Overdue: Look at the 'facts'

By Robert I. Rhodes
(Original Publication: May 25, 2006)

As reported recently, Dorice Madronero, president of the Rockland County Conservation Association, is concerned because under state law counties do not have authority over planning and zoning.

Of course, this is true, but counties do have a legal right to do fact finding, and this is something that Rockland needs desperately. As I have reminded folks repeatedly in these pages, no government agency in Rockland, and none of our utility companies have hired competent demographers to make population projections for our county. No law prevents county government from doing this.

Once we know this, we can begin to evaluate the impact that this growth will have on our sewers, water supply and roads. No law prevents county government from doing this.

And once we have evaluated our infrastructural needs, we can evaluate the feasibility of these projects, estimate their costs and the ability of our county to pay for them. No law prevents county government from doing this.

I believe that we have failed to do any fact finding for a very simple reason: Our political leaders do not want to admit that we have very serious problems. If they did, they would have to spend less time putting their relatives and friends on the public payroll and more time making difficult and controversial decisions.