By Legislator Harriet D. Cornell (D-West Nyack)
Rockland County Legislature
The low point for government in Rockland this year occurred when County Executive Day vetoed a tax cut for all Rockland residents, and completely eliminated funding for over 30 Rockland non-profit groups that do incredible and necessary work to help families across the County.
These include agencies that deliver health and social services, protect the environment, and enrich the arts and cultural landscape- organizations such as Cornell Cooperative Extension, Association for the Visually Impaired, and Keep Rockland Beautiful.
During the budget process, the Legislature found a way to help everyone by reworking the County Executive’s proposed budget to include a tax cut and fund our non-profits. Then, just before the holidays, that funding and tax cut was taken away by the County Executive.
Knowing that these agencies are economic engines for the County and deliver vital services for youth, children, adults, and seniors, Legislators would not give up. When all hope seemed lost, the Legislative Majority along with Legislator Doug Jobson (who all worked together to pass the tax cut and restore funding to nonprofits) went back to the drawing board to find the funds to keep these non-profits open for 2017.
We were able to come up with a solution utilizing unexpended 2016 funds that would provide the funding needed by these groups for the first six months of next year, and we passed it at a special meeting of the Legislature on Wednesday. This will give time to assess incoming sales tax revenues to support agency funding for the second half of 2017.
Once again, the funding for these groups is contingent on what the County Executive does next. He can either choose to sign the funding or veto it- as he has in the past. It is imperative that every resident make his or her voice heard by calling the County Executive at 638-5122. Ask him to sign the Legislature’s plan to keep our non-profit organizations open to help our County in 2017!