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Fitch Ratings Upgrades Rockland County’s General Obligation Bond Rating from “AA-” to “AA+; Hudson Gateway Presents $1,000 Donation to Rockland Homes for Heroes; Briefs

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Fitch Ratings Upgrades Rockland County’s General Obligation Bond Rating from “AA-” to “AA+

Fitch Ratings Upgrades Rockland County’s General Obligation Bond Rating from “AA-” to “AA+. The upgraded ratings mean that when the county borrows money to fund capital projects, it can do so at a lower cost; saving taxpayer dollars.

“I vowed to restore Rockland to a position of fiscal responsibility and strength; through conservative budgeting and strict fiscal discipline we have achieved that,” said County Executive Ed Day.

He credited county employees “for their dedication and hard work that transformed Rockland into one of the fiscally strongest counties in the entire state.”

County Legislature Chairman Jay Hood Jr. said outside financial experts “verify that county government remains on the right track when it comes to managing our finances.”

This rating increase follows the county completing payments of the $96 million deficit bond back in March. The rating report gave Rockland a positive outlook writing, the grade is supported by its “high midrange budgetary flexibility and a continued trend of structurally balanced operations.”

The report cited “new management and new financial policies had contributed to the county’s improved financial position since 2013.”

Hudson Gateway REALTOR® Foundation Presents $1,000 Donation to Rockland Homes for Heroes

The Hudson Gateway REALTOR® Foundation, the charitable arm of the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS®, presented a check for $1,000 to Rockland Homes for Heroes. Rockland Homes for Heroes is a 501c3 charitable organization that develops permanent supportive housing for honorably discharged veterans both male and female, who are homeless, disabled or at risk of homelessness in the mid-Hudson Valley.

Founded in 2009, the organization is led exclusively by volunteers – many of whom are veterans – with decades of service to the local community.

“Rockland Homes for Heroes enjoys incredible support from the community, especially the real estate community,” said John Allen Murphy, a veteran whose non-profit human care charity manages the 24-hour operation.

In November 2013, the nonprofit completed Phase I of their master plan, with construction of eight permanent, affordable supportive housing units on the historic seven-and-a-half-acre property known as Camp Shanks in Tappan during World War II.

Phase II, including an additional 14 supportive housing units, has recently been completed. Each one-bedroom apartment is optimized for individuals with disabilities, including mobility, hearing, and visual impairment. The units also feature modern kitchens, bathrooms, and washer/dryers. All are Energy Star efficient and use green building methods to reduce energy consumption. The $4 million project was funded by private donations as well as funding from New York State agencies. Subsequent donations will be used for the upkeep and maintenance of the property.

Since 2014, the Hudson Gateway Realtor® Foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities and non-profits throughout the Hudson Valley.

For more information or to apply for funding from the Hudson Gateway REALTOR® Foundation, please visit

State Education Department Awards $2.4 Million To Expand Universal Prekindergarten (UPK)

The North Rockland Central School District was awarded $2,454,359 in state funding to expand opportunities for local families to access free Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) programs. The competitive grant award – among the largest of 64 New York State Education Department (NYSED) awards across New York – will enable the district to establish new full-day prekindergarten placements (seats) or to convert existing placements from half- to full-day.

“We know that many children in our school community need additional support before starting kindergarten and we’re confident that this additional funding will help meet some of those needs,” said North Rockland Central School District Superintendent Kris Felicello, Ed. D. “This investment by NYSED will move North Rockland forward in the critical work of improving outcomes for our children and families.”

The $2.4 million in state dollars will allow North Rockland to convert 200 half-day UPK seats into full-day seats. The grant award will also add 150 full-day Universal Prekindergarten placements to be accessed by local families.

The new funding will add to the $440,528 the district received last year from NYSED which converted 60 half-day seats to full-day seats and added ten full-day placements.

In the 2024-25 academic year, the North Rockland Central School District will offer 480 full-day placements and 23 half-day placements.

All public-school districts in New York State were eligible to apply for this competitive grant opportunity. Grants were awarded based upon a district’s plan to serve a community’s highest need schools and students; the level of existing prekindergarten services; the extent to which a district planned to maximize the total number of eligible four-year-old children served in its programs; and other factors. Awarded school districts will be able to operate a 180-day program during the 2024-25 school year.

In New York State, UPK is a state and federally funded prekindergarten program offered to families free of charge. The only eligibility requirement for UPK in New York State is a child’s residency and age. In districts where UPK is available, entry is based on a lottery system and not all families who register are guaranteed a spot. For more information on UPK in North Rockland, visit or call (845) 942-3493