By Coby Eiss
For the past twenty years, citizens of Rockland County have grown accustomed to seeing Blauvelt’s C. Scott Vanderhoef deliver an annual State of the County Address. The address is given every year by the county’s serving Executive, and on Tuesday the aforementioned Republican gave his final discourse. In October, Executive Vanderhoef stated he would not pursue a sixth term in office with his position going up for election in November 2013. He delivered his remarks surrounded by his family, his fellow ranking members from the Rockland County Legislature, and members of the public.
The State of the County focused on the legacy of Vanderhoef’s terms in office, highlighting both the accomplishments and failures. He prided himself upon many of his many successes, including: creating ten county parks, saving three farms, constructing five county buildings, building 2,000 affordable housing units, and preserving 1,200 acres of land.
In terms of failures, Vanderhoef was prompt to note that the recession had led to tough economic choices which led to low worker morale and the displacement of several county programs. In addition, the county faces a 96.4 million dollar yearly deficit, though Vanderhoef made it quite clear that he believes the situation is now under control and the worst is behind the county. That deficit is the highest among all New York State counties.
Vanderhoef made it clear what he would like to see happen in the remainder of his term and in the years to come to promote economic growth in the county. One plan he promoted was the creation of an organization named LDC, which would sell the Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center, currently owned by the county. This agenda point received much praise from fellow Republican legislators.
Members of the Rockland County Legislature who came out in support of Vanderhoef’s address included Suffern Democrat Alden Wolfe and Bardonia Republican Cris Carey. Both lawmakers stated that they would like to work with Vanderhoef in the years to come, solving the county’s economic woes.
With Vanderhoef signaling his exit from the county office, the race for the next County Executive has heated up. The only major contender from Vanderhoef’s party is County Legislator Ed Day. Surprising many, Day has actually given some support to a potential Democratic oponnent, David Fried, due to his tax reform policies. Fried, a former Spring Valley Justice and employee of Congresswoman Lowey’s office is competing with current Suffern Mayor Dagan LaCorte and former County Legislator Ilan Schoenberg for the party’s nomination.