NEW CITY, N.Y. -- The Rockland County Legislature unanimously voted July 5 to seek bids in an effort to sell the county-owned Sain Building at 18 New Hempstead Road in New City.
“This provides county government with a path forward,” Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe said. “By following the legal process, we will be able to obtain the information necessary for us to make an educated and responsible decision in the best interests of the taxpayers of Rockland County.”
Legislator Michael Grant, the Budget and Finance Committee chairman, said the issue was debated at length recently.
“The Budget & Finance Committee considered two options,” Grant said. “One to authorize the bid for the Sain Building, and another to authorize the bid for Building A. The Committee disposed of any consideration for Building A, and reached a bipartisan consensus to move forward with the sale of the Sain Building by authorizing the Clerk to advertise for bids.”
Without direction from the Legislature, a request for proposals was previously issued by the Purchasing Department for the sale of the property, with one viable offer for $4.5 million. Purchasing is only authorized to procure, or buy, products and services.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day responded to the Legislature's vote saying that a deal is already on the table and that the Legislature is making an easy process harder.
"Now, a full nine months after I proposed the sale of the Sain Building as part of this year’s budget, the Rockland County Legislature has finally taken action. A vote at Tuesday’s meeting of the Legislature essentially approved my plan. But with caveats that unnecessarily make the sale harder and endanger Rockland’s financial health," Day said. " The Legislature wants to put out a request for bids for the Sain Building, putting the plan back at square one. The Legislature has done absolutely nothing for nine months. And now it’s the 11th hour and the Legislature is finally taking action. But that action is designed to chase away a legitimate buyer."
Day said the offer is from a well-respected company that is willing and able to write a check for $4.51 million – more than its appraised value – to knock down the dilapidated building.
The company wants to replace it with senior housing – something desperately needed in Rockland -- with the town of Clarkstown having the final say over what it permits to be built on that land, he added.
“There is a legal process when it comes to the disposition of county-owned real property,” Legislator Ilan Schoenberger said. “The purpose is to provide an equal playing field to all potential buyers and to get the highest sale price for the benefit of taxpayers. The sealed bidding process will allow county government to provide that equal opportunity.”
Day says why start all over.
"The Legislature’s failure to move quickly on this sale and insistence on starting again at square one means the sale likely will not be completed by the end of the year. That makes it very likely that we will end the year with a deficit since we won’t have the $4 million that should have been earned through the sale of the building," he said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.