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(UPDATE) Zebrowski Proposes Financial Rescue Plan For Rockland County

Financial board would oversee budget process, with Rockland required to come up with multi-year budget plans.

, D-New City, says he has a plan that could help Rockland County solve is .

While the plan includes an increase in the county's , it also includes the formation of a task force appointed by the state and the county to monitor Rockland budget and also requiring the county develop a multi-year budget.

Zebrowski said Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he would consider the plan.

Three legislative bills are part of the plan. Zebrowski said one measure would potentially save Rockland $1.3 million in lowering its pension costs and the other two are more preventative measures to prevent a financial crisis  like this from occurring again — including a fiscal indicator system for the county's budget.

Rockland County has a $40 million budget gap. On Thursday, Moody’s Investor’s Service downgraded Rockland County’s bond rating to Baa3 from A3 on  and revised its outlook to negative.

Ron Levine, a spokesman for County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, said that Vanderhoef, County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell, D-West Nyack, and several county Legislative leaders were meeting Friday afternoon to discuss county finances. The said they learned that Zebrowski had crafted legislation to assist the county with its financial shortfall.

Levine said details were not clear on Friday, but that all present were appreciative that another Rockland County state legislator had stepped up the plate to support county government in these tough fiscal times.

Here are the details of the latest proposal to rescue Rockland County:

Rockland County Deficit Reduction Taskforce

Taskforce – 9 Members Board

  • 4 appointed by Governor – of which one is the Chairperson of Taskforce.
  • 1 appointment by Temporary President of Senate.
  • 1 appointment by Speaker of Assembly.
  • 1 appointment by Rockland County Executive.
  • 1 appointment by Chairperson of the Rockland County Legislature.
  • 1 appointment by the State Comptroller.
  • Taskforce recommendations, oversight or monitoring ends in three years and may be extended by vote of the Taskforce
  • All reports and recommendations by the Task Force shall be made public and accessible.

Powers and Duties

  • Require the County to annually prepare and submit a balanced multi-year financial plan.
  • Require the County to review the annual and multi-year budget recommendations of the Taskforce and make adjustments to the annual and multi-year budget for each recommendation. If the County Executive and County Legislature wish to reject any of the submitted recommendations, the County must enact a local law for each individual recommendation that it seeks to reject and must be approved by two-thirds of the County Legislature.
  • Prepare quarterly budget reports and submit such reports to the governing board and chief executive officer of the County, the State Director of the Budget, the State Comptroller, the Chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee and the Taskforce.
  • Submit the County tentative or preliminary budget to the Taskforce no later than 30 days before the budget has to be adopted, for review and recommendations.
  • Review the operations, structure and services of the Summit Park Nursing home and make recommendations for a long term plan.
  • Review the revenue sharing arrangement between the County, Towns and Villages and make a recommendation for long term changes.

Sales Tax

  • Initially authorizes a ¼ of 1% increase in sales tax for three years and must be reviewed every two years thereafter as deemed necessary. The original proposal called for an increase of 3/8 of 1% for a ten year period with no option to discontinue prior.
  • The deficit financing will be backed by an intercept option of state aid or local sales tax by the State Comptroller to ensure proper collateral.

