Written by Joe Rizza Friday, 12 March 2010 00:00
Saying that recurring expenses are outpacing recurring revenues in Nassau County, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano plans to cut county spending by outlining a plan he believes will save the county $49 million, the bulk of which will come from cuts to management and support positions in the county.
At a press conference, Mangano stated he is in the process of reviewing 47 county departments and making cuts to managerial and what he is calling support patronage positions.
Since taking office, Mangano, with the approval of the Nassau County Legislature, repealed the Home Energy Tax, which was instituted during the Tom Suozzi administration.
Nassau County will not receive the $19.8 million in revenue from the Home Energy Tax and according to Mangano, the county will most likely not receive $16 million in revenue from the proposed cigarette tax. In addition, according to Mangano, the county will not receive $12.7 million in sales tax revenue originally projected in the 2010 county budget, proposed by Suozzi and approved by the Democratic legislators.
In order to fill a projected $48.5 million budget gap in the 2010 budget, Mangano introduced his plan, which calls for $22 million in savings from the reduction of the workforce and $6 million that will come from a 10 percent cut from discretionary programs, among other initiatives, amounting to what the county executive believes will be $49 million in savings.
Mangano said he is in the process of reviewing the county’s departments and eliminating positions he feels are unnecessary as well as slashing salaries. For example, for the county’s Assessment Review Commission, six of the seven commissioners will be taking a $5,000 pay cut and see their salaries go from $20,000 to $15,000. One commissioner, Dolores Sedacca, who was earning $75,000, will see her salary reduced by $60,000 to $15,000. Sedacca was the Democratic candidate who ran against Nassau County Legislator Rich Nicolello in Nassau County’s 9th Legislative District this past November.
In some cases, positions were eliminated in various county departments. Savings from the county executive’s own department resulted in $1.7 million in savings, according to Mangano’s plan.
“We are focused on streamlining government,” Mangano said. “That has been our approach — cutting managerial level [positions] and reducing salaries. I am happy to report that after just eight weeks [of being in office], $9.6 million [in savings] have resulted from our review and reduction in the size of management here in Nassau County and that’s management and their associated support staff.”
Magano believes that his administration can cut wasteful spending and eliminate duplicative services. “We recognize the people cannot afford to continually fund government. We cannot look to the taxpayer for additional tax dollars,” he said. “This is the beginning of structural reform in Nassau County.”
Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt said the county executive and the Republican members of the County Legislature are fulfilling their promise to repeal the Home Energy Tax and cut “bloated patronage.”
Said Minority Leader of the Nassau County Legislature Diane Yatauro, “His plan is long on rhetoric and short on substance. The home energy tax repeal was signed into law shortly after Mr. Mangano took office, but he didn’t take action to make it effective immediately. So, we are still paying the tax. He hasn’t identified what County employees are in his proposed $22 million in staff savings. The suggestion of adding to our workforce and cutting county services must be carefully evaluated since these actions would have a negative affect on County taxpayers. NIFA, the taxpayers’ fiscal watchdog, had requested a revision of the multi-year plan to determine how the Mangano administration foresees County finances in the years ahead. He failed to provide that analysis.”
Mangano’s plan was presented to the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) for review.