that the county owns in the old Bank of New York parking lot.

So there you have it – plenty of 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.

We are going ahead moving county departments out of the Sain building into much nicer quarters in Building A in Pomona.

Pretty soon, the Sain building will be empty. We still have a buyer with $4.51 million who wants to buy it.

Almost unbelievably, Alden Wolfe, the former legislative chairman, argued that the county does not “need’’ the $4.51 million from the sale. He accused me of “underestimating sales tax revenue.”

I guess he has forgotten that overestimating sales tax revenue was what earned this county a $138 million deficit.

Does the Ramapo 5 have a plan for this building that will cut our deficit, create tax revenue, provide senior housing and make our county government more efficient?

If they do, it’s news to me.

The deficit that I inherited is now down to $10 million due to my administration’s hard work.

We could cut it down to $6 million and wipe it out entirely if the Ramapo 5 stop with these ridiculous excuses and move forward with the sale of the Sain building.

It’s your money. It’s our county. It’s a shame that some legislators need to be reminded of that.