Rockland County Exec. Day Outlines Progress Made in Last Two Years
Real Estate In-Depth | February 21, 2016
NEW CITY—In his 2016 State of the County address delivered on Feb. 16, Rockland County Executive Ed Day drove home the progress that has been made since his administration took office when the county was on the brink of financial default.
“Because of our ability to make difficult choices, we have overcome complicated problems with innovative solutions, and our taxpayers have benefited,” said Day. “We all have a stake in the future of our County, and we must work together to realize our potential.”
After outlining a number of accomplishments from his first two years in office, he covered a host of initiatives including the ongoing programs geared at reducing the county’s budget deficit.
He noted that through prudent budgeting, investing in the community’s well-being and focusing on improving the County’s infrastructure, the Day Administration has laid the groundwork for a healthier, stronger Rockland County. Operational reforms have reduced the County’s bi-weekly payroll by several million dollars a year, allowing the administration to cut its inherited deficit by nearly 30% in just two years.
Under County Executive Day’s leadership, Rockland County saw its credit rating increased by both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, which will lead to lower borrowing costs in the future. The county also recently finished successful negotiations with the CSEA and RAM labor unions, working out contracts that reward the workers for their service without breaking the backs of the taxpayers, he noted.
“We need to work together to continue to build on the foundation before us,” said Day. “When we work together, we can make this an even better community to live, work and raise a family.”
He also outlined the county’s vision for the now shuttered former Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center (Building “A”). He said the plan involves a mixed-use complex that houses county departments, such as Personnel, Health and Social Services, along with independent, nonprofit health and human service agencies currently scattered across Rockland County. With the cooperation of the Legislature, the county hopes to locate physical health, behavioral health and human services providers under one roof.
County Executive Day said, “Our proposal to re-think Summit Park will help ensure access to a full spectrum of high-quality programs and providers for all of our residents, including our most vulnerable populations.”
Rockland Codes Initiative ‘Phase Two’
Day discussed the new code effort requires that every property in the county, at which there are more than three renters, must register with the Rockland County Department of Health in order to be allowed to offer those units for rent. The applicant must verify that the premises comply with all laws or regulations that ensure the health and safety of the occupants and first responders, as a condition of being permitted to rent the premises, while also maintaining the property’s safe and sanitary condition in the future. Failure to obey the requirements of the regulation may lead to significant fines. “For the sake of our residents, who are tenants, and first responders, the County is supporting their dignity and taking up the gauntlet against landlords just don’t give a damn,” Day said.
Economic Growth and Jobs
Working closely with strong partners like the Rockland Economic Development Corporation, the Rockland County Industrial Development Agency and the Rockland Business Association, the Day Administration’s economic strategy is creating jobs and opportunities for residents across the county. The fact that unemployment is at its lowest December level since 2006 is a good sign the County’s efforts are paying off.
Public Assistance Front End Detection
The problem of fraud is becoming increasingly important as the number of local residents who receive some form of assistance from the county grows, Day noted. Currently, nearly one-third of Rockland’s entire population is receiving Medicaid, requiring a closer look. To that end, the Rockland County Department of Social Services has made it a priority to target fraud, waste, and abuse of our programs and services.
“To date, our Front End Detection System has saved millions in taxpayer dollars – nearly $4 million worth,” said the County Executive.
Day also discussed the critical need for mandate reform. He said that nine state mandates alone currently consume more than 90% of Rockland County’s tax levy and the situation is expected to be even worse next year. “Albany needs to deliver real mandate relief and deliver it now—otherwise there won’t be any money left to take care of our local services,” the County Executive said.
Photo Caption: Ed Day delivering his 2016 State of the County address.