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Proposed 2013 Rockland Budget Eliminates 70 Positions (VIDEO)

Budget carries $157 county property tax increase for homeowners

 

Under Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef’s proposed 2013 budget, 70 positions would be eliminated across several county departments along with non-mandated health programs.  Other cost saving measures in the $736.9 million spending plan are an early retirement incentive for 55 employees and closing the employee pharmacy. The proposal carries an average $157 yearly property tax increase for taxpayers, a jump of 18.4 percent in county taxes.

At Tuesday’s budget introduction, Vanderhoef addressed the 70 positions dropped from the 2013 proposed budget, explaining they were part of program eliminations not layoffs. The contract the county signed with the CSEA and two other unions earlier this year bars any union member layoffs through December 31, 2013.

“It’s not a position layoff, it’s a program elimination,” said Vanderhoef. 

CSEA President P.T. Thomas disagreed with Vanderhoef's conclusion and said it was a violation of the contract. He estimated that about 55 CSEA jobs were in jeopardy.

"We have a no layoff guarantee," said Thomas. "We will fight (this budget) tooth and nail."

Specific positions slated for removal were the Sheriff’s Mounted Unit and five Sheriff’s Patrol officers.  Programs identified for elimination were laundry services and radiology services at Summit Park, security for county buildings and food services at the county jail.  Instead of county employees performing the work, Vanderhoef is recommending that the programs be outsourced at a lower cost to the county.  Additionally he proposed doing away with the county mosquito program and some health education programs.  The pre-natal clinic is already being transitioned from the county health department to Nyack Hospital.

Vanderhoef said an increase of $33 million in 2013 state mandated costs primarily for pensions; the jail and Medicaid were responsible for the county having to raise taxes and cut services and jobs. The mandated cost of pensions is rising by $16.7 million, jail expenses by $5.6 million and Medicaid by $2.65 million in 2013.

Editor’s Note: Check back with Patch for an expanded budget article. 

Thomas Leonard October 23, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Why doesn't the headline read: "County taxes are going up another 18.4%"
JLeo October 23, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Doesn't matter what he says or does, may it be right may it be wrong. the Legislature votoes everything he does anyway...
Mike October 24, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Spot on Thomas
Mike October 24, 2012 at 12:50 AM
This NYS pension system is just decimating the taxpayers in the state, county and towns. Sorry PT Thomas but your concern at your union rings very hollow. How does the pension system get fixed? It's crazy that the taxpayers have to make the pension system whole when it goes down.
John October 24, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Completely agree with Mike. Pension reform is needed.
Paul October 24, 2012 at 02:13 AM
We could start cutting into the budget deficit by reducing the police salaries. Seems like they always get a pass when the budget comes around but these guys are pushing 150k to 185k year on average in every town in rockland. Thats just ridiculous if you ask me.You can check out every government workers salary on this website at www.seethroughny.com
Randy October 24, 2012 at 02:57 AM
It is time for employees to contribute to their pension system throughout their careers. Today they only have to contribute 3% to the pension fund for the first 10 years of their career. Why should the taxpayers have to make this very generous pension system whole every year when the employees aren't even contributing to it for most of their career? For comparison, the self employed must pay 12.8% tax on their earnings just to get social security. Employees must pay half of that. Federal employees pay 7% throughout their career for their pensions in the CSRS system. Time to really reform the NYS Pension system.
JP October 24, 2012 at 03:36 AM
So overdue to make County emplyees pay something for their prescriptions. Can you imagine in 2012 having totally free prescription drug plans where you don't even pay a dime for any prescription. Thats alot of Viagra!
INTHEKNOW October 24, 2012 at 06:13 AM
Randy, public employees pay into social security as well. They just can't hide their income like so many "self employed" people do. In fact, pick any self employed person you know, and ask them what percentage of their gross do they actually report to Uncle Sam? You know, the "cash discount" transactions, or the lunches that get written off as 'work lunches".. etc... You could make an argument that public sector workers are among the few that actually pay their proper amount of taxes. 100% of their salary is accounted for and taxed. They also dont get year end bonuses like many in the private sector. Of course, your argument makes it sound as if only public workers have pensions or 401ks.
INTHEKNOW October 24, 2012 at 06:16 AM
It's not the police salaries that are breaking Rockland County Paul. The sheriffs dept budget is a drop in the bucket compared to the widespread social services fraud that goes on in this county with a wink and a nod, all towards getting a particular vote. When >90% of a "community" is on public assistance, and when that "community" is the fastest growing community in the United States, and that "community" is in your county, and looking to grow... it's a recipe for disaster. Don't fall into the easy trap of blaming the worker.
Judy Martin October 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I believe program cuts are warranted. New York is the most heavily-taxed state in the United States. Rockland need not be one of the three most generous counties in offering county-funded programs! And when will we see the position reductions attributable to computer efficiencies? Last year's 30% increase was an affront to us all.
K.Cobain October 24, 2012 at 01:10 PM
If you take a look at the breakdown you will see that pensions are the second largest driver of cost. The programs your referring to make up a small part of the debt. The data is right here and in an easy to understand format so any simpleton can understand it. I recommend before you post you fully read the article and think quietly to yourself about what you read to make sure you fully understand it. After, you can make an intelligent post that will show your “in the know” instead of being “in the bubble of your own disillusioned world.
Andromachos October 24, 2012 at 01:16 PM
There is merit to Paul's position. Medicaid is about 50% of the County budget. Does anyone have a source for the ratio of medicaid to whole budget spending in other NY State counties?
Charleen Borchers October 24, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Here's a thought. How about making everyone who owns a piece of property in Rockland pay their fair share. I am all for religion. I do not discriminate. I just think we all live together, we should all pay the same. Certain religions get exempt because they make their home a place of worship.More and more land is becoming tax exempt. I think I will put an alter in my living room,have a few from my church come and pray every week, and declair my home a place of worship, so I can get my tax exemptions.
Mike October 24, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I cannot comment to your charge that self employed people are mostly tax cheats- personally think that is a very harsh and most likel unsubstantiated charge. I can speak as a private sector employee that I too pay tax as you say based upon "100% of my salary". Most studies show that public sector employees receive in total greater compensation for similar jobs compared to private sector. The issue with their penions at least in NYS is that unders CSEA they are never at risk in seeing their pension go down as under CB taxpayers need to make up for any losses in pension funds. No private pensions have such a carrott. When the market crashed in 2008, my pension which is in my 401k was crushed. There needs to be a reform of this systme if not for current employees at least lets start it with new hires because it is making the systems unsustainable.
Mike October 24, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Chareleen- I hear what you are saying and understand it, but taxing all religious groups because one group has been abusing the system would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water. Most religious groups and organziations provide many, many services to the poor and needy that the government does not. If we tax these entities, they would then need to use the charity they receive from emebers to pay a tax bill rather than caring for those less fortunate. In the long run, we might then have even more people at the doorstep of the County costing even more money than now. So, yes, I get where you are coming from but as I said since it is only one group that is essentially the violator here maybe the focus shoudl be on enforcement of the tax breaks.
Kevin Roy October 25, 2012 at 10:27 PM
There are two articles on this topic so I encourage everyone to read the associated comments. That said, if you have not sent your County Legislator a letter/email indicating your frustration, you're wasting your time posting here. Tell them your concerns and reference facts. Attacking one line item of the budget is not productive. There are too many variables that impact what can and cannot be changed.

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