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County Executive Edward Mangano Outlines Budget Reductions

Claims to balance budget without property tax increase

Recently, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos announced that the county’s unaudited 2011 budget deficit would reach $50.4 million. Maragos blamed the gap on failures to approve pending bonding legislation.

Maragos also said that County Executive Edward P. Mangano would be announcing a fresh round of budget reductions. And that is what happened at a press conference on Monday, July 23. There, Mangano, along with Maragos and Presiding Officer Peter J. Schmitt (R – Massapequa) outlined a $45 million deficit reduction plan, one that the county executive said would balance the budget without raising property taxes.

“These are real cuts,” Schmitt said. “[They are] painful cuts. We are going to do what we have to do.”

Flanked by an electronic message, “protecting the taxpayer,” the press conference listed several areas of proposed savings. They include workforce reduction ($10 million), canceling discretionary contracts ($3.8 million), canceling capital improvement projects ($19 million) and canceling non-mandated contracts and departmental purchases ($12.2 million).

The press conference also touted past reductions, including reducing employee headcounts, public-private partnerships, energy efficiencies, department consolidation and slashing “wasteful” equipment.

Mangano said the county would be shedding “dozens” of capital improvement plans, with purchasing programs also being cancelled. He added that the county workforce would be reduced by 200 positions; jobs in many cases were manned by employees already reaching retirement age. Although he reiterated that there would be no property tax increase, Mangano did admit that there would be “some fee increases.” The plan also calls for the canceling of evening hours at the Nassau County Department of Social Services and Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency.

At his own press conference, Maragos blamed both the Democratic caucus and NIFA for failing to approve bonding legislation. Monday’s press conference provided for more partisanship.

“Families that work hard, play by the rules and live within their means deserve better than to be left with higher tax bills,” Mangano said. “Today’s plan keeps Nassau’s fiscal recovery on track while protecting residents from a property tax hike.”

“The Democrats have not provided a single vote to implement Nassau’s fiscal recovery as they simply want to create fiscal chaos and force a property tax hike unless their political demands are met,” Schmitt said. “We will balance this budget by making further cuts to county government.”

“Since he took office, Ed Mangano’s penchant for over-promising and under-delivering, complete inability to manage the budget and over-reliance on borrowing have driven Nassau County deeper and deeper into debt,” said Democratic Leader Kevan Abrahams (D – Freeport). “These drastic cuts are his latest attempt to bail himself out of the hole he’s buried us in. He says he is canceling discretionary county contracts. He needs to tell us how many of his political benefactors’ contracts are part of that list.”