A bill that would allow Rockland County to borrow up to $96 million to cover its deficit now awaits Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval.
The state Senate passed the legislation with no debate after 1:30 a.m. Friday.
If signed by Cuomo, Rockland would be permitted to issue 10-year bonds to cover its growing budget gap, with the county ceding some oversight of its future spending plans to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office. The Senate passed the measure, 62-1.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County, who supported the legislation this year after it was changed to give the comptroller greater power. The measure languished in the Senate last year after Carlucci declined to support it.
The Rockland County Legislature passed a resolution in May asking the state to approve the bill, and the state Assembly passed the legislation earlier this month. Rockland’s budget deficit has ballooned over the past several years—DiNapoli has estimated it will rise to $110 million—while property taxes increased 30 percent in 2012. Negotiations continue with the county’s labor unions.
If approved, the bill would require the county to submit its proposed budget to the state comptroller 30 days before a vote is scheduled. The comptroller would then send back binding changes at least 10 days before the vote.
The lone vote against the Senate bill came from freshman Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, Saratoga County.