ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- A day after the Rockland County Legislature released its revisions to the 2017 budget, County Executive Ed Day says their version of the budget is just "smoke and mirrors."
"The Legislature is being dishonest with the taxpayers," Day said. "The budget they came up with goes right back into its habit of smoke-and-mirrors financing that earned Rockland a $138 million deficit."
Day, who added that the Legislature seems not to have learned from its past, "disastrous mistakes," said the budget relies heavily on non-existent revenue including:
- Counting on a $4.5 million sale of the Sain Building for a second year in a row after blocking the transaction for an entire year.
- Double counting $1 million of Social Services revenue.
- Raising the estimated sales tax revenue projection by an additional $1.5 million, in contrast to the assessment of the state Comptroller.
"All of these proposed non-existent revenues are supposed to pay for all the other expenditures in their amendments. These additional expenditures include a fictitious tax decrease," Day added.
The Legislature passed a $705 million budget that for the first time in 11 years provides a modest property tax break for homeowners. It also includes funding for many local non-profit agencies and restores 13 jobs.
In contrast, Day's $704.5 million proposed budget included a 1.2 percent tax-rate increase, or about $13 a year increase for the average taxpayer.
The county executive claims the amendments have potential shortfalls that could translate into an approximate six percent property tax increase for next year.
"Common sense budget says you can’t spend make believe money, which is what the legislature is trying to do right now," Day said. "I will review this budget line-by-line and make financially sound decisions for the taxpayer that will sharply contrast the Legislature’s financially reckless choices."
Once Day receives the revised budget, he has five days to issues any line-item vetoes over contested amendments.
The budget then goes back to county legislators who have until Dec. 20 to override vetoes. The Legislature will meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 to consider any overrides.