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News from the Supervisor


 

Press Release: Clarkstown Supervisor Blasts County Department of Health for "Double Tax"

CLARKSTOWN SUPERVISOR BLASTS

CLARKSTOWN SUPERVISOR BLASTS

COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH FOR “DOUBLE TAX”

COUNTY BILLS TOWNS THOUSANDS FOR SERVICES RESIDENTS’ NORMALLY RECEIVE

 

(New City, NY)  Town of Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack is seeking County records to ensure taxpayers are not paying twice for the same service by filing a Freedom of Information Law request for budget hearing minutes and other documents related to the Department of Health’s budget.  Gromack also sent Dr. Joan Facelle, Commissioner of the Department a letter protesting the new fees.   

 

The Supervisor is blasting the County’s Department of Health for billing Rockland Towns thousands of dollars for preventively treating catch basins on Town roads for the West Nile virus, a service that is normally budgeted for by the County and paid for by residents as part of their County tax bill. 

 

“This could amount to nothing more than a double tax,” Supervisor Gromack stated.  “If Clarkstown residents already paid for the catch basin treatment in January as part of their County tax bill and as a Town has to pay for this again, residents would essentially be paying for this service twice.  The first time the residents paid for this service in the County tax.  Now the County’s Department of Health is asking the Town to pay for these services again using the same residents tax dollars.”

 

The Town also learned last week that it will be billed for the inspection of food concession stands at local pools and recreation centers, also a service for which the Town is not ordinarily charged.

 

The Town received a bill for treating the catch basins in the amount of $44,408 on January 27, 2009 stating the monies were due March 1 and that the bill only took into account 80% of the 7,930 catch basins owned by the Town at a rate of $7 per basin.  However, the Town was not charged for catch basins located on County roads within the Town of Clarkstown.  There is no consideration for catch basins which may be located on a Town road but whose water source is owned by the County.

 

The bill for the inspection of the food concession stands will also amount to thousands, which will be owed by the Town.

 

“What’s next?  Will the Town be charged every time a Sheriff makes a stop on a Town road?” said Supervisor Gromack.  “Billing the Towns for these services places an undue burden on the Towns to increase revenue because of new costs incurred due to the County of Rockland.  If the County cannot afford to pay its bills, it should reconsider its budget.  The County should not be allowed to pass the buck onto the Towns, Villages and School Districts.”

 

The State of New York does not mandate treating catch basins to prevent the West Nile virus.  The County Health Department states it is entitled to levy the catch basin fee based upon Article 19 of the Rockland County Sanitary Code.  However, that section does not mandate the annual treatment of catch basins.  Rather, it states that a non-compliant owner shall pay any expense incurred by the County Health Department to bring the owner into compliance.  The Town has never been deemed to have violated that particular provision of the Code.

 

Supervisor Gromack agreed that treating the catch basins to prevent West Nile virus is a priority, but stressed that in this economic downturn the municipalities should not have to bear the cost of poor budget planning by the County for a service that is to be provided for by the County through the Department of Health.

 

“We in Clarkstown have a balanced budget.  We do not have a budget deficit,” said Gromack.  “We work hard to mitigate taxes for our residents.  The County should do the same and not overburden our residents in a less than transparent manner.”

 

Supervisor Gromack will be meeting with Town Supervisors from Ramapo, Haverstraw, Stony Point and Orangetown to discuss this and the possibility of incurring new bills for services ordinarily provided for by the County.

 

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