Written by George Maragos Friday, 04 January 2013 00:00
The adopted $2.8 billion Nassau County budget for fiscal year 2013 represents a 0.2 percent decrease in spending compared to the 2012 budget. For the third consecutive year, the budget holds the line on property taxes with no increase.
The budget is fiscally conservative containing only $60.1 million of revenue and expenditure items considered as having risk. This is the lowest amount of budgetary risk in over four years. The $60.1 million at risk is comprised of $39.1 million in possible lower revenues and $21 million in possible higher expense. This level of risk is about 2 percent of the total budget and should be manageable.
Using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) as defined by the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA), the projected risk is $125.1 million. However, the NIFA GAAP risk still represents an 11 percent improvement over 2012 and a 32 percent improvement from 2009. The distinction between the risk as presented under the budgetary basis and the NIFA GAAP basis is attributable to the different treatment of certain revenues and expenses. NIFA GAAP excludes certain income from investments, bond premiums and bond proceeds used to pay expenditures.
The adopted 2013 budget continues the improving fiscal trends established over the last three years by:
• Reducing the Structural Gap to less than $35 million, an 86 percent improvement from the peak in 2009 of $252 million;
• Controlling spending to just 1.3 percent over recurring revenues, the lowest margin since 2004;
• Reducing borrowing to $140 million, approximately 44 percent lower than the average annual borrowing over the prior 5 years, primarily for capital project investments.
The principal budgetary challenges facing the county are its low fund balance, which stood at $40.5 million at the end of 2011, the continuing skyrocketing pension contributions, and the unrelenting increases in state and federal mandated costs. At the same time, the county revenues are essentially flat due to the weak economy. The rating agencies have noted these challenges, evidenced by a Moody’s downgrade in October. The administration, NIFA and the legislature need to work together to address these growing challenges in 2013 and beyond.
Saturday, 07 December 2013 00:00
Eleni Pitzel has lived in East Williston since 1975, having raised five children. Prior to that, she and her family lived in Floral Park. Pitzel is a longtime club member, and served as corresponding secretary for two years.
Pitzel has been the club’s art instructor for four years; she also teaches art at St. Paul’s Orthodox Cathedral in West Hempstead. “My artistic skills are a gift from God, and from that gift I give back to others,” Pitzel said.
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
A new proposal by interim Town of North Hempstead Supervisor John Riordan seeks to hike pay for elected officials. Riordan's plan would have board members’ salaries jump by $15,000 to a total of $55,000, an increase of approximately 37.5 percent. Other proposed salaries would be $138,000 for the supervisor, $115,000 for the receiver of taxes and $105,000 for the town clerk.
Riordan introduced the proposal at the last town board meeting, on Nov. 19, requesting that a resolution be placed on the agenda setting Dec. 10 for a public hearing to consider the adoption of an amendment that would enable the salary increases for the 2014 calendar year.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
MAA Travel Soccer teams wrapped up their respective fall 2013 seasons recently. Two MAA teams won titles this season in the Long Island Junior Soccer League; the BU13 Mineola Empire went 9-0-1 and the GU14 Red Bulls enjoyed a 8-1-1 campaign to each win first place trophies. The GU11 Honey Badgers went undefeated (6-0-2) and finished in second place in their division, as did the GU15 Mini-Mustangs with a 7-1-1 season record.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The Mineola 12U fall intramural baseball team celebrated their fall season and tournament championship with a pizza party/awards dinner on Nov. 20. In addition to celebrating a great fall season and tournament championship, the boys were treated to an inspirational talk by coach Ken Conrade, the 2013 New York State High School Coach of the Year.
Conrade, the Kellenberg Memorial High School assistant principal for academics and girls varsity softball coach, was the keynote speaker for the awards dinner. He presented a very talked about baseball and youth sports.
Conrade’s talk was framed around each inning of a baseball game. He used stories and examples from the first to an extra “10th inning” to drive home both a sports and life lesson. For example, as part of the seventh inning stretch, he had each player stand up, stretch their legs and then go and thank their parents for their support and commitment to their baseball playing.