Preventative Measures

  • Creates the Local Government Fiscal Indicator System that will monitor local government finances to determine whether they are experiencing fiscal stress. The legislation provides for appropriate state fiscal intervention depending on the severity of the stress to prevent further economic decline.  This early warning system will prevent situations like Rockland County from occurring in the future.
  • Requires all cities, counties and all towns and villages with annual budgets in excess of $10 million to annually prepare and submit multi-year financial plans to the State Comptroller for review.
Watchdog May 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM
THIS should include the RESIGNATION OF VANDERHOEF AND CORNELL, , the major culprits.
Tom Truth May 12, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Unfortunately, for a long time writers here and on other blogs have threatened to vote out of office politicians who have dug us into a hole. And history has shown that they rarely succeed. Often these politicians get re-elected, many times even running unopposed or against a token candidate. With the advent of several voting blocs, it will be more difficult than ever to unseat a well-financed incumbent. The blocs have voting for their candidate down to a science, while the regular public can't agree on how to vote as a group for what would seem a better candidate. Worse, the major political parties are controlled by a select few, and the choices put out to the public may not reflect the best potential candidates. The business of politics is ugly, and if Rocklander's really want relief they need to look closely at the voting records of our politicians and then find and support candidates to run against those that created the mess. All the names mentioned have tons of financial support, and it will take a concerted effort by many to replace them.
Watchdog May 13, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Tom, the Unions vote along with ther brothers in solidarity, the BLOC. Rockland is DOOMED. There is NO HOPE. Greedy unions, especially the sef serving Police Imions are taking food out of the mouths os Seniors.
Mike Hirsch May 13, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Thank you Tom Truth. In Clarkstown you don't have a Democratic Party and a Republican Party. What you have is an Insider Party made up of career politicians and public employees (who vote for those selected in order to keep their jobs), and the Outsider Party (who generally don't vote and vote uninformed). NY State election law does not help. NY State is one of only a few states in the union that allows a candidate's name to appear on the ballot multiple times. Since the Outsider Party is generally clueless, they vote for their "Party", which ensures that the Insider Party continue to be reelected. The myth that most of us would like to believe is that the Insider Party works for us. The truth is that they work only for themselves and their own jobs and pensions.
Tony T May 13, 2012 at 10:16 AM
The entire Legislature and the Exec should be voted out of office. How can this County one of the richest in the Coutnty, with the 2nd largest mall in the U.S.A be in such bad fiscal shape? Ther is only one way incompetent elected officials and greedy unions!
Anne May 13, 2012 at 10:46 AM
Incompetent people. One case in point: The mental health crisis and outpatient center does not bill properly. If they farmed out their medical billing to a service, they could collect bills as old a a year. The problem is that they don't know how to fill out forms. So they bill the person not their insurance company who can't pay. I went to the original budget hearings and all I heard was "we're not computerized' WHICH IS NONSENSE. The forms filed are kicked back because they weren't filled out correctly. Do this and I'll bet the County could raise close to a million dollars in owed monies. Lazy, incompetent "don't worry my aunt can get you that job" people are the reasons we are in this crisis. There are plenty of people without work, who actually know how to do a job that could end this money crisis immediately. If you check the stats on Rockland County you will be amazed to see how mature and well educated we are supposed to be. Unfortunately, the bottom of the "smarts" barrel arethe people who get hired.
Tyler Durden May 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM
It doesn't matter who you "vote out" or "vote in" anymore. The politicians at every level are controlled by the lobbyists, the connected, and the money. Time to hit the restart button on this whole sad system.
Madeline May 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM
The only plan I see is raising my taxes!!!! and lots more government, no real solution to the problem..
RJ May 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Wait, let me get this straight, the proposed solution to fix Rockland County's financial trouble is to put 9 more people on the payroll, give them salaries, perks & benefits or appoint current government employees & give them even more in salary, perks & benefits. Is that the plan or are these task force positions unpaid?
allan May 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Too much Government is destroying this County. Resignations by Vanderhoef and others should follow.
Watchdog May 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Until the selfish and self serving Police and other Unions stop voting with their Brothers in Solidarity, the Jewish BLOC, Rockland is DOOMED. The police who ate supposed to protect us are forcing Senior Citizens out of their homes or forcing them to take on boarders to pay their taxes as Gromack is doing in Clarkstown, after "negotiating" large two year increases in police salaries. I was told by one police pensioner who receives a six figure pension with ZERO NYS taxes, paid over the years with my taxes, to "MOVE IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD IT. ".
Watchdog May 13, 2012 at 01:03 PM
With the Democrats who got us into this mess still in control, I can envision another over estimation of sales tax income to "solve" the problem.
Lauren May 13, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Anne, where in the world do you get your facts from? I could tell you what is wrong with Mzh billing, but nothing you said is even remotely right. Don't make things up just to make RC employees look bad the problem has, and always will be, the fact that we have to treat all people whether they can pay or not. We do bill electronically, we do have an outside collection agency, etc. the problem is management. Until that changes, nothing changes
Lauren May 13, 2012 at 01:33 PM
So should all finance directors lose their jobs? Don't blame this mess on the hundreds of employees who work hard to change the system and collect money. It is impossible if all managers in RAM do not care. Why aren't they at the table? Why just CSEA? CSEA has abandoned all of summit park. We want givebacks, they don't. Simple as that.
Watchdog May 13, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Why is it that Zebrowskis can so certain this new tax increase will work when there is no mention, not even a guess, of what the expense side is? All I see here is NEW INCREASES IN TAXES?
Watchdog May 13, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Lauren, can you be more specific? Who are the Manageent and what are they doing or not doing?
