Transparency: Opening County Government To You

alden_wolfe Michael GrantBy: Legislator Alden H. Wolfe, Chair (D- Montebello)
& Legislator Michael M. Grant, Chair, Budget & Finance Committee (D – Haverstraw)

As the Chairmen of the Rockland County Legislature and its Budget & Finance Committee, we were proud to unveil a groundbreaking report from the Legislature entitled, “Rockland County 2016 Budget: A Citizens’ Guide.” This report is a first of its kind, and opens the doors of County government for all of our residents to see exactly how their tax dollars are put to work, and the great value that County government adds to everyday life.

We are in an age of transparency, and the Legislature is proud to lead on this issue by providing residents access to the key information they need to be informed. This Citizens’ Guide follows a Local Law that the Legislature passed in 2012 to increase transparency in County budgeting.

That Local Law actually required the County Executive to take the lead in providing residents with a transparency report on County government. Neither the present nor prior administration made it a priority to comply with the law and subsequently chose not to, so we in the Legislature took the initiative to make our government more transparent for you.

The Citizens’ Guide details the revenues and expenditures of County government, state mandates and social service programs, operational information and a snapshot of County services, and key actions taken by the Legislature over the last decade to make government work better, smarter, and harder for you.

During the last decade, the Legislature has been hard at work reinventing County government, and by making tough decisions that we knew would benefit taxpayers in the long run, we have reduced our total workforce by well over 40%, and drastically reduced our fiscal stress score. Due to a variety of factors, including the Legislature’s initiative to hire additional Medicaid fraud investigators, the County’s Medicaid expense has been cut by over $13.5 million since 2014.

With a County property tax rate that remains far less than half of the state average, our government has learned to do more with less – just like families across Rockland have since the Great Recession began. At the same time, we have preserved the services you count on that continue to demonstrate the incredible value of County government each day, including consumer protection, health, public transportation, and county parks, facilities, and infrastructure.

The public can read the entire Citizens’ Guide on the County Legislature’s page at RocklandGov.com.

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