by Bill Batson
On October 16, Rockland County Executive Ed Day submitted his first budget proposal that eliminates 100% of the funding that contract agencies (non-profits) receive from the county. The Rockland County Legislature will vote on the budget on December 4.
Full disclosure: I am a member of the board of the Nyack Center, that received $49,000 in his predecessors’ last budget. That role has given me insight into some of the Nyack Center programs that these cuts would jeopardize. I hope that when you learn more, you’ll help us spread the message that Rockland non-profits matter.
Here are some of the Nyack Center programs that would be impacted by these proposed cuts:
- The Breakfast Club ensures that 44 children get a healthy start each day.
- The after school program provides 87 children with a safe place for instruction and recreation.
- The Back Door Café gives hundreds of teens a drug & alcohol free social venue.
- The computer time program gives internet access to 40 young people.
As taxpayers and concerned citizens, we are all interested in responsible spending by local government. However, during a period of continued economic distress, the complete elimination of county support for programs that help the poor and working families is draconian, and according to some experts, counterproductive.
Send a message that Rockland Non-profits Matter
Contact your county legislator and the county executive and ask them to restore the proposed cuts.
Rockland County Executive
Rockland County Legislators
- District 1, Douglas J. Jobson
- District 2, Michael M. Grant
- District 3, Jay Hood, Jr.
- District 4, Ilan S. Schoenberger
- District 5, Barry Kantrowitz
- District 6, Alden H. Wolfe
- District 7, Philip Soskin
- District 8, Toney L. Earl
- District 9, Christopher J. Carey
- District 10, Harriet D. Cornell
- District 11, Frank Sparaco
- District 12, Joseph L. Meyers
- District 13, Aron B. Wieder
- District 14, Aney Paul
- District 15, Patrick J. Moroney
- District 16, John A. Murphy
- District 17, Nancy Low-Hogan, Ph.D.
Forty other non-profits are also on the county executive’s chopping block. Fortunately, rather than devolving into an every-group-for-themselves dynamic, local community organizations have formed Rockland Non-profits Matter. The group held a massive protest at the County Legislature on Tuesday, November 18. Led by Paul Trader, from the Institute for Non-Profits at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland, the ad-hoc coalition is mobilizing the communities that they serve to reverse these cuts.
Trader made a presentation to the legislature on October 30 where he suggested policy makers should look at nonprofits as an economic benefit for the county as opposed to a burden:
“Of the money brought into Rockland from outside sources, our non-profits spent $486 million within the county. That’s almost half-a-billion dollars spent by non-profits within the county. This is done through purchasing of equipment, supplies and services from local businesses, and employment of Rockland residents. Cornell University’s analysis showed that this outside funding directly supports at least 7,800 jobs.”
In another example of solidarity, all five town supervisors in Rockland County, Geoffrey Finn, Stony Point Supervisor; Alexander Gromack, Clarkstown Supervisor; Howard Phillips, Haverstraw Supervisor; Christopher St. Lawrence, Ramapo Supervisor and Andrew Stewart, Orangetown Supervisor are urging that funding be restored.
The mayors of five Hudson River villages sent a joint letter asking that the county executive reconsider his proposal:
“We commend the county executive for his desire to solve our extreme fiscal woes and we understand how difficult the job he has ahead of him is. The solution to the problem however does not lie on the backs of our weakest, our damaged, our dying, our culture and arts and our public safety, the very fabric of our county. There is an answer but it must be achieved in a thoughtful, thorough and responsible budgeting process.”
Bonnie Christian, Mayor, Village of South Nyack; Michael Kohut, Mayor, Village of Haverstraw; Jennifer Laird-White, Mayor, Village of Nyack; Lawrence Lynn, Mayor, Grand View; Christopher Sanders, Mayor, Village of Piermont.
As the year comes to an end, many of us are creating gift lists, one for shopping and another for charitable giving. I ask that you join me in making two contributions. First, contribute to one or more of the groups that might lose all of their funding from the county. Second, contribute your time by making a phone call to your Rockland County Legislator and the county executive. I know from my past experience working in the office of an elected official, a well-timed wave of phone calls can have the impact of a tidal force.
Visit change.org to sign a petition entitled “Stop The Across The Board Budget Cuts: Submit A Sound And Responsible Budget. The petition effort has garnered over 750 signatures.”
Working Group Members from the Institute of Non-Profits
Arts Council of Rockland; Association for the Visually Impaired; Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Rockland; CANDLE-Community Awareness Network for a Drug-Free Life & Environment; CASA – Court-Appointed Special Advocates, Center for Safety and Change; Child Care Resources of Rockland; CHORE Services; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland; Edward Hopper House Art Center; EPIC, Every Person Influences Children; Head Start of Rockland; Helping Hands of Rockland; Hi Tor Animal Care Center; Historical Society of Rockland; Holocaust Museum And Study Center; Home Aides of Rockland; JAWONIO; Keep Rockland Beautiful, Inc; Konbit Neg Lakay; Legal Aid Society of Rockland; M.A.D.E. Transitional Services; Martin Luther King Multipurpose Center; Meals on Wheels; NAACP Nyack Branch; NAACP Spring Valley Branch; Nyack Center; Penguin Repertory; People to People; Rivertown Film Society; Rockland Camerata; Rockland Center for the Arts; Rockland County Association for Learning Disabilities; Rockland 21st Century Collaborative for Children And Youth (Rockland 21-C); Rockland Conservatory of Music; Rockland Economic Development Corp. (REDC); Rockland Housing Action Coalition; Rockland Independent Living Center; Rockland Interfaith Breakfast Program; T.O.U.C.H. of Rockland; Teacher Mommy Daycare; United Hospice; VCS; West Street Child Care Center; Women Veterans Association of Hudson Valley; YMCA of Rockland
For more information, visit the Rockland Non-profits Matters Facebook group.
Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. “Nyack Sketch Log: Rockland Non-Profits Matter” © 2014 Bill Batson.