Rockland legislators are not expected to approve County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef’s $737 million budget as it was submitted to them when they vote tomorrow on the 2013 spending plan, The Journal News/Lohud.com reports today.
Some legislators have taken issue with several of Vanderhoef’s proposals, including an 18 percent property-tax hike that would break the 2 percent cap on increasing the tax levy, the elimination of union jobs and the county sheriff’s mounted patrol unit. Three unions recently signed new contracts that prohibit layoffs due to budgetary reasons, but the county executive countered that the programs are changing and the positions would be outsourced.
Rockland Civil Service Employees Association President P.T. Thomas said about 60 of the 70 workers on the chopping block belong to his union. They largely work in security, food services, as X-ray technicians and prenatal workers.
Vanderhoef’s recommended budget also would slash funding for the county pharmacy and trim the workforce by 55 people by offering early retirement plan.
“Many of our departments and many of our services have already been cut to the bone,” said Legislator Ilan Schoenberger, who serves as chairman of the body’s Budget and Finance Committee. “It makes it a very difficult budget.”
Vanderhoef spokesman Ron Levine said the county executive is confident the budget that he proposed “complies with the law, is conservative and we believe are numbers are accurate.”
The county has a budget deficit estimated to be between $90 million and $100 million, and its credit rating is the lowest of any county in New York at one level above junk status. An accounting firm hired by the Legislature said last week that the debt was projected to increase to more than $114 million.
The Legislature meets at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Allison-Parris Office Building in New City. If lawmakers approve an amended budget, Vanderhoef can veto the whole budget or line items within it. The Legislature could override a veto.