Rockland County: No property tax increase for 2023. Here's what the budget offers

Friday Dec 09th, 2022


Rockland County: No property tax increase for 2023. Here's what the budget offers

Steve Lieberman

Rockland/Westchester Journal News


NEW CITY − Rockland property owners will not see a county tax increase in 2023 for the second consecutive year under an $812.4 million budget adopted by the Legislature.

The spending plan maintains the average county property tax bill at an estimated $1,292. The county bill is the lowest compared to taxes paid to school districts, towns and villages. Residents also pay into special government funds like sewers and garbage and recycling collection.

The budget is projected to be supported by $261 million in sales tax revenues and $130.7 million in property taxes. The 2022 budget of $789 million depended on $240 million in sales tax and $130.7 million in property tax.

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The Rockland County Legislature held the first meeting of the year where the chairman, co-chairman, majority and minority leaders were sworn in at Rockland County Office Building in New City Jan. 3, 2019.

County Executive Ed Day and legislators spoke glowing about the county's economic health. The spending includes $13.1 million toward the $96 million bond the Legislature approved a decade ago to cover the greater portion of the county's $138 million deficit. The county's bond payments end in 2024.

“It took years of effort to finally get us to where we are today – deeply in the black with a strong surplus and eliminating taxes that we once desperately clung to during the financial crisis," said Legislator Michael Grant, D-Haverstraw, vice chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.

Rockland Legislator Michael Grant, D-Haverstraw

Taxes are excised as economic health solidifies

"I am so grateful to see us standing on firm ground instead of shifting sands and I am sure, through continued careful management of the budget, Rockland County will continue to strengthen its fiscal vitality,” Grant said.

Legislature Minority Leader Lon Hofstein, R-Clarkstown, praised the bipartisanship and cooperation with Day.

“I am happy that both the minority and the majority members of the county Legislature were able to work together with the county executive’s administration in ironing out a very stable, realistic budget for 2023," Hofstein said.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day announces that a person tested positive for polio in the county July 21, 2022. It is the first case of polio in the United States in many years.

Day said his proposed budget added jobs to strengthen programs and excises specialty taxes added to cope with the deficit.

He claimed excising those taxes lowers the tax burden by at least 9.54 % with the elimination of the county Motor Vehicle Tax and Residential Energy Sates Tax for 2023.

The budget also reflects a reduction of the county’s portion of sales tax on motor fuel purchases, capping the tax charged to the first $2 of a gasoline purchase, resulting in roughly $5 savings for a typical fill-up. It is in effect through February of 2023.

The budget provides the following:

  • creating 43 positions and abolishing 15 vacancies with no proposed layoffs.
  • completing $30 million in nine highway and bridge capital projects, financed by state and federal funding, with only $1.5 million coming from county tax dollars.
  • a 10% increase of $518,200 for nonprofit agencies, including support for medical programs, the infirmed, domestic violence survivors and drug addicts.
  • introducing legislation to opt into the state’s new bill that increases the income eligibility for seniors seeking a reduction in property taxes from $29,000 to $50,000 for people ages 65 and older.
  • purchasing six parkland properties covering 37 acres as part of the county's Open Space Acquisition program, funded through last year’s budget process.
  • Mirrored after Westchester County’s HEROES Program, Day is proposing $1.5 million in college tuition assistance for volunteer firefighters and emergency responders. This program will provide responders with $6,000 toward their college tuition. 

The budget bolsters several departments, including the Sheriff's Office for school bus safety, and suicide prevention services offered by the Department of Mental Health, and the Department of Health following outbreaks of measles, COVID-19, and polio during the past few years. The new positions will cost $1.45 million.

Wolfe said county officials have worked cohesively and lived up to their commitment to the taxpayers.

“During the height of the national financial crisis, which so severely impacted Rockland County, we made a commitment to the taxpayers that we would right the fiscal ship and rebuild our financial strength," Wolfe said. I am grateful that after so many years of difficult choices and hard work, we have fulfilled that commitment."

The Legislature adopted the budget with a 10-1 vote. Voting no was Legislator Charles Falciglia, R-Ramapo. Absent were Jay Hood, D-Haverstraw; Alden Wolfe, D-Montebello; Vicent Tyer, R-Pearl River; Laurie Santulli, R-Clarkstown; John McGowan, R-Orangetown; Itamar Yeger, D-Ramapo.

The budget process is not completed. Day has five working days after receipt of the amended adopted budget to use his line-item veto power. The Legislature then has until Dec. 20 to override any vetoes with support by 12 of the 17 lawmakers.


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