Guy Gervasi May 13, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Zebrowski's Plan is Wrong for Rockland Zebrowski's plan is wrong for Rockland for three reasons: 1) It stills calls for a sales tax increase, even after the county raised our property taxes by 30%; 2) It keeps our local politicians on the Task Force, the same local politicians that got us in this mess in the first place; and 3) It says nothing about drastically cutting expenses from our bloated county government. Why are we in the nursing home business? The local community college should be run by the state in the SUNY system. Finally, why do we need a the bloated sheriff department? Guy Gervasi Rockland needs no more tax increases, an OUTSIDE fiscal control board and significant reduction in its bloated budget.
Barry S May 13, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Its the same old crap... we'll do a study and then another and then another study.. it's like the recent report of by the Pentagon who is doing a Study to find out why they keep doing so many studies...Perhaps the answer to the study question is - BECAUSE we keep electing spineless a_s wholes who are afraid to make any real decisions!
amazing....and this is what is elected I am wondering do any of the male in office have a "set"???doubtful..they awl do the sidestep shuffle..it is dangerous thses days to stand oneither side of any offical in rockland because you may get your eyes poked out.. MMM raise the sales tax....another idea with a BLINDFOLD"on...psst little zebro.....there is a no sales tax state like a few miles away that sooo many shoppers flock too..I know you just dont get it..Typical mentality we seem to have too much of...listen boys..1.STOP ASAP coming to the Taxpayers for your low brainer solutions..2..Stop coming to the TAXPAYERS for your problems..3..STOP coming to the TAXPAYERS!! when are we going to get "real men " and they start to erase the incredible duplicity we have in rockland...8 or 9 School;superintendents.....too many police departments...too many town overlaps forces..highway etc...this is a"mini county with the lowest bond ratings and ready???town salaries that make the Govenour " look under paid!!!!cops making more than Coumo....Kellly....Bloomberg...this place is a embarrasement.. and the "politicans are begging the Taxpayers..to bail them out..I would love to see the whole county and many towns go Bankrupt!!!that is a very viable solution....
Mike May 13, 2012 at 05:47 PM
DUMB! This is one of the dumbest plans I haver ever read. We elect legislators to govern us and to manage the finances of the County. So in essence this plan says our elected leaders either don't have the skill or the will to do their jobs so lets watch them and manage them with another set of inept politicians. I say NO! I say for once in our lives remember this incompetency on Election day and start to vote them out one by one. What a disgrace.
simple visual everyone...Imagine if rockland was a renter.....or a homeowner having to pay a mortgage..and they couldnt make their rent or mortgage payment???well eventually they are thrown out or forclosed on...Correct??simple comparison....what we have instead ...in every township and county is the the renter and mortgagee going on vacations buying expensive cars...shopping till they drop and in their minds justifying"what me worry?" ignoring the inevitable doom...of they cant pay their bills...I see no problem with laying off 50% of everyonein rockland working for towns and the county..who cares???we the taxpayer are telling you"No Raise" just like every "Real Business Operatives"6 figure pensions are a travesty..because they all knew how to build up their last year ..but hint hint...I bet 3/4 or more of the pensions will blow up in the next 5 to 10 years...just like the county cant learn to swim
S.Diamond May 14, 2012 at 01:23 AM
It's the same old song. Either you make the difference with votes by being more pro-active or roll with it. My contribution to the fiscal crisis is monitoring cell and text activity while driving, running stop signs etc. You're looking at 5 to 10 grand a day easy. This advice is on the house use it.
Watchdog May 14, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Next to impossible even if you are proactive. The County is, always has been and will continue to be controlled by the Unions and the Jewish Bloc vote who vote fr the candidates who control the purse strings and give them everything they want. We do not have a chance. We are DOOMED.
Mike Hirsch May 14, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Maybe so Watchdog, but I for one have no intention of abandoning this fight.
Eric Schatz May 14, 2012 at 03:49 AM
We can't make this about personalities. Obvious in hindsight, the concept of a County Executive governance for Rockland County was an expensive and failed experiment. Time to learn from our mistake, have a plebiscite, and amend the laws. The taxpayers of Rockland just can't financially support so many layers of government. Authority must devolve back to the towns.
Fredie Fender May 16, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Wow, only Anne above has professed some knowledge of something. The rest.... CLUELESS. And learn how to type and/or spell please. Watchdog. Now that's a good one! You couldn't watch yourself in a mirror, never mind the community. LOSER.
Watchdog May 16, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Freddie, washing bedpans is not a good career path. You can do better.
Seth Feldman May 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Stay on them Fredie. Nice job. This guy named 'watchdog' appears to be one of those who have nothing better to do with their lives than blog the local news and politics. As someone who is fully versed in town of Clarkstown and county of Rockland politics and policy, I can attest to the fact that Ken Z's proposed rescue plan is the best of what's available and should stop the bleeding. And at the same time the hospital sale to a private entity can be addressed and hopefully made reality. The tax will be necessary because the chances of the state of NY coming forward with a bailout handout are slim. Sorry, but NO MATTER WHO WAS AT THE HELM, and NO MATTER WHO IS AT THE HELM, this financial situation was unavoidable at the local (county) level and just tossing out the current management will not fix things. Watchdoggie and hirschbag, get some lives please. You waste everyone's time on here.
Watchdog May 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM
So according to "Seth", it does not matter who you vote for, you will get the same result. Unbelievable comment.
Walt May 17, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Unavoidable? Perhaps if the RC legislature supported the cuts that Vanderhoef originally proposed in the last budget or if Vanderhoef showed some guts and stood up to the RC legislature and didn't sign what they sent back to him which raised our taxes 30% and had zero cuts to the budget, we would at least be going in the right direction. This new proposal is GARBAGE. They now want to form (and pay for) a task force to do EXACTLY what they were elected to do in the first place but also raise our sales tax to boot. Talk about throwing good money after bad. So sorry you had to lower yourself into the putrid trenches to comment on this thread, we appreciate it. You can now go back to your fine china and lace curtains and continue to look down your nose at the great unwashed masses that are actually concerned about their tax dollars.

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