Wednesday, December 5, 2018

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Rockland Legislature narrowly adopts new budget after lingering debate over Sain Building

Vacant Sain Building still a point of contention

NEW CITY - The Rockland County Legislature narrowly approved the adaptation of the 2019 County Budget on Tuesday during their first meeting of the month.  The government’s operating budget was approved by a vote of 10-7 with most of the county Republicans voting against the proposal.

The tax levy goes up 2.9 percent. 

“We are not as good as we could or should be,” lamented Minority Leader Lon Hofstein, referring to the troubles faced in adopting this year’s budget.  

The legislature had great difficulty compromising on many budgetary issues, chief among them the sale of the Sain Building.  Hofstein had previously vowed not to approve any new measures until the building had been sold, a threat he made good on by voting against the new budget. 

Both legislators Hofstein and Christopher Carey have alleged that the sale of the Sain building has become a political issue and that those legislators voting against it are doing so solely to spite County Executive Ed Day.  “This is the hill they chose to die on,” said Carey, accusing his colleagues of allowing their personal feelings toward the county executive to affect their decision making. 

Carey’s comments were “a gross misstatement,” according to Legislator Jay Hood Jr. who said that the sale of the building wasn’t even an issue that should have been discussed during the budget meeting.  “It didn’t really come up until I went to negotiate with the minority and Lon Hofstein said I’m not going to deal with any of your lines until we get the Sain a building sold.” 

Hood believes that there are many reasons his colleagues would like to hold on to the property, though, he admitted that he himself is in favor of selling.        

Yeger said that he is almost always against the sale of county property as it is a valuable resource “that you can never get back” if sold. 

A representative of the Civil Service Employees Association also protested the new budget, reasoning the 2.9 percent tax increase added by the new plan will essentially be a pay cut for government employees who “earned and deserve a raise.”

 


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