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Gromack Looks For New Partnership With County In 2014

Supervisor Alex Gromack taking the oath of office
Supervisor Alex Gromack taking the oath of office

Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alex Gromack delivered his 2014 State of the Town address on Tuesday night and included hopes for an improved working relationship with Rockland County government.

Gromack, who presented his 10th State of the Town address, said, “For the first time in 20 years we have a new county executive and that provides us with the ability to forge a new partnership with county government, a partnership where villages, town and the county can work together to address mutual concerns rather than working against each other and solving nothing.”

He spoke about the possibility of shared services and consolidation to save money and improve effectiveness.

“We have shown that consolidation of town government saves money and improves services. If Clarkstown can do it, perhaps we can, with the new county executive’s assistance, form an inter-municipal task force that looks at government consolidation of services across municipal lines. It means that some of us may have to give up parochial concerns; but I believe the benefit of consolidation would far outweigh those concerns. Efficiency and savings, what a novel idea. We have done it in Clarkstown; let’s do it together with Rockland County.” 

Gromack said the Hudson River was an under utilized opportunity to bring tourism to the county’s shoreline. He plans to pursue a redistribution of the county sales tax revenue in discussions with County Executive Ed Day. With two regional malls located in Clarkstown, Gromack said, the town provides them with essential services for which it is not equitably reimbursed. He said the anticipated $15 million in sales tax revenue from the Shops At Nanuet and $40 to $50 million from the Palisades Center should be shared in a different way that provides more economic benefit for the town.

He spoke about Clarkstown’s economic growth, revitalization of its hamlet centers, open space program and drainage projects. He talked about the town’s comprehensive plan and its commitment to development that is legal and safe and compatible with the existing community.

“The value of our homes are impacted by the homes that surround us,” he said. “None of us want to see that value reduced as a result of illegal or unrestricted residential development. Laws and regulations do matter in Clarkstown.”

His address was part of the town’s annual reorganization meeting and he was one of several town officials to get sworn in for a new term in office. Councilman George Hoehmann, Councilwoman Stephanie Hausner, Town Clerk Justin Sweet, Town Justice Scott Ugell, Town Justice Craig Johns and Superintendent of Highways Wayne Ballard also took the oath of office.

Editor’s Note:  The complete text of Supervisor Alex Gromack’s State of the Town address can be found in this link. To watch a video of the supervisor's remarks, go here


 

