Cuts Spending While Delivering Services
By Eden Laikin
Mineola, NY – For the fourth consecutive year, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano offered a No-Property Tax Increase Budget that reduces spending and continues to deliver important services for residents.
County officials cited “aggressive fiscal management and a continued commitment to spending cuts” as the reasons County Executive Mangano has managed to cut over $330 million in wasteful spending from Nassau’s budget while steadily closing the $378 million in budget deficits inherited from the prior administration.
“This budget protects families and seniors while also paving the way for continued economic growth by holding the line on property taxes for a fourth year in a row and by cutting spending so that we never return to the poor fiscal policies of the past,” said County Executive Mangano. “After three hard years of shared sacrifice, Nassau County is on a firm, stable path because of the tough and difficult choices we’ve made to cut spending and implement successful public-private partnerships. The progress we have made over the past three years ensures we never return to the days in which Nassau taxed too high, spent too much and reformed too little.”
The devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene and the lingering economic impacts from the recent recession have created great financial challenges for residents. By freezing property taxes, and eliminating the costly home energy tax, County Executive Mangano has saved taxpayers $495 million from the financial plan of the prior administration.
The Mangano administration has successfully reduced spending even while pension costs have more than doubled since County Executive Mangano assumed office and health insurance costs for family coverage have escalated to $21,000 per County employee in 2014.
“Faced with these harsh realities, I chose to cut expenses rather than tax already overburdened County residents,” Mangano said. The County’s budgeted workforce is 7,395 positions for 2014 – a 20.4% reduction from 2009 authorized levels. “The choices made were tough, but necessary to protect and energize the local economy,” he added.
Mangano said public-private partnerships have played a vital role in controlling costs and restoring the County’s finances. On January 1, 2012, the Mangano administration entered into a successful bus public-private partnership with Veolia Transportation that delivers bus service to Nassau residents at a cost that is $33 million less than what the MTA proposed and provides significant operational benefits. The Mangano administration was also able to generate savings for taxpayers by privatizing the delivery of inmate healthcare services at the Nassau County Correctional Center. The initiative with Armor Correctional Health Services commenced in 2011 and is generating annual savings of $7 million.
Unemployment in July fell below 6%, at 5.9%, for the first time since 2008. Nassau’s unemployment number is lower than both New York State and National numbers, which are 7.6% and 7.7% respectively.
County officials also noted the thousands of jobs County Executive Mangano has retained and created while in office, for helping restore Nassau’s financial stability. Hain Celestial chose to move its International Headquarters and its 500 jobs to Nassau County. Arizona Beverage Company, a cornerstone of the food and beverage industry, chose to keep its home in Nassau when it outgrew its corporate headquarters and needed a new facility. Nassau County is becoming the Hollywood East of the film and television production industry as Grumman Studios and Gold Coast Studios are both helping to contribute over $140 million annually in economic benefit to the local economy. “These are signs that businesses are willing to put their faith in Nassau County,” Mangano said.
Most recently, County Executive Mangano announced Bruce Ratner and his Nassau Events Center team as the winning developer for the renovation and continued operation of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In addition to creating new jobs and benefiting the local economy, this project is expected to “keep Nassau County as a destination for world class sporting events, concerts and family entertainment for generations to come.,” according to County officials.
“Reforms over the past four years have truly set forward a path of recurring savings without the need for recurring property tax hikes,” