CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- After months of taking political swipes at each other over the sale of the Sain Building, Rockland County Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe and Rockland County Executive Ed Day, are finally on the same page, with the legislature voting 16-0 Tuesday, Aug. 2, to approve the solicitation of bids for the sale of the building.
“This is a bipartisan effort to move the process forward in a way that protects Rockland County taxpayers and is in full compliance with the requirements of law,” said Wolfe.
Day said the failure to move forward earlier with the sale has led to severe austerity measures including a hiring freeze, a halt to overtime without approval for all county employees, and the requirement that 20 percent of county-owned cars be turned, because of a shortfall in the budget from the lack of a sale.
"Now, after 10 months, the Legislature has finally moved on the well-delayed plan to unload the crumbling Sain Building. My administration months ago issued a request for proposals and got a bid for $4.51 million – more than the asking price – to sell this unneeded building that is falling apart," Day said. "The legislature, for reasons known only to itself, rejected that offer and said it wanted to put out its own request for bids to sell the property. It has finally taken the first step by approving Tuesday night specifications for a bid."
The county executive said his office has pledged its cooperation to get this process moving as fast as possible.
The bidding process is open to all who can comply with the requirements of the solicitation, which include the following:
- Minimum bid must be $4.51 million
- An environmental review is allowed
- A non-collusion affidavit must be submitted
- Financial disclosure of political donations must be made
- Affidavit of financial capability required
A public viewing of the property is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Bids must be submitted by 11 a.m. on Sept. 15.
Wolfe noted that if a bid is awarded by Sept. 23, the closing could happen before the end of the year.
Some members of the legislature had previously taken issue with the fact that at the direction of the administration, and without approval from the legislature, a request for proposals was previously issued by the county Purchasing Department for the sale of the Sain property, with one viable offer for $4.51 million.
In a press release following Tuesday's vote, the legislature said: "Purchasing is only authorized to procure, or buy, products and services. The administration has repeatedly stated that the sales of two other surplus county properties were handled this way."
Legislator Ilan Schoenberger, chair of the board’s Planning and Public Works Committee, noted that in both of those cases, the legislature voted to authorize the sales prior to any sort of a bidding process, which did not happen in this case.
Additionally, he said, state law requirements regarding the required submission of non-collusion affidavits and county law requirements requiring the financial disclosure of political donations were not met. Those issues have now been addressed by the Legislature, he said.
“The bids are sealed and they will be opened at a date and time by the clerk to the Legislature,” Schoenberger said. “The bids will be read off publicly and as far as I’m concerned, whoever is the highest bidder should be awarded the bid as long as they can prove that they have financial ability to actually buy the property.”
Day said he hopes the county receives an offer quickly and completes the sale of the Sain Building by the end of the fiscal year.
"The Legislature’s failure to do so has already created a $4 million budget hole and forced us to take the drastic step of implementing austerity to protect our finances," he added.
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