Rockland 2012 Deficit Could Top $111 Million

County Finance Commissioner reports $96 million deficit from 2011 could increase by $11 to $15 million when 2012 audit completed.


Rockland County legislators learned Wednesday night the budget deficit from 2011 amounted to $96 million. With an audit in progress of 2012, Rockland County Finance Commissioner Stephen DeGroat warned that that amount could increase by $11 to $15 million.  The auditor reviewing the county’s finances put forward a potentially higher number of $17 million. 

DeGroat told the members of the legislative Budget & Finance Committee that the actual budget deficit from 2012 may not be known until mid summer when the audit is completed. DeGroat’s update came as part of the committee’s consideration of a resolution asking the state to permit Home Rule Legislation to allow it to issue a $96 million deficit bond.

Legislator Ilan Schoenberger noted that payment of an $18 million deficiency note in June 2012 might help to offset the anticipated additional shortfall in the 2012 budget. He said the county might be asking for more than it needs because the final audit of 2012 may show a deficit lower than $96 million.

DeGroat said the sale of the county owned building in Spring Valley for $4 million was expected to be finalized on Thursday. He said he was working with the state and the CPA firm auditing the county to determine if the revenue from the sale could be reflected in the 2012 audit.

The committee approved the resolution, which will go before the full county legislature on Tuesday. They also approved motions to issue $45 million of Revenue Anticipation Notes (RANs) and $55 million of Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs). DeGroat said the county issued an RFP for the notes.

“The good news is we received seven proposals,” said DeGroat, adding they were for competitive rates. 

The county expects to work with Oppenheimer, which bid an interest rate of 1.45 percent for the RANs and 1.35 percent for the TANs. The cost of borrowing $100 million for the one-year notes is just over $1 million. The RANs will be issued in advance of the county receiving sales and compensating use tax revenue, mortgage recording taxes and funds from the state and federal governments. The TANs would be issued in expectation of collection of real estate taxes in 2013. 

The committee passed the motion for the notes unanimously. It also approved a request of the state legislature asking for Home Rule legislation to extend the combined one percent sales and compensating use tax from December 1, 2013 until November 30, 2015.  The Home Rule Legislation would extend the 3/8 of one percent and 5/8 of one percent sales and compensating use taxes beyond the current November 30, 2013 expiration.  The committee approved the resolution.




Michael N. Hull February 14, 2013 at 09:36 PM
In 2012 the County became insolvent. The attempts at dealing with the crisis have accomplished nothing. Since an audit in 2010 the financial situation has deteriorated drastically. For the past 3 years the budgets have had $20 million plus deficits built into them. The deficit by 12/31/13 will reach $140 million. Along with this a debt of $50 million has been incurred by amortizing current pension payments into the future. The property tax has been doubled from $60 million in 2011 to $96 million in 2013, plus another $20 million in utility and other assorted taxes. Due to an insane benefit program, employees are entitled to lifetime Healthcare benefits after 5 years of service, which was NOT funded. At this time that item alone accounts for $32 million a year or 30% of the current tax levy and is projected to exceed $50 million by 2019. When combined with the current Pension Plan contribution it practically consumes the entire tax levy. See: http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/open-letter-to-cuomo-and-dinapoli http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/is-rockland-county-dysfunctional Resign! Let the State take over. Declare bankruptcy. This has become a shell game at taxpayers' expense.
Barry S February 14, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Wecome to the world of the Progressives.... they will tell YOU that we don't have a spending problem... we just have a budget problem... don't worry, just go put your head back in the sand... nothing to see here!
Mike Hirsch February 14, 2013 at 09:43 PM
And Schoenberger's looking for a promotion after heading the county finances this past decade.
Kelly Castel February 14, 2013 at 10:41 PM
This get worse and worse every time it hits the paper! Started at 75 Million, then 100 Million, now after an audit of for 2011 it stands at 96 Million! UNBELIEVABLE! I glanced at the Journal News yesterday and read the county was looking to borrow 200 Million!!!!! How about each of the county legislators pledge their pensions and the cost of future benefits when they leave the county (in this gigantic hole) and move to a tax haven state? Seems reasonable. The best thing to happen for taxpayers is that the loan is denied (and it should be) and the county is declared insolvent (which it is). The audacity of the former head of the Budget and Finance Committee for the county, Ilan Schoenberger to run for County Executive! The very committee people who approve this got us into this mess....Really people time to wake up before its too late, if it isn't already.
I was driving the other day..and drove past like 50 or more objects that had their heads in the ground.....I couldnt tell what they where...it wasnt pretty...maybe just maybe the elected officals and others from clowntown where having a meeting regarding how to resolve anything..it was very very foggy so as i said it was hard to actually know what those things where...they werent Aliens...because Aliens never have their heads in the dirt!!!!!
VinnyfromCongers February 15, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Everybody keep voting for the democrats.
Don February 15, 2013 at 02:45 AM
What a joke. It's the equivalent of Lance Armstrong wanting to head an anti-doping committee.
Randy February 15, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Rockland County wants to borrow $200M. They have no plan whatsoever to address the deficit other than to raise our taxes and borrow money to cover the difference. Property taxes are up over 46% in two years. We have a new 4% tax on heat and electric thanks to them. Our local property taxes have increased 1-2% due to the county shifting some of their expenses to the towns. Meanwhile, the county has done little to shed costs. It is time for the state to take over. The County Executive and the legislature have demonstrated their inability to balance the budget. They don't even seriously attempt to do it. I say abolish the legislature and all the positions supporting it. That will get rid of a lot of political patronage jobs. Then, set up a board of freeholders and start cutting.
willie 6 February 15, 2013 at 11:42 PM
BORROW, BORROW , SPEND ,SPEND. as long it is taxpayers $$$$$. they don't GIVE a CRAP !!!
Observer February 16, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Armstrong comparison to Schoenberger is PERFECT!!! Part of me wants to run for office just to see what really takes place behind closed doors and the other half of me just wants to run.
Jake Rokeach February 16, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Every single "fact" and "number" you list here is fiction. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Mr. Null.
Jake Rokeach February 16, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Lifetime healthcare benefits after 5 years of service? Are you high, Mr. Null? County employees don't have that. NOBODY IN THE WORLD HAS THAT. So there's $50M in savings for you right off the top. Seriously, you should smile. I just saved you fifty million dollars by 2019. Do a dance.
Mike Hirsch February 16, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Jake, How would you describe the county's current financial condition? Who do you think is responsible? Do you have any suggestions on how to improve it?
Watchdog February 16, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Jake my boy, if you do not agree, post your own numbers instead of being an attack dog for Schoenberger who wins elections only with the help and controlled voting of New Square. The lack of diversity in that Village is appalling. Outside of New Square Shoney loses hands down.


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