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.
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“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.
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– 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.