The Rockland County Legislature unanimously approved four public hearings for Tuesday, Dec. 4, the same day they will vote on the county’s 2013 budget. The schedule for the public hearings passed at Tuesday night’s meeting. The subjects of the public hearings are a measure to reduce the county’s deficit, a bill to override the two percent tax cap and requests to distribute information to taxpayers about state mandates. County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef proposed a $736.9 million budget for 2013, which would increase county property taxes by 18.4 percent.
Ilan Schoenberger, chair of the legislature’s Budget & Finance Committee, said the Rockland County Deficit Reduction Act would be a way to pay down the deficit.
“It mandates that at least $10 million per year be applied to deficit reduction,” he said. “We have somewhere between an $80 and $90 million deficit.”
That public hearing is set for 6:05 p.m. to be followed at 6:10 p.m. by a public hearing on the county executive’s recommendation to override the two percent cap tax.
The community can comment on the Rockland County Mandate and Taxation Information Act at 6:15 p.m. and on a tax bill insert that would explain state mandates at 6:20 p.m.
Schoenberger said the materials were requested in order to give residents more information about mandates.
“The other two (public hearings) had to do with proposals by the commissioner of finance to enclose information in the tax bills so people understand what the county’s mandated costs are – mandated by the state not funded by the state and therefore required to appropriate money to meet those state mandates.”
The legislature’s vote on the 2013 budget will take place after the public hearings, which are likely to last longer than five minutes each. The Dec. 4th meeting was scheduled to start an hour earlier than the regular start time.
This week the Budget & Finance Committee holds budget review sessions beginning with a 7:30 p.m. meeting tonight on the proposal for creation of a Local Development Corporation, which would have authority to sell the Summit Park Nursing Home & Hospital. On Thursday, the committee meets at 3 p.m. to discuss the budget implications for the Department of General Services, at 6 p.m. for the Highway Department and at 7 p.m. for the Department of Health.
The public hearing on the 2013 budget takes place Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 7:05 p.m.