Democratic candidate for Rockland County executive Ilan
Schoenberger chose the setting of the renovated Dutch Garden in New City on
Monday to speak about the county’s potential for an improved future.
Schoenberger was joined by a handful of supporters as he spoke about the importance of participating in the upcoming general primary on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
“Don’t sit at home,” he said. “The future of your county is at stake. Come out and vote. Come and vote not just in the primary in September but the general election in November.”
Schoenberger and David Fried are both seeking the Democratic line for county executive in the primary along with Conservative Party candidates Simon Leschinsky and Thomas Sullivan. The winners of the Democratic and Conservative primaries will go on to challenge Republican candidate Ed Day on November 5.
Schoenberger talked about several of his goals if elected as county executive. He said the county must do a better job of working with the towns and villages to bridge their issues. He said areas of overlap should be examined and the problems of flooding and poor road conditions need to be addressed.
“We need to rebuild the infrastructure,” he said.
Schoenberger said he would open up the county executive’s office to residents and give them the chance to speak directly to commissioners about problems. He also said he would make it a policy to attend town and village board meetings.
“We have to operate the county in a way that’s in partnership with the towns and villages,” he explained.
Schoenberger said his proposal to create the position of an elected county controller and eliminate the commissioner of finance job would lead to a better system of checks and balances and help to reduce uncertainty over county revenues. He is not concerned the Home Rule Legislation, which would allow the county to issue bonds to pay off its deficit over 10 years, has not yet reached the governor’s desk. Schoenberger expects the bill passed by the state senate and assembly will be sent to the governor soon.
He said the county’s deficit reported by auditors to be $120 million at the end of 2012 did not reflect the sale of two county-owned buildings, which would bring in $8 million. However, Schoenberger noted the Summit Park Hospital & Nursing Home cost county taxpayers about $1 million per month to operate. He said revenues have improved and he think the current deficit is somewhere between $108 and $114 million. He said he thinks Rockland has taken significant steps to deal with its financial issues.