County Executive’s Corner: “Clean Bill of Health”

By County Executive Ed Day

I have more good news to share with you in respect to the 2020 Proposed Budget. The New York State Comptroller’s Office reviewed our $729.9 million spending plan and found that, “the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the proposed budget are reasonable.”

What this means to you and me is that there are no smoke and mirrors in this budget. Despite facing an additional $4.5 million in new state mandates and program costs, which is the equivalent of a 3.5% County property tax increase all on its own, this Budget holds the line on expenses and conservatively estimates future sales tax revenue.

They examined our revenue and spending estimates; made inquiries and reviewed supporting documents; verified and corroborated trend data estimates and they could have made recommendations but DID NOT because this is a solid, responsible budget.

This budget is a win for taxpayers. We are continuing to invest in critical infrastructure improvements, funding new State mandates and providing for the future of Rockland County’s animals. All while we continue to pay down the massive deficit we inherited while staying under the New York State Property Tax Cap, something that most said was impossible without double-digit tax increases every year.

The fact is that the Comptroller recognized that this is a budget that continues Rockland on the path to long-term fiscal health. Because we are not at the end of the road, to establish a healthy budget, we must continue to build our surplus and rebuild our undesignated fund balance. The New York State Comptroller recommends that we have a fund balance of approximately $56 million to be a truly fiscally healthy county.

We will not veer from our conservative budgetary practices and we will keep looking for ways to restructure and modernize your County government so we can more efficiently serve the public.

I fully expect that should the Legislature contemplate any amendments to this budget, that they will precisely mirror these determinations from the Comptroller and include reasonable and prudent revenue and expense projections. We have a clean bill of health and with your help we can keep it that way.