Rockland County Legislator Ilan Schoenberger was reading a newspaper last month when he came across an article stating that Gov. Andrew Cuomo could possibly raise state lawmakers’ pay after the November elections.
The New York Post article was published on June 25th, and said the pay hikes would be in place of the per-diem reimbursement system. The article stated the raise would increase the base pay for state legislators from $79,500 a year to a bit more than $100,000. It would cost taxpayers about $4.25 million annually, an amount that could be cut by more than $2 million if the per diem system is eliminated or significantly reduced.
Schoenberger’s response was to put forth a resolution that if the state lawmakers’ salaries go up, all counties in New York should get some more money too. The money for the counties, however, would go to mandate relief for programs forced on counties from the state.
“It sounded like a good idea to me, so I asked the staff to pen a resolution,” Schoenberger said Tuesday night at the Rockland County Legislature Budget & Finance Committee meeting.
The eight members of the committee not only voted to unanimously pass the resolution, but they all wanted to be put down on the resolution as seconding it to put it up for a vote. The only legislator who spoke during the questions portion of the motion was Alden Wolfe, who simply said the resolution is a “great idea.”
According to the resolution, about 75 percent of Rockland’s budget goes to mandated programs.
The committee also discussed and voted on a number of other resolutions Tuesday night:
- The committee voted unanimously to approve a contract with Brega Transport Corp. for the transportation of pre-school and early intervention children with special needs for the Health Department from Sept. 1, 2012 through Aug. 31, 2015 with two remaining one-year options and authorizing its execution by the county executive. The contract is for $13,837,436.62. Of the four bids the county received -- from Brega Transport Corp., Chestnut Ridge Transportation, Inc., Acme Bus Corp. and Student Bus Company, Inc. -- the Brega bid was the lowest by $581,200. The bid will save the county 3.78 percent annually from what it pays now for the services, which amounts to roughly $177,627.70 annually and $532,883.10 for the contract.
- The Village of Suffern Police Department was awarded $100,000 in federal forfeiture funds, as requested by the District Attorney’s Office, to partially reimburse the cost of a police officer assigned to the Rockland County Drug Task Force. The department is being given the reimbursement since that particular officer filled an assistant director position and thus held a separate position from other officers assigned to the task force, the cost of which was split with the municipality.
- The Office of the Sheriff was appropriated $34,500 in federal forfeiture funds, as requested by that department and District Attorney’s Office, to purchase items and services related to the Nov. 17, 2012 police examination.