Rockland County – Budget Review (B6-13-22)

Issued Date
November 25, 2013

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our budget review was to determine whether the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the County’s proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year are reasonable.


The County of Rockland is authorized to issue debt totaling $96,000,000 to liquidate the cumulative deficit in the County’s general fund for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2012. Chapter 468 of the Laws of 2013 requires the County to submit their proposed budget for the next fiscal year to the State Comptroller for review while the deficit obligations are outstanding.

Key Findings

Based on the results of our review, except for the matters described below, we found that the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the County’s proposed budget are reasonable.

  • The proposed budget does not include provisions for paying down the remaining $31.3 million deficit.
  • The residential energy tax revenue estimate is overly optimistic given the amount collected in 2013.
  • The County may be overestimating revenue from tax anticipation note premiums and could experience potential revenue shortfall if the budget is not adjusted.
  • Issuing serial bonds to cover the costs of tax certiorari claims and operating expenditures is imprudent.
  • The County has not made an allowance for uncollectible taxes in the 2014 proposed budget.
  • The proposed budget exceeds the tax levy limit.

Key Recommendations

  • Include an amount in the budget to reduce the remaining deficit in the general fund.
  • Reassess the estimate for residential energy tax revenue.
  • Reduce the revenue estimate for premiums on obligations.
  • Place any excess proceeds from its proposed tax certiorari borrowing in an appropriate reserve fund and use those proceeds to pay down that debt.
  • Include appropriations in the budget that will be sufficient to cover estimated uncollected property taxes in 2014.
  • If necessary, pass a local law to override the tax levy limit prior to adopting the budget.