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Nassau County Comptroller’s Report: June 21, 2013

Last week my office released the County’s 2012 year-end unaudited fiscal results and reported that the County is expected to end with a budgetary surplus of $41.6 million. The audited results are expected to be released by June 30, 2013. These results include $9.7 million in unanticipated costs representing the County’s 10% portion of Superstorm Sandy related expenditures. The surplus will now go to replenishing our reserve fund, which will increase to approximately $82 million.

The 2012 budgetary surplus was achieved by controlling expenses, refinancing debt at lower rates, imposing a nonessential hiring and wage freeze, and challenging property tax grievances.  The improving economy also helped by increasing sales tax income, which is the biggest source of County revenues.

Although the County manages and reports on a budgetary basis, it also reports its year-end results in additional accounting methods as required by various regulatory organizations. Under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) as required for governmental financial reporting, the County’s unaudited results end with a surplus of $28.8 million. Under a method prescribed by the Nassau Finance Interim Authority (NIFA) which excludes other financing revenues, the County expects to end 2012 with a negative $85.5 million.

In each of these methods, however, the County performance has improved since 2009 under the previous Administration. On a governmental GAAP, the County result has improved by 150%. On a NIFA presentation, it has improved by 54% compared to the negative $184.3 million recorded in 2009.  

The Structural Gap, which has been used historically to measure the financial health of the County, has also continued to improve for the third consecutive year. The Structural Gap has progressively declined to $115.5 million from $251.6 million in 2009, a 54% improvement. The Structural Gap is the difference between recurring revenues and expenses, and excludes non-recurring items that are customarily used to arrive at the budgetary balance, such as borrowings, and extraordinary items.

The amount of new borrowing by the County during 2012 was held at $191.7 million, approximately 40% less than in 2009. This borrowing was used primarily for termination pay and capital projects.

Continuing the financial improvements will present major challenges to the County going forward. State mandates will continue to present increasing burdens to the County and all other counties unless Albany takes action to control the ever-growing costs associated with Medicaid, pensions and unfunded mandates. The improving economy will help but it is not expected to generate sufficient additional sales tax revenues to offset these rising costs. Additionally, the wage freeze court challenge and the growing property tax liability are additional risks that may have an impact to the County’s operations going forward and must be addressed by the Administration and the Legislature in the 2014.

On a positive note, however, the estimated new property tax liabilities added in 2012 were $58 million, the lowest since 2008, and highlights the improvements in the Assessment System introduced with the Four Year Cycling Assessment Formula.

News

Negotiations are currently underway between the Village of Farmingdale and members of the local CSEA labor union. After a closed door executive session meeting, on Jan. 6, village trustees met with members of the labor counsel to iron out terms of a new contract proposal, which they said will hopefully meet the fancy of union leaders. 

 

“We have sent our proposals out there,” said Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand, “we are just waiting for the CSEA membership to approve it.”

A new Child Care Centerfor children ages eight weeks through Pre-K—opened at Farmingdale State College this week, which will be open to the community and the college campus. 

 

“The College owes a great deal of thanks to everyone involved in this project,” said Farmingdale State College President Hubert Keen. “This center provides a safe and nurturing environment for the children of our students, faculty and staff.

Especially for our students, the availability of quality child care can determine whether or not they are able to complete their education.”


Sports

On Saturday, November 9, the MHS Girls Swim Team competed in the Nassau County Team Championships. After a strong preliminary performance on Friday, the girls had their sights set on swimming even faster on Saturday at the finals. On Friday, Manhasset qualified 14 individual swims in the top 10 and all three relays. The team also had an additional 7 swims in the consolation finals (places 11-20). On Saturday, the top 20 individuals and relays compete in each event, all finishers scoring points towards their team total.

In the championship’s opening event, the 200 yd. medley relay team from Manhasset set the tone for what turned out to be a historic day in Manhasset Girls Swimming. The relay team of Grace Kenlon, Allegra Sodi, Megan Smith and Meredith Johnson finished third and set a new school record time of 1:51.96, also qualifying for the New York State Championships.

Second at Counties, State Quals as Weilep Qualifies for State Meet

The Indians' regular season came to a close recently, but not before the boys locked up several more post-season honors to complete a highly successful campaign that brought an undefeated season as well as Division and Conference Championships. Manhasset headed into the post-season with high aspirations and battled it out with rival Wantagh High School for two weekends in a row—at both the Class Country Championships and the State Qualification race—coming up just short on both occasions, but achieving many milestones along the way.


Calendar

Champions for Charity

Thursday, December 5

Mens' Club Luncheon

Thursday, December 5

Holiday Tree Lighting

Friday, December 6



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com