I knew Nassau County’s finances were bad but I never knew how bad until I became County Executive in January 2010.
I soon learned I had inherited from Tom Suozzi a 2010 budget with a $133 million deficit, that spending was wasteful and out of control, that Suozzi had given the public employee unions extravagant labor contracts, that these contracts prevented the county from laying off employees – even in difficult economic times, that borrowing was commonplace – driving the county further and further into debt each year, and that – while the 2010 budget was bad – Suozzi’s spending and union giveaways would drive future budgets even deeper into debt.
My office recently released reports that found the county will end 2010 with a small surplus and that the 2011 budget is balanced according to Government Accounting Standards. The 2011 budget includes the elimination of a property tax increase, which was planned by the prior Administration and continues the repeal of the 2.5 percent energy tax. Also, two of the three rating agencies have declared the county financial health as stable and only one has reduced it by a single notch acknowledging the difficult economic conditions facing all counties and certain risk items in the county’s 2011 budget, namely labor concessions.
(Editor’s Note: This letter from County Executive Edward Mangano is in response to the Dec. 23 letter “Setting the Record Straight” from Dr. Ranier W. Melucci, President of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents and Superintendent of Schools in the Merrick School District.)
For 11 years of my life I lived in Roslyn and attended Roslyn Elementary School and then Roslyn Jr. High and Roslyn High School. It was a wonderful place to grow up. One incident from my childhood, however, disturbs me.
In a letter in the Friday, Dec. 24 issue of The Roslyn News, “Setting the Records Straight,” Dr. Ranier W. Melucci writes about the hardships that will be created for local school districts by shifting the financial expense of paying county assessment errors from the county to local school districts. Additionally, Dr. Melucci seems displeased with Nassau County Executive Thomas P. Mangano’s recent “invitation for all Nassau County school districts to join the Long Island Purchasing Council (LIPC)…school districts have not joined this group and, in fact, most of our school districts have been advised by their own attorneys, because of questions of legality, that participation in the LIPC will subject the districts to significant restrictions that would be beneficial…The Nassau County superintendents and Boards of Education will continue to look for cost-saving measures, while continuing to provide our children with the education they need and deserve.”
(Submitted by the New York State School Board Association)
School districts across New York face a potential shortfall of $815 million per year over the next four years just in meeting personnel costs under a property tax cap, according to a report issued by the New York State School Boards Association.
Recently, Nassau County superintendents of schools received literature from County Executive Ed Mangano regarding his 2011 “No Property Tax Increase Budget.” As part of this proposed budget, Nassau County Legislators voted, strictly along party lines, to shift the financial expense of paying county assessment errors from Nassau County to the local school districts. We certainly agree that the assessment system is broken, however, shifting the responsibility to the school districts will not help fix it.
When it comes to historical paintings, especially of the Civil War, few artists have enjoyed the level of success achieved Oyster Bay resident Mort Künstler. The 79-year-old painter has tackled everything from movie posters to a space shuttle launch, and in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a collection of his related work will be on display at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn until January 9.
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