County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef on Wednesday vetoed most of the amendments that the Legislature made to his proposed budget. Vanderhoef did not veto the Legislature’s restoration of the Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol and five Patrol officers, as well as the Mosquito Control Program of the Rockland County Health Department.
“I share and respect your desire to protect the public health and safety of our residents and hope you will show similar deference to me when it comes to the other changes to the county budget, which I have vetoed. Rockland residents want a smaller, more efficient government that provides essential services during these difficult times,” said Vanderhoef in a veto message delivered to the County Legislature today.
Vanderhoef noted the role the restored employees play in protecting the public health and safety of county residents and said he was very hesitant to eliminate them in his proposed budget. “Since my budget was submitted, Sheriff Louis Falco rose to the occasion and found additional savings in his department by cutting overtime and relief accounts,” he added. Vanderhoef’s vetoes will not change the proposed tax increase.
In October, Vanderhoef submitted a proposed budget that he characterized as being designed to return the county to fiscal stability and improve its bond rating. Rockland County was hit with an additional $33 million in unfunded state-mandated costs for 2013, including $16.7 million in increased pension costs, $5.6 million in increases at the county jail and $2.7 million in Medicaid increases.
In concluding his veto message, Vanderhoef called on the Legislature to join him in focusing on the next important decision facing Rockland. “In order for our county to return to fiscal stability and satisfy the bond rating agencies, we must move ahead with the plan to create a Local Development Corporation to sell the Summit Park Health Care Facility,” he said.
The County Legislature has until December 20 to decide whether to override Vanderhoef’s vetoes. Considering the final vote on the budget was very close, 10-7, it will be an interesting week. Thirteen votes are needed to override Vanderhoef’s vetoes.