Written by George Maragos Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00
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.
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 00:00
It’s been a long time since Nicole Shaw and Chris McCabe first met—years, in fact—but after taking a chance on each other, the couple realized that they were meant to be with
McCabe recently proposing to Shaw at Old Westbury Gardens’ annual Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns after six years of dating.
McCabe, now an NYPD officer, and Shaw, who works for Mill Neck Services for Deaf Adults, met in middle school and developed their friendship through high school, said Shaw.
Friday, 21 November 2014 00:00
The smell of pine, wood and scented candles greet customers with a sense of home as they cross the wooden threshold to the Amish Craft Barn in Seaford. There they will find dolls, birdhouses, quilts, ceramic turkeys, hand-painted Christmas trees, oak furniture and other seasonal and holiday tchotchkes.
Massapequa natives Frank and Pam Hoerauf started The Amish Craft Barn & Gift Shoppe 20 years ago after an inspiring visit to Pennsylvania.
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
The Island Trees Cross Country teams continue their improvement in 2014. This year the girls’ team has a record of 8-2 and with their victories over Clarke and Wheatley High Schools, they clinched the Division Championship for the first time in Island Trees High School history.
The girls are led by senior Captain Angela Brocco who has been rewriting the girl’s record boards. Brocco set the school record for the Warwick Valley 5000 meter course on Sept. 20.
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
This season the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team at Division Avenue has the rare ability to fill every position on the field with a member of the senior class. All 11 seniors have made contributions to the success of this year’s squad.