NEW CITY, N.Y. - A hiring freeze, a halt to overtime without approval for all county employees, and the requirement that 20 percent of county-owned cars be turned in were part of a number of austerity measures announced today by County Executive Ed Day.
The measures are necessary due to a $4 million shortfall in the budget, which is the result of the County Legislature’s failure to approve the sale of the Sain Building on New Hempstead Road, Day said.
The savings expected from these measures will be roughly $3.3 million.
Funds from the sale were included in this year’s budget but the legislature failed to accept an offer to buy the Sain Building for $4.51 million. As a result the building must be sold by Dec. 31 in spite of what Day described as a challenging timeline.
The measures avoided reducing funds or resources to do with public health, public safety, and public transportation. But, Day added, there will be impacts, such as calls to county department not being returned as quickly, and an increase in wait times in offices and for services to be provided, to name a few.
“But I am convinced the impact of not taking these measures would be worse for the average resident,” Day said.
A loss of revenue from the sale of the Sain Building is the equivalent a four percent county property tax hike, and a failure to sell the building means the county budget deficit will increase, something that cannot afford to happen, Day said.
The rest of the measures include:
- The securing of discretionary funds, the release of which will be approved by the county executive
- A ban on all non-critical training and related expenses, like attendance at seminars or conferences
- County-owned vehicles must be parked at a county facility at the end of a shift
- Payments to vendors will be made later
- Mass mailings, except for the County Legislature
- The renegotiation of existing contracts to achieve a minimum 10 percent cost savings by department heads
- And consideration to partially close all county parks after Sept. 15
A review of the measures will take place every 30 days but most of these can be reversed with the sale of the Sain Building by years end.
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