Michael N. Hull January 08, 2014 at 06:27 AM
“The value of our homes are impacted by the homes that surround us,” he said. “None of us want to see that value reduced as a result of illegal or unrestricted residential development. Laws and regulations do matter in Clarkstown.” ----- We also don't want to see that value reduced by having the third highest property taxes in the whole of the United States - property taxes DO matter in Clarkstown ....... "Perhaps we can, with the new county executive’s assistance, form an inter-municipal task force that looks at government consolidation of services across municipal lines. It means that some of us may have to give up parochial concerns; but I believe the benefit of consolidation would far outweigh those concerns." ....... How about starting with consolidation of the County and Town's Highway Departments? The same taxpayers are paying for the County plows being UP on Town roads and the Town plows being UP on County roads. Incidentally, those efficiencies might also extend to the leaves on Bardonia's streets which are still awaiting pick up as we approach mid-January. Perhaps the part-time Constituent Services Representative might drive around Bardonia in the comfort of his Town car and report back to you on the situation?
Todd M January 08, 2014 at 07:49 AM
wait till weed is legal here, goodbye value of our homes
Robert Ward Kurkela January 08, 2014 at 08:00 AM
The leaf pickup this year is still not completed in Clarkstown. Wayne Ballard needs to be held accountable for this. Better yet, consolidate the Town and County Highway Departments as Michael Hull brilliantly stated and send Wayne Ballard packing.
Charles Clewsow January 08, 2014 at 08:32 AM
Michael Hull is correct, AGAIN! The Affordability Index has never been more favorable since in was first conceived and calculated and interest rates are at historic 50 year lows. If it were not for our Region having some of the highest real estate taxes, sales would be through the roof. However if you purchase a home in CLARKSTOWN. with a tax bill of $12,000 it is the equivalent to paying off another $210,000 mortgage. Put another way, if you buy a home for $500,000 with $100,000 down and finance the $400,000 balance over 30 years at 4%, your payments, including real estate taxes, is the equivalent to paying off a mortgage of $610, 000 for A $500,000 home. Housing Expense Ratio: Lenders recommend that your mortgage payment (principal, interest, taxes and mortgage insurance) be less than 28 percent of your monthly gross income.............. http://www.freddiemac.com/homeownership/ready_to_buy/how_much_can_you_afford.html................ $400,000 mortgage at 4% requires monthly payment of $1,910 requiring gross monthly income of $6,820 or $81,840 a year,........... When you add the $1,000 a month for taxes, your total payment is now $2,910 which now requires monthly income of $10,393 or $124,714 a year. In other words, your income has to be 50% higher for you to afford the home you want in Clarkstown............. The jump from $81,840 to $124,714 in Clarkstown is a very big obstacle, one many Buyers cannot afford, which is why we have not seen, nor will we see in the future, any increases in home prices enjoyed by many in the rest of our great Nation.......... This atrocity places the inability of purchasing the American dream directly at the feet of those career politicians in CLARKSTOWN we continue to elect.
Charles Clewsow January 08, 2014 at 08:39 AM
If the County "shares" your tax money with the Town, your taxes will not go down, so just what is his point? Sounds more political than practical.
Don January 08, 2014 at 09:01 AM
From last June - "Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack said he “yearns” for leadership in New City that will bridge the divide between county and town government and he believes wholeheartedly Ilan Schoenberger is the one to provide it."
Mike Hirsch January 08, 2014 at 09:20 AM
Thank you for that reminder Don. Ed Day won Clarkstown by a 2 to 1 margin and has a lot of work to do re the county budget deficit. Now that Ed is in office Alex wants him to give him county money so that Alex can spend more? Not gonna happen. Alex should learn to live within his means.
Charles Clewsow January 08, 2014 at 09:30 AM
Sounds like Clarkstown wants the benefit of tax money without the accountability.
ALW January 08, 2014 at 09:39 AM
"Incidentally, those efficiencies might also extend to the leaves on Bardonia's streets which are still awaiting pick up as we approach mid-January. Perhaps the part-time Constituent Services Representative might drive around Bardonia in the comfort of his Town car and report back to you on the situation?" I just sent in a work order for South Cranford Road in Bardonia. There is a huge pile of leaves (one of several) that has been there for a good long while that just keeps getting hit by the plow or they just go around it. Totally ridiculous.
steve January 08, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Here's some ideas: 1) Combine Highways department Make 1 for Rockland 2) As we have a very well paid Police force, do away with Sheriffs department. Its duplication 3) Get rid of patronage jobs 4) Have an independent review board go over Clarkstowns books. Let them see where the waste and fraud is. If there is nothing to hide then why should Town Board be afraid. 5) Do away with unnecessary overtime, when town workers use this to pad their pensions. 6) Crackdown on illegal useage of property, make the so called religious groups pay their fines or seize the property and sell the land for proper useage. Enough is enough. We all pay for this fraud. 7) Have the town make proper investments 8) Lower property Tax and business taxes to attract busines and for people to live in Rockland and not to be forced out because our politcians can not see the short term. 9) Install Term Limits to stop patronage and corruption. 10) Stop allowing the religious groups grabing land for cash all this leads to is less taxes for Clarkstown and more welfare and more fraud 11) Have proper School board with the interests of Rocklands children, not where 1 group can dictate with their one sided point of view. Remember this is America and there is a separation of State and Church. I cannot come up with many more, this is not rocket Science, its common sense
steve January 08, 2014 at 11:16 AM
Can come up with many more ideas
Hilary Jordan Kunz January 08, 2014 at 02:32 PM
Steve, I agree with many of your suggestions: getting rid of the sheriff's patrol (the Sheriff's dept is still required for the jail), eliminating patronage, reviewing the books, ending illegal property usage, term limits, sound investing, and reducing fraud are all great starts. But I have stated in these forums before; and I will state again, that the idea of giving control of the highway department to the County will be detrimental to the town taxpayers...It may seem like common sense - but in reality, due to the inequality of representation of individual towns on the county Legislature, Clarkstown taxpayers would wind up picking up the tab for the other town's highway services. If you think we have tax fraud and land mis-use in Clarkstown, just wait until we start picking up the tab for Ramapo. Ed Day cannot single handedly over-rule the rest of the legislature (I kinda wish he could! LOL) Knowing who the newly elected Majority Leader & appointed Chairman are, I am pretty sure leaf pick up in Clarkstown would never be a concern... Following your suggestion that we keep our town police force & disband the county sheriff's patrol, we should absorb the county roads into the towns & allow each town to maintain their own roads- no more duplication of services, but each town can control their own resources. The town highway superintendent's would continue to be voted into office by the local constituents. If the services aren't being provided, the voters can voice their displeasure in the next election. Many of these posts about getting rid of the town highway departments are obvious personal attacks against Wayne Ballard, and NOT just frustration at the duplication of services - Attempting to convince voters that a county hwy department would better serve the Clarkstown taxpayer is a self-serving attempt to unseat a Superintendent who was elected by the majority of the voters. If, as a taxpayer you aren't getting the results from your elected officials- run a qualified candidate against the incumbent. I'm not saying we need to agree with all actions of those we elect, I question many decisions. I don't disagree with voicing displeasure with the results of an election, but when personal feelings become the basis for a platform that will negatively affect the entire town, I think its time to re-evaluate what the true agenda is.
Michael N. Hull January 08, 2014 at 03:04 PM
Hilary (and Steve): Your points are well taken. I am watching Cuomo's State of the State speech and he has made a huge point that we have too much government in New York State. You and I can perhaps agree we need to begin a discussion about consolidating many functions in Rockland County. You could well be right that the County Highway department should be eliminated and that the Towns should consolidate services between themselves in whatever way is best. But the discussion must begin and it must be a County-wide discussion. To make this an issue about Ballard or any other single individual is misguided. Consolidation of something like the highway departments or the police departments will take 10 years if not more to plan and implement. By then many of the present police chiefs and highway superintendents will have gone into retirement. Consolidation is about the process that is needed to reduce costs not a means to change election results.

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