Earlier this month I delivered my seventh State of the County Address since taking office in 2014. Gathered with almost 200 people, I spoke to the amazing transformation that has overtaken County Government with the help of our many talented and dedicated team members.
And while we have made significant improvements, we continue to face challenges. I pledged during the Address that we will not stop, nor will we take the easy way out. There is no turning back.
Together we will continue down the path forward that ensures a bright, sustainable and safe future for the next generation of Rockland residents.
When I first ran for County Executive, I made promises.
I promised to right the fiscal ship.
In 2014, we faced a 138-million-dollar deficit.
Today we have a $32.2-million surplus, still below where we need to be, that we will continue to grow until we reach full financial strength.
Back then, we were the most fiscally stressed county in New York and now we have been completely removed from the New York State Comptroller’s fiscal stress list.
I promised to grow our local economy.
During my time in Office, we have brought back $8.4 BILLION in ratables.
These additions will ensure the stability of our tax base for years to come – protecting homeowners from the double-digit tax increases of the past.
I promised to preserve Rockland’s future.
Fighting illegal and dangerous housing through our Center for Codes Investigations “RCI” which has conducted over 26,000 investigations, issued over 32,000 violations and assessed almost $2 million in fines since its inception in 2015.
However, I did not do this alone. It is only together, with the dedication and ideas of our team that we have been able to accomplish so much. And the challenges that still lay ahead may be the greatest we have ever faced.
But I believe. I believe in our promise as a people, as a county.
I need your help; we need your help. Not we as in County Government but we as in all of us, the people of Rockland County. Government alone cannot solve the challenges we face. Your family, friends and neighbors need you. We need you to try harder. To be better. To learn, communicate and reach out in ways we haven’t before. To be kind.
We are all here. All seeking the same things for ourselves and our families. A safe place to live, to grow and to worship. Our task now is to ensure a bright and sustainable future for the next generation. A generation that deserves to grow up without fear of harm or hate. And with understanding and respect for all of their neighbors.
I would like to share with you quote from Mr. Fred Rogers, “Some days, doing ‘the best we can,’ may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect on any front, and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.”
I echo that sentiment to all of you. That is my next promise to all of you; that I will fully exhaust my last ounce of energy in service to you and the County I love.
What happens next is up to all of us. After all, this is our neighborhood.