County Executive’s Corner: “Stress Free Zone”

By County Executive Day

When we came into office in 2014 Rockland County, was the MOST fiscally stressed local government in New York State. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as competitive as the next guy but this was a designation from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli that we were not proud of.

I said then that we would get off that list and never return. The Comptroller recently released the list for 2018, and we are NOT included. That’s right, this is yet another affirmation that our finances are improving. Inclusion on this list is based on a score made up of assessments of fund balance, cash-on-hand, short-term borrowing, fixed costs and patterns of operating deficits.

When we were the MOST fiscally stressed our score was 86.7%; it has since dropped to 41.7%, an incredible improvement in only a few years. A word of thanks to the Comptroller’s Office; the close partnership we have developed has helped us navigate through this situation.

The New York State Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System provides an early warning of fiscal stress to local governments by examining their financial information and aspects of their external environment; and feedback to local leaders, State officials and taxpayers about fiscal stress conditions to help them prioritize the needs of their community, understand trade-offs and follow through with tough decisions.

The 2017 report showed Rockland to have “Moderate Stress” an improvement from being in the “Significant Stress” category for fiscal year 2016. This year’s list designated 18 municipalities across the state as either Significantly or Moderately stressed. A further 17 municipalities were listed as being “Susceptible to Fiscal Stress.” The fact that so many other municipalities are currently stressed or susceptible to stress shows how remarkable our improvement has been.

Strict budgeting, careful cost-benefit analysis and responsible long-term planning have been the cornerstones of my administration’s policies. And while we have made significant progress, we still have a long way to go until we reach full financial strength. I will continue to make the decisions necessary to keep Rockland County on a strong fiscal track. We will do what we can as we can as I will not spend money we don’t have. We are a fiscal Stress Free Zone and with your continued support I will make sure we stay that way.