Thursday, October 4, 2018

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Rockland starting to return to financial health, says finance commissioner

NEW CITY – Rockland County Finance Commissioner Steven DeGroat told county lawmakers Wednesday night that the administration has started to return the county to good financial health.

He made that observation as he explained the proposed 2019 county budget to legislators.

 “We were dealing with that $138 million deficit years ago and right now the county is sitting on a $6.7 million surplus,”  DeGropat said. Without such “amazing holes in the budget” balancing the county’s finances has become much more manageable. 

The proposed budget for 2019 is $709 million, a $25 million increase over the current budget of $684 million.

The increase is driven by a number of factors, chief among them the operating cost of Rockland Community College and the county sewer department.

Health care costs for county employees have also gone up by 7.1 percent adding $5 million to the budget.  The sheriff office also accounted for some of the increased expense, as two new deputies and a purchasing officer have been added to the department’s pay roll for 2019. 

The proposed budget also adds a new “deed verification fee” of $200 for anyone who buys a home in the Rockland.  “We found that other counties are charging a fee for these services,” said DeGroat. “We are also finding that towns do support the fact that the county will come in and certify (the property) so they know that the deed is correct and matches the tax map.” 

The fee is projected to add $1 million to the budget and can be used to help towns “control zoning and ensure that town maps are accurate.”


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