Written by Betsy Abraham Thursday, 21 March 2013 00:00
Howard Weitzman decided he wasn’t done being Nassau County comptroller.
Weitzman, who was county comptroller from 2001 to 2009, is running again for the position, saying that he can bring a much-needed transparency and change to Nassau County’s finances.
Weitzman, a CPA, said in a roundtable discussions with Anton Community Newspapers in Mineola last week, that he was able to save the county millions through conducting police department audits and making changes in the county health insurance. When the re-election came around in 2009, he found himself unable to campaign, after being diagnosed with a rare blood disease. Though he did not campaign one day of the campaign, Weitzman lost by only 800 votes.
“That’s not going to happen this time,” Weitzman says.
Today, Wetizman says he is perfectly healthy and is running for what he calls a “re-election” with the full support of both his family and doctors. He says that what sets him apart from other contenders such as incumbent George Maragos and Nassau County legislator Wayne Wink is his past record.
“They can see what my record was. People can say anything, it’s what they do that counts,” Weitzman said.
Weitzman says that the county has no financial plan in place and while they may not have raised taxes, everything is falling apart and finances are near insolvency.
“By glossing over (the county’s problems) everyone has a feel good feeling and doesn’t know a change has to be made,” he said.
The role of the comptroller is to review the county executives plan to see how realistic it is. According to Weitzman, the comptroller serves as a watchdog, to make sure the county’s finances are staying on track.
“The taxpayer will have a voice again. They’ll have somebody with the skill set, background, and experience to use for the benefit of the district,” Weiztman said.
When asked about the future of Nassau Coliseum, Weitzman says that the Islanders leaving is about a lot more than losing a sports franchise.
“The perception is much worse than the reality. It sends out a message that you can’t do business in Nassau County. We couldn’t even keep a sports franchise here. That’s a horrible message to send,” Weitzman says.
Weitzman also noted how important it was to make Nassau County more hospitable to the younger generation. With the recent surge in communities looking to strengthen their downtowns, Weitzman says that the key is in building around railroad stations, a model that has been hugely successful in other Nassau County towns.
“If you look at the most successful communities in Nassau County, they all follow the same model. Railroad stations downtown, multiple family dwellings surrounding that, and single family homes around that. It can all exist together,” Weitzman said.