Written by George Maragos Thursday, 19 September 2013 00:00
The financial condition of the County continues to improve by all fundamental measures, primarily due to the improving economy and cost controls instituted by the Mangano administration. From residents’ point of view, the County’s improved financial state is reflected in the county portion of their property tax bill, which has not increased in the last four years.
The mid-year financial projections for 2013 indicate that the County will end the year with a $5.6 million budgetary surplus. This follows on the heels of 2012’s surplus of $41.5 million, now confirmed by independent auditors. These budget surpluses are due to increased sales tax revenues from the improving economy (up 10.4 percent year to date) and reduced Social Service costs due to lower unemployment (down to 6 percent, one of the lowest rates in New York State and lower than that of Suffolk County and New York City.)
All other financial fundamentals also continue to improve, including the structural gap, property tax refunds due to assessment corrections and the County’s long term debt. I’ll address these three points in turn.
The County’s structural gap (the difference between current expenses and recurring revenues) continues its year-over-year improvement since 2009. The structural gap is projected at a seven year low of $54.4 million, down from $116.9 million in 2012 — a 53.5 percent improvement over one year ago - and down from $251.6 million in 2009 — a 78.4 percent improvement over four years.
The County’s growing liability for property tax refunds appears to have been addressed and is expected to decline. The County’s average payouts have been reduced to about $60.3 million annually for the last four years, down from an annual average of $93 million under the previous administration. This decrease does not come at the expense of homeowners: it is due to a more aggressive policy on the part of the Mangano Administration of challenging commercial grievances.
It is worth noting, given the public debate about the county debt, that the long term debt increased only modestly due to 47 percent lower new borrowing over the last four years compared with the period of 2006-2009. The total projected year end 2013 debt of $3.595 billion is quite manageable and only about 30 percent higher than the annual budgetary revenues of the County. Most families manage mortgages that are 300 percent to 400 percent of their family’s annual income.
Although the County’s financial fundamentals have improved by all measures, the County continues to face fiscal challenges. The wage freeze currently challenged in the courts is the greatest potential liability, estimated at $230 million by year’s end. To protect the County’s improving financial state, the County needs to address this risk in the 2014 Multi-Year Plan or resolve it through collective bargaining.
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
For some people, giving back provides an inherent reward through the simple satisfaction of helping others. Garden City resident Gregory Burke is one of those people. A known philanthropist and supporter of various important causes, Burke’s gift to Winthrop-University Hospital is no exception to his generosity.
Recently, Burke presented Kevin T. Curran, member of Winthrop’s Board of Directors, with a $25,000 gift in support of the hospital’s new Research and Academic Center. The center, scheduled to be completed in late 2014, will focus on the research of diabetes, obesity and the cardiometabolic complications that arise from those conditions, as well as other pressing national and local health issues, including reducing premature births and treating conditions related to aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
Submitted by Garden City Public School District
The Garden City Public School District is aware that parents and residents have questions about the implementation of the new Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) and other recent state mandates. To help explain this initiative, the school district is introducing a new “Question of the Week” feature. The complete listing of the questions and answers will be posted on the district website at http://www.gardencity.k12.ny.us, under “Common Core FAQs.”
We begin this feature below:
What is the Common Core?
The Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) are guidelines for what students should know and be able to do at various points in their school careers. The standards are designed to promote critical thinking, encourage a deep understanding of content, and build skills with the goal of enabling all students to be college-and-career ready by the end of 12th grade. The CCLS were developed by a large, distinguished panel of experts from diverse universities and educators working in the field. They were based upon “some of the best standards covered from States across the country, as well as from other nations and extensive research on what’s needed to succeed in jobs and higher education.” The Common Core has been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The 36th Annual Garden City Turkey Trot was held on a sunny but cold and windy Thanksgiving day. The frigid temperatures were no match for the more than 5,000 runners who ran in Long Island’s largest Thanksgiving day road race. The Turkey Trot consists of three races—a Challenger Division Race for courageous special needs athletes, a 1.4-mile Fun Run and a challenging 5-mile race.
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 12:19
Knowing they were facing off against a very physical team which had made the States for the last two consecutive years, the Garden City Wings Varsity Ice Hockey teammates discussed strategies in the locker room at the Bethpage Ice Arena. Alex Feinstein’s past netminding experiences for the Sailors would prove valuable to them as he drew upon his insight in how to compete against them effectively. Playing with the Garden City Wings team, together they crushed the Oceanside Sailors 7-2, earning their first Varsity win of the season in Nassau County High School Hockey League. Feinsten faced 30 shots while his teammates unloaded 24 on the opposing goalie.