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politics

Showdown Between Day And Wolfe Leads To Austerity Measures

Rockland County Executive Ed Day along with Rockland Budget Director Stephen DeGroat said he is implementing a number of austerity measures to help cover a $4 million budget shortfall in connection with the sale of the Sain Building. Photo Credit: Rockland County Government
Chairman of the Rockland County Legislature Alden Wolfe (D-Montebello) said he has not brought the sale of the Sain Building up for a vote because he believes the county needs to look at selling Building A first. Photo Credit: Facebook/Alden H. Wolfe

NEW CITY, N.Y. -- The county executive has accused the chairman of the county legislature of political posturing over the sale of a building.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day said he doesn't have to look far to find the reason why he is announcing a series of emergency financial measures to address a potential $4 million budget shortfall caused by the Legislature's failure to move forward with the sale of the Sain Building.

"We are facing a $4 million hole in our budget, not because of poor planning or economic circumstances beyond our control," Day said in a press release. "We are facing a $4 million deficit because of senseless political posturing."

The main player in the Sain Building drama is Legislature Chairman Alden Wolfe, who Day said refuses to allow the sale to be put up for a vote.

"We cannot even make our case because the chairman refuses to simply place the matter on an agenda," Day said.

In response, Wolfe said a “fiscal emergency” has been manufactured by Day to put political pressure on Legislators to approve the sale of the Sain building to a private developer.

“We have requested information from the County Executive that is germane to the proposed sale of the Sain building and those requests have been unanswered since February,” Wolfe said. “He agreed to give us information and then changed his mind when he decided he wanted to sell the Sain building to a private developer.”

As of June 15, the county is ahead of budgeted revenues by $4.3 million due to strong showings in various revenue categories, but mostly due to solid sales tax revenues, Wolfe said.

“This Administration has gone back on its commitment to provide the Legislature with answers to reasonable questions about the property, which has caused an otherwise unnecessary delay in our deliberative process,” Wolfe said.

To counter the potential $4 million budget hole, Day ordered the following steps effective immediately:

  • Hiring freeze – including all temps and relief positions.
  • Curtailed overtime.
  • Review of all scheduled highway work, with delays or stoppages as appropriate.

Other measures that could be implemented by July 1:

  • Departments will return 20 percent of county vehicles to the fleet garage, with the exception of fully marked law enforcement vehicles.
  • Hours could be cut at all county parks.
  • Review of all consulting contracts, with some stopped as needed, including, among other actions, cancellation of this year's police academy class.
  • Stop payment to community based organizations that receive payments via the legislature without similar, appropriate oversight.

In an effort to force a vote, Day is asking residents to contact their legislators regarding the issue.

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