Friday, 23 April 2010 00:00(Editor’s Note: This letter is in response to a letter to the editor from the April 9 issue of the Farmingdale Observer, entitled, “Comptroller Should Audit Nassau Special Districts.”)
I am responding to Mr. Jason Dworkin’s letter to the editor of April 9, 2010 entitled “Comptroller Should Audit Nassau Special Districts” and believe that he has misunderstood my policy towards special districts. Mr. Dworkin indicates that I think it is “unnecessary to audit Nassau’s special districts and that this decision is reckless.”
The fact of the matter is my office is currently auditing your local South Farmingdale Water District.
The Comptroller’s Office has issued multiple special district audits in the last five years including a comprehensive analysis of comparative costs of all districts. These audits and studies are on our website http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Comptroller/index.html. The information concerning which special districts are efficient and which appear inefficient is available to everyone.
What we stated in our policy is that our focus in 2010 will be on the Nassau County agencies. We are auditing their operations in order to reduce costs and improve services for all Nassau County taxpayers. The county ended 2009 with a $250 million structural deficit and it is critical we look at the major expense areas within the county government to find the most cost savings for the taxpayer. I also stated we will be again auditing special districts in 2011.
Considering the poor performance of the county in many areas resulting in the large structural deficit, I felt that it would be unwise to advocate for the broad consolidation of all special districts into a new large county bureaucracy. There is no model offered to show that Nassau County can deliver the services provided by towns, villages or special districts more economically or efficiently in total. In fact, Nassau County has proven that it cannot operate within its own budget as it ended 2009 with a $250 million deficit and accumulated deficits of over $650 million in the last five years.
I acknowledged that some special districts have been unresponsive and abusive of the communities they serve. These practices should not and cannot be tolerated. My office will aid and support any community or community-led effort, which believes that it is in their best interests to dissolve or consolidate such a special district. I brought to everyone’s attention the newly enacted legislation that empowers residents or community groups to force an election that would consolidate or dissolve their special districts.
Lastly, I urge all residents to take an active interest in the operation of their special districts. Local residents can and should attend the monthly board meetings of all governmental units and take an active interest in the planning for operations and budgetary matters.
Nassau County Comptroller