This week in the Villages: We take a look at the next redistricting battle you should be paying attention to in Rockland County. Plus, your weekly weather prediction, Covid updates, upcoming meetings and much more! What do you think we should be covering in your village? Send us stories, ideas, pictures and feedback at email@example.com. Read about our plans for the future here.
An $800 million budget with district lines yet to be drawn
Much (digital) ink was spilled, here and elsewhere, over the tumultuous Congressional redistricting effort that ended with chaotic game of musical chairs and in-fighting among Democrats.
But there’s another legislative body — with a nearly $800 million budget — that is also going through a redistricting process: Rockland County.
On Tuesday, the county’s Special Committee for Redistricting meets at 5 pm in the Legislature’s Chambers, 11 New Hempstead Road in New City, to discuss new redistricting maps.
Let’s briefly look at what this means for Rockland’s legislative future.
Every 10 years, most legislatures (federal, state, county, city, etc.) around the country re-draw district lines to reflect population changes.
According to its by-laws, each district in Rockland should be “roughly” the same size, about 20,000 people (or 19,918 to be exact), based on 2020 census data. Right now, those districts are somewhat disproportionate, with one district containing around 17,000 people and another with more than 24,000, so some adjustment is needed.
While legally-speaking, they will try to make the districts more even population-wise, it remains to be seen how they will re-draw the lines. Will they favor one party over another? Will they favor one demographic group or religious body over another?
For those unfamiliar with redistricting efforts, when certain groups are favored and given power (or when power is taken from a group) during re-districting, it’s called “gerrymandering.”
Despite laws being on the books to prevent the dilution of the voting power for “communities of interest” during the re-districting process, gerrymandering remains a huge problem and often leads to legislation that is out of step with popular opinion. (Look at what’s going on in Ohio, where a near total ban on abortion is at odds with their electorate.)
According to some political observers, Rockland County’s district lines in 2012 were drawn to favor Hassidic communities at the expense of other groups comprised of people of color.
While Republicans control the Rockland County executive office, Democrats hold a slim 9-8 majority in the legislature. (Click here to meet all 17 county legislators.)
All of these candidates will be up for re-election in 2023, an off year as far as election cycles go, which usually depresses turnout. That means every vote will be important, wherever you stand on the political spectrum.
Although they won’t be taking public comment directly at the meeting, you can watch the meeting live on the county’s YouTube channel and send in your thoughts via email, firstname.lastname@example.org; regular mail: Clerk to the Rockland County Legislature, 11 New Hempstead Road, New City, NY 10956; or drop off at the Legislature’s offices during business hours (9 am to 5 pm, weekdays).
If the Redistricting Committee adopts the maps and the law on Tuesday, the process moves to the full Legislature for final adoption following public hearings scheduled for Sept. 7 and Sept. 8 in New City.
You can email comments to email@example.com (or mail or hand-deliver them) up until 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 8.
For more information, visit the county’s official redistricting page.
Also, if you’re interested in running, legislators make about $65,000 a year and only have to attend three meetings a month. Not bad!
Quote of the Week
In other relevant news
- Here’s our rundown of Sean Patrick Maloney’s primary victory in the 17th congressional district over Alessandra Biaggi.
- Here’s LoHud’s local primary election wrap up.
- Nancy Cutler reports on polio vaccination rates in Rockland County for LoHud.
- Some leftovers from last week:
- Due to “dry conditions” that have led to “unprecedented” flow levels in the Ramapo River, Rockland County declared a Stage 2 water emergency and is restricting water usage for lawns and gardening.
- Lawns: Lawns may be watered twice a week only on specified days. Properties with odd numbered addresses may water lawns during specific hours only on Mondays and Thursdays. Properties with even numbered addresses may water lawns during specific hours on Tuesdays and Fridays. Watering hours are between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. for automatic, in-ground irrigation systems. For manual sprinklers or hose fed irrigation the hours are between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. (NOTE: this schedule supersedes the schedule stated in the Rockland County Sanitary Code section 184.108.40.206)
- Gardening: Flower gardens, vegetable gardens and landscaped areas (trees, shrubs, potted plants or other outdoor plants) can be watered during specified hours every other day of the month according to property address. Properties with odd numbered addresses may water on odd days of the month (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc.) and properties with even numbered addresses may water on even days of the month (2, 4, 6, 8, etc.). Watering hours are between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., for automatic, in-ground irrigation systems. For manual sprinklers or hose fed irrigation the hours are between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- If you haven’t read it yet, please check our vision for the future of Nyack News & Views and how you can help build our coverage and capacity.
- ICYM Our Stuff: Bill Batson’s latest “Nyack Sketch Log”, Mike Hays’ most recent “Nyack People & Places”; and our coverage in last week’s “The Villages”.
Some rain in the forecast Tuesday and then mostly clear skies and temperatures in the mid- to high-80s for the rest of the week. [National Weather Service]
Covid Update (as of Aug. 15)
Severe cases and hospitalizations in the greater Nyack area have leveled off. As of August 15, the CDC is now classifying Rockland County at a “low” Covid threat level.
- The county is reporting 2.45 gross hospitalization per 100,000 people (up from 2.64 on Aug. 8).
- Hospital capacity, however, is not threatened.
- A total of 34 people (up from 32 last week) in Rockland county were hospitalized for Covid related issues; 22 of those patients were symptomatic.
- With zero recorded recently, Rockland’s Covid-related death total remains at 1,199.
- To find out what case and hospitalization trends look like in your town, click here.
- Here’s the CDC’s data on Rockland.
- Get free at-home Covid tests sent to your home, visit Covidtest.gov. Or pick them up at Village Hall in Nyack, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
- More than 81.8% of eligible people in Rockland County are vaccinated with at least one dose. To schedule an appointment for a 1st dose, 3rd dose (for immunocompromised), or booster COVID-19 vaccine from any Rockland County Department of Health Clinic visit rocklandgov.com/departments/health/. To search for additional COVID-19 vaccination opportunities nearby visit vaccines.gov.
- Find a COVID-19 testing site near you, by visiting coronavirus.health.ny.gov. Individuals who have questions regarding eligibility or access for testing should call the New York State COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or visit the NYSDOH website covid19screening.health.ny.gov.
- Here’s the list of all upcoming meetings posted for the Village of Nyack.
- The budget workshops are all wrapped up. If you haven’t seen it, take a look at the second draft of Nyack’s Appropriations budget (what they plan to spend). And the second draft of their Revenue budget (how they make their money). Not clear how or if it all those numbers have changed, but we’ll keep you updated. As of now, the budget is $6,055,600.91 coming in and going out 2022-2023.
- Drop off humanitarian aid for victims of the war in Ukraine (, including first aid, painkillers, blankets, baby food, diapers, non-perishable food, antibiotics and more, at Village Hall, 9 N. Broadway (or at the Orangetown town hall, 26 W. Orangeburg Rd.).
- Click here for updates from the Village of Upper Nyack.
- Check out the draft chapters of Orangetown’s new 2022 Comprehensive Plan.
- ICYMI: Here’s the official resolution Orangetown enacted with regards to the sale of two South Nyack properties, which appears to say the proceeds will go toward wiping out South Nyack’s debt, which is what South Nyack officials were lobbying for as the dissolution date approached.
- Help limit greenhouse gasses and curb pollution by joining this new food scraps recycling program.
- Check out the Orangetown YouTube channel, and this video of a recent special town board meeting, which included renderings of a new town hall.
- The Technical Advisory Committee, which “evaluates the technical adequacy of land development applications and decides their readiness for Planning Board review,” meets most Wednesdays, including Wednesday 8/24, from 10 am to noon, in the town hall’s Historic Map Room.
- For a calendar list of all Clarkstown meetings and events, click here.
Other Local Updates
South Nyack advocates have filed a petition with the town of Orangetown seeking to show support for a new Elizabeth Place Playground — the grassy play area and dog park just south of 87 and right off the Esposito trail. After South Nyack dissolved in March, the town found the playground equipment at Elizabeth Place was unsafe and not compliant with ADA regulations and removed it. A new ADA compliant park has been proposed and advocates want to see the proposal approved and implemented. Click here to read and/or sign the petition.
- Let your voice be heard about Nyack public schools by filling out this “Community Pulse” survey.
- Applications are now being accepted for universal pre-K and full-day kindergarten.
- Masks are currently optional for all students and staff in all Nyack district schools.
- Find out what else is going on in Nyack-area schools at Home Page – Nyack Public Schools (nyackschools.org)
A rare polio case was recently discovered in Rockland County. Here’s some info on how to protect yourself:
- New Yorkers can pre-register for a free polio vaccination appointment here or call 845-238-1956 to schedule. Walk-ins will also be accepted.
- Vaccines are also available through local healthcare providers, including Federally Qualified Health Centers.
- For more information on polio including symptoms and spread, visit NYSDOH’s page here.
- New Yorkers can learn more about the polio vaccine available in the U.S. at CDC’s page here.
- The Reviving Rockland Restaurants Grant Program will reimburse businesses between $5,000 and $25,000 for past expenses or fund future expenses for eligible outdoor dining COVID-19 mitigation equipment. Eligible entities include restaurants, food stands, food trucks, bars, saloons, lounges, taverns, bakeries, delis, cafes, breweries, wineries, and other similar places of business. For more information and to download an application visit rocklandgov.com.
- Fill out this survey to help the county provide better digital services.
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