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politics

Day, Legislators Spar Over Veto Of Rockland Budget Amendments

Rockland County Executive Ed Day vetoed the Legislature's amended 2017 budget.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day vetoed the Legislature's amended 2017 budget. Photo Credit: Zac Croce

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- The sale of the Sain Building, among other items, stands between Rockland County Executive Ed Day and the Rockland County Legislature over the passage of the county's 2017 budget.

On Wednesday, Day announced that once the county-owned building is sold for $4.5 million to a waiting buyer, he will be willing to work with the Legislature to amend the 2017 budget.

“As soon as the sale is realized I will work with the Legislature to amend the 2017 budget to reflect that revenue,” Day said.

Day added that he will not, however, allow the $4.5 million to be counted in the budget until the sale is realized.

"This cautious approach is necessary because some in the Legislative majority have been blocking the sale of the Sain Building for 14 months," Day said.

Earlier this week, the proposed buyer, National Development, announced they were looking at other properties to build a senior housing complex because of the delay in the sale from the county.

But Rockland County Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe (D-Montebello) and Budget & Finance Chairman Legislator Michael Grant are blasting Day for failing to approve the budget.

"This unilateral action by the County Executive is just another example of his 'my way or the highway' mentality, that if he doesn't get exactly what he wants, he will not support other options arrived at through discussion and consensus," Wolfe said.

Once the building is sold, Day said he will work with the Legislature to see if the revenue can be used for non-profit agencies that are not currently being funded.

He will also explore the potential of using some revenue from the sale of the Sain Building for other needs, such as funding contract settlements, primarily if back pay is awarded. Revenue from the sale will go primarily toward deficit reduction, Day added.

The Legislature countered that Day's vetoes failed to dedicate a single dollar for deficit reduction - in what they say is a direct contradiction to the state comptroller's recommendation.

The Legislature's amended budget set aside $4 million in adherence to a county law requiring the pay down.

"The amended budget corrected the County Executive's lack of deficit reduction," Grant said. "It also went significantly further by setting aside funding to cover union contract increases that he negotiated but didn't budget for."

Day vetoed all but four of the remaining amendments proposed by the Legislature. Those four amendments involve restoring one position each in the departments of Highway, Consumer Protection, Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney.

“While I respect the Legislature’s input, I cannot in good conscience allow amendments from the Democratic majority, which are funded by phantom revenue, to go forward,” he said. “We have worked too hard to climb out of a fiscal hole to travel down the same road that led this county to a staggering $138 million deficit and near insolvency.”

The Legislature has the ability to override Day's vetoes but needs 12 votes to do so.

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