Rockland County Social Services Commissioner Susan Sherwood addressed the changes in her department during the legislature’s 2013 budget review. Sherwood appeared before the legislature’s Budget & Finance Committee on Monday and spoke about the rising number of residents seeking benefits and enrolled in Social Services programs.
Sherwood shared the following numbers of resident enrolled from the end of October: 67,593 in Medicaid; 41,732 in Food Stamps (renamed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP) and 3,378 in Temporary Assistance programs.
“These are our highest numbers ever,” she said. “They are 12 percent higher than a year ago.”
Sherwood went on to explain the county’s adult home had closed at the end of October. The 20 residents of the adult home were relocated. Nine transferred to assisted living facilities, four moved to apartments, three went to adult homes, two left for nursing homes and one each went to a group home and family type home.
She said the savings to the county was approximately $600,000. The three-fulltime employees were transferred to other budgeted positions within the department.
The department was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and its office building did not have power for eight days. Despite that, Sherwood said it was open daily and helped clients.
She said employees worked out of other county buildings that had power and staffers who live in Orange County were able to work out of the Orange County Social Services Department. She explained InfoRock (Information Rockland) turned into an emergency call center for residents seeking help after the storm. InfoRock can be accessed at 845-364-2020 or online.
The legislature will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2013 county budget at 7 p.m. tonight. Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef’s proposed 2013 budget eliminates 69 positions across several county departments along with non-mandated health programs. The proposal carries an average $157 yearly property tax increase for taxpayers, a jump of 18.4 percent in county taxes. The county has a budget deficit of about $96 million.
Here is what's been discussed so far during this budget process:
- Sheriff Makes Case For Restoration Of Budget Cuts
- Proposed County Budget—Public Safety Concerns (Highway Department)
- Proposed County Highway Layoffs May Reduce Service
- Legislature Debates Cuts In General Services