Rockland County residents would see a $157 property-tax hike under County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef’s proposed $736.9 million budget for 2013, The Journal News/Lohud.com reports today. The increase would be about 18.4 percent, which would bring in roughly $14.9 million more in property taxes. The overall budget would be 3.8 percent more than this year. The budget documents are here.
Vanderhoef is recommending:
— Eliminating programs and hiring outside vendors for radiology and laundry tasks at Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care, security duties at county facilities and food services at the jail. The county would lay off 42 workers as a result.
—Closing the county pharmacy and scrapping six Health Department programs, including petroleum bulk storage, chronic-disease prevention, school-based wellness and others. Those programs employ 13 people.
—Eliminating funding for the Rockland County Sheriff’s Mounted Unit, where there are five jobs; four members of the Sheriff’s Road Patrol; and six jobs in the Highway Department.
Vanderhoef said an increase of about $33 million in costs for mandated programs, including $16.7 million for pensions, was driving the proposals in his budget. There is a public hearing on the budget Nov. 20 and legislators have until Dec. 7 to adopt a budget.
Civil Service Employees Association President P.T. Thomas said the outsourcing would violate newly signed union contracts. The county has a no-layoff clause through Dec. 31, 2013 with the CSEA, the Rockland Management Assocaition and the Doctors Council. Workers at the jail and in the Sheriff’s Office do not have “no-layoff” contracts in place.
“If he is planning to go with that we will file a lawsuit,” Thomas said yesterday. “It’s absolutely illegal. It’s a violation of not only a contract but a trust.”
The county executive said he would be eliminating programs, rather than going after individual jobs. He wants to offer a targeted early-retirement incentive program to reduce the county staff by 55 more workers.