Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 20 July 2012 00:00
Maragos said that the failure of both NIFA and the Democratic caucus to work with County Executive Edward P. Mangano and approve $43.1 million in bonding for property tax refunds caused the deficit to balloon. With such approval, he said the deficit for 2011 would be at only $7 million and the 2012 projected budget would be nearly balanced.
“The deficit in 2011 was avoidable,” Maragos reiterated, citing the failure to approve bonding legislation. “Similarly, the projected $45 million deficit in 2012 is partially the result of the anticipated failure of NIFA and the Legislative Minority to again approve the 2012 budgeted bonding for tax refunds. This ongoing lack of cooperation will continue to negatively affect the county.”
Maragos emphasized that the audited results will be finalized on July 30. He said that the county executive is expected shortly to release a revised budget. Maragos told reporters that the revised budget should find $85 million in savings, from a combination of spending reductions and revenue enhancements, but also without an increase in property taxes.
Maragos said that the unexpected deficit problem is “not insurmountable.” Otherwise, he said that county finances have seen improvements. Sales tax revenues, Maragos said, are expected to increase by 5 percent as opposed to the projected 3 percent. That, he added, has brought an extra $20 million to the county’s coffers. Maragos also said that the county’s cash flow basis remains “very healthy” and the deficit situation does not endanger any county employee.
In addition, Maragos said the budget’s 2011 Structural Gap improved for the second consecutive year by approximately 7.3 percent to $127.6 million, down from $137.6 million in 2010. The amount of general borrowings during 2011, he added, was reduced by approximately 75 percent from $324 million in 2009 to $82 million in 2011.
Still, Maragos said that the county needs to replenish its reserve funds by not just eliminating the deficit, but also by achieving a budget surplus in 2012. Benefits to a surplus, he said, would not just be higher credit ratings for the county, but also the ability to eventually phase out borrowing for property tax refunds. To do that, the county will have to achieve savings of $90 million, a number that would deal with both the 2011 and 2012 budgets. To achieve those savings, Maragos recommended that the county executive’s office should make additional budget cuts along with plans to “refocus” government on core functions: seek in-sourcing where possible, cancel all nonessential contractual services and maintenance contracts, halt all non-essential general expense purchases.
The press conference had partisan overtones and the responses were similar.
“The facts are that Ed Mangano has not achieved the projected savings he promised; he has given out tens of millions in crony contracts and wasted millions on baseless lawsuits; overtime in the county under his watch has run amok; he went back on his word to the youth and seniors in the county by cutting their funding; and he has consistently begged the legislature over and over to bail him out by borrowing and creating more and more deficits for years to come,” said Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D – Freeport). “The only real savings he was able to achieve was due to the wage freeze imposed by NIFA, which he initially fought. Of course with this type of blatant fiscal mismanagement he will end the year in a $50 million deficit. I am surprised it’s not more.”
“The Democrats created Nassau’s fiscal mess and have refused to provide the votes necessary to assist the county in fiscal recovery since losing their power over the legislature,” said County Executive Mangano. “I am certain every resident is nauseated at the Democrats thinly-veiled attempt to create fiscal chaos for their own political advantage. All know that I put forth a plan, approved by the majority in the legislature and NIFA, to put Nassau on road to fiscal health. It is outrageous that the Democrats have not provided one vote to implement this plan. Notwithstanding their reckless act, I am working closely with NIFA to modify the multi-year plan to attack the $310 million deficit I inherited when taking office. With bipartisan cooperation, the deficit has been eliminated. Instead, the Democrats have blocked the fiscal stability plan which merely creates more burden on our taxpayers, more cost to our county and greater fiscal challenges for those seeking their rightful property tax refund.”
Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00
A vehicle accident left a motorcyclist and his passenger dead following an accident on the New York State Thruway. The fatal motorcycle accident occurred at 1:10 a.m. on Sunday, June 2 near Exit 16 in Woodbury, the Associated Press reported.
According to officials, a Suzuki motorcycle operated by Rafaelito DeJesus, 23, of Valley Stream was headed north on the Thruway when he was hit by another vehicle.
Friday, 14 June 2013 00:00
The New York State Senate today passed a bill to protect young and inexperienced drivers by helping to remove distractions that could lead to accidents. The legislation. sponsored by Senator Carl Marcellin (R, Syosset), prohibits the use of cell phones—including hands-free devices—by drivers who hold learner’s permits.
“Young and inexperienced drivers, holding only a learner’s permit, are behind the wheel for one purpose—to learn how to safely operate a vehicle. These drivers need their full attention on the road and for the task of becoming a responsible driver,” said Senator Marcellino. “Even the best teenage drivers don’t have the judgment that comes with experience. Until a new driver has some skill and experience, the use of cell phones while driving should be banned.”
Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00
This spring, in anticipation of fielding their strongest Varsity Baseball squad since the program began eight years ago, Portledge decided to change leagues from IPPSAL (Independent Private and Parochial Schools Athletic League) to the Private School Athletic Association and Athletic Conference of Independent Schools (PSAA/ACIS Alliance), in hopes of finding stronger and more consistent competition. As a newcomer to the Alliance League, which consists of independent school teams from all over the metropolitan area, the Panthers were placed in the 10-team 2nd Division.
It didn’t take long for Portledge to demonstrate the rapidly developing quality of their baseball program, as the Panthers hammered their way to a regular season mark of 9 wins and 1 loss. Moving on to the league playoffs, Portledge quickly dispatched their quarter and semi-final foes before heading to the championship game against Bay Ridge Prep on May 21 at MCU (Municipal Credit Union) Park in Brooklyn.
Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00
The weather was blustery but hearts were warm at the SYAC Pony League All-Star Game, held at H.B. Thompson Middle School last month.
Thirty specially selected girls who play in the Pony League (grades 2-3) of SYAC Girls Softball put on a fine show for the bundled-up fans. They provided a barrage of hitting, combined with great fielding that ended rallies, sometimes by double plays. Eight dads who volunteer as coaches in the SYAC softball program, assisted the players.