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Working Together: The Only Way for All of Us to Survive Here in Rockland

The snowball effect continues ... as does the drain on all of our taxpayers. The time has come for all of us to work together to stem the tide on the increasing cost of living here.




The latest "hit" upon our taxpayers came when our school districts served by the Town of Clarkstown were advised that they will have to assume the cost for collecting school taxes. The town has always been allowed by law to add a processing fee, but facing their own budget shortfalls, now seem compelled to take this action. 

Clarkstown School Assistant Superintendent for Business, Facilities & Fiscal Management John LaNave stated that the effect of this action by the Town will add to the District's planned 2.1 percent tax increase by the equivalent of another percentage point. Translation? Because of the chargeback, that planned, average, annual property tax increase of $160 will now have another $80 added to it.  

This is a prime example of why I and a few others in the County legislature opposed the passing down of costs mid-year such as elections, RCC, etc., from the County to the Towns, as it is merely was transference of costs and absolutely NOT a savings. That action created a budget shortfall for Town governments. In the final analysis, the taxpayer will pay more, just on a different tax bill. 

Now the Town is passing along administrative costs by charging a fee to the schools, and of course the schools will pass that cost along to us on their tax bill. But at some point  does the school district respond to their future budget shortfalls by charging the Town for use of their school facilities by Town programs? The point is that the "town" will not be charged ... you, the citizen using the program will be charged by virtue of an increased fee. And the cost spiral continues.

Bottom line ... when costs are passed along in this manner, the payment is made by the taxpayer either by additional taxes on another tax bill or through added fees.

Look, the county, schools, towns, and villages all must deal with budget demands. The 2% property tax cap adds even more challenges to that. And to continue an approach to these demands in a separate and parochial way is not going to work, something we are all finally seeing now.

To be very clear ... this is not a "fault" issue nor a "finger pointing" exercise. It is an observation in support of what I have maintained since first becoming as legislator. The challenge is clear ... we need to work collectively across ALL levels of government to reduce the ENTIRE cost of living here. Find ways to consolidate and combine responsibilities, not add more charges for them. Government cannot continue to function in a provincial manner because in the final analysis, we will all pay more.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Norman September 01, 2012 at 03:28 AM
What will happen Mr. Day is people will choose and be forced to move to another county or state where they won't get screwed on a regular basis. This 1% "surcharge" is beyond the pale, I am outraged.
Michael N. Hull September 01, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Ed: Cynicism, mine included, is at an all time high.  When the County tries to hand the expenses associated with the "County" roads to the Towns and County Legislator,  Sparaco, is given a 'part-time' job of 25 hours a week at an annual salary of $75,000 in Clarkstown's Highway department, there is a problem. You have spoken out against patronage and specifically made reference to the Tourism department in Rockland County.  Yet today the minority leader in the Legislator who sits just a couple of seats to your right has become the subject of one of the worst condemnations of patronage ever by the Journal News.  http://www.lohud.com/article/20120823/OPINION/308230035/Editorial-Clarkstown-puts-political-clout-before-all-else-hiring-Frank-Sparaco The JN said:  "Patronage is an institution in Clarkstown and it put political clout before all else in the hiring of Sparaco. Besides his GOP role, Sparaco has been a key player in the county’s Independence Party. Highway Superintendent Ballard, like Sparaco, is a Republican. But in Clarkstown, that’s of little matter. The Democratic supervisor, Gromack, has various party leaders in his employ, and election after election, he and Ballard have been cross-endorsed and rarely challenged. Sparaco's appointment keeps alive Clarkstown's penchant for hiring political operatives". You have been very vocal in opposing patronage. Speak now or forever hold your your peace because you risk being tarred with the same cynical brush.
Maryann September 01, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Yes, this is a hit, and it will get passed on to the taxpayers, as usual. However, I am equally disgusted by the County tax on our Orange and Rockland bills which kicks in today. While I agree that something needs to be done, I wish I had the answers. I just know that I'm not sure how much longer my family can afford to absorb these increased "fees", "taxes", or whatever you want to call them. Everything seems to keep going up except our salaries.
John Taggart September 02, 2012 at 07:44 AM
Good luck Mr. Day, but I think its to late. It would be great to reduce property taxes but has that ever been done anywhere? Maybe Fees and surcharges, (hidden taxes) can be worked on but where do you reduce spending? Clarkstown, where I grew up (go rams) and greater Rockland has seemed to gear its self toward the wealthier citizen through high taxes. Lower income people if they stay here wind up crammed in small pockets of the county or rent forever. People haven't been able to live where they grew up in Rockland for a long time. As it is, to a great extent, Orange county is made up of the children of Rockland county. I'm trying very hard to stay, grew up in New City, bought in haverstraw for the affordability of realestate, but the added village tax is pushing me. Why do we have villages taxing us anymore, they don't have cops or schools to fund any more, can that be worked on?
Rockland County Legislator Ed Day September 02, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Thank you all for your observations, though John, I have to admit I am a little partial to the "Go Rams" comment! I tell all here and now that refuse to believe it is too late to get this wonderful county back on track. My stake is that I have two sons who put their Country first and deserve a fair shot to stay here, along with a grandson that I want to coach. Yes, Mike, cynicism abounds for good reason, and the enemy of that is belief. The answers lie within the leadership to establish that belief, and partnerships to implement it. That is what I referenced at the tail end of my blog. As far as the political machinations that go on that cause such consternation, I prefer to point out my clear track record against blatant patronage, backed up by my pledge from the fall of 2005 that if elected I would not re-enter the pension system; not take any free health benefits; and refuse any raise in pay while otherwise employed outside of government. While others may have played the "no pay raise" card at election time, I live that promise all the time. Let those outside my domain be judged for their actions by their employers - the voter!
Maureen September 02, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Surely you don't expect a reply? As you yourself have pointed out republican Sparaco is a protege of Vinny Reda the chairman of the RC republican party. I'm told republican Day plans to run for republican Vanderheof's job which needs republican Vinny Reda's permission. You know the saying that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones and Day won't. But I am interested to see how he avoids your question. Silently, maybe?
John Gromada September 02, 2012 at 11:12 PM
With gas prices rising, and TZ tolls climbing sky high, it is imperative that we get mass transit for our residents so that employment opportunities are within reach. If we don't get transit on the new TZ, Rockland County will soon be indistinguishable from Sullivan County.
Michael N. Hull September 03, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Ed: I join John in thanking you for your response.  You write <<<Let those outside my domain be judged for their actions by their employers - the voter!>>> Therein lies the problem.  The voters' choice is being manipulated by minor parties that don't run their own candidates but seek to offer their support in return for patronage jobs or other favors as I discussed in this article http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/puppet-on-a-string When the majority of the Clarstown Town Board, except George Hoehmann, including the Town Attorney and the Town Clerk attended this meeting http://www.rocklandtimes.com/2012/08/09/house-of-horrors/ the voters are in trouble even though some are trying to change the situation. http://newcity.patch.com/articles/grassroots-republicans-seek-change-in-county-leadership What choice were voters  given by 5 parties in this election ballot to choose a Supervisor? http://www.preserveramapo.org/Community%20View/feiner_politics_in_rockland.htm None!
Mike Hirsch September 03, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Ed, you forgot to mention that you have sponsored a term limit bill for the County Legislature which of course is stalled in committee. You have my vote. I see you as one of the few elected officials who put service above self. Keep up the good work.
Rockland County Legislator Ed Day September 03, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Yes, Mike, thank you for that reminder. Some stuff comes so naturally, I just forget!

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