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Rockland County Executive Considers Drastic Cuts To Balance Budget

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The seal of Rockland County

The seal of Rockland County

NEW CITY, N.Y. (WCBS 880) - Between the county having a $50 million budget gap, the 2 percent property tax caps, state mandates, decline in state aid, and declining state tax revenue, Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef said the county has a perfect storm of financial issues.

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi With The Bad News

“We have over the last two years [been] trying to keep up the race with the loss of revenues,” says Vanderhoef.

He says he’s now looking to close the budget gap with a multi-year plan that includes cutting programs and raising certain taxes.

“We can do it, but it’s gonna require a lot of sacrifice and what we’re talking about is the dismantling of county government’s important programs,” he tells WCBS 880 reporter Catherine Cioffi.

The Journal News reports the following cuts are being considered to reduce expenses by $4.13 million for 2011.

- Ending the county’s pre-natal program with Nyack Hospital.
– Disbanding the county Sheriff’s Transport Unit in favor of having Sheriff’s patrol officers transport prisoners from the jail to courts.
– Closing the county guidance center for displaced homemakers, which provides career training for seniors and single women.
– Closing a community day treatment program for people with mental illness.
– Closing a Haverstraw mental illness clinic and moving the program to the county’s Pomona campus.
– Closing a home for displaced adults.

Vanderhoef estimated the closures would reduce expenses by $4.13 million for 2011.

Under consideration to save $9.2 million in 2012 are the following cuts.

- Reducing funding for county nonprofit contract agencies by 50 percent.
– Eliminating the Narcotics Task Force and merging its duties with the Sheriff’s Intelligence Unit and Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
– Eliminating the county Cancer and Chronic Illness Prevention Program.
– Eliminating the Mosquito Control Program.
– Cutting funding to the Division of Environmental Resources, which oversees county parks.
– Merging the Department of Social Services, Office for the Aging and Youth Bureau into a Department of Human Services.
– Transferring the county Tourism Department to the Rockland Economic Development Corporation.

Vanderhoef says their options are limited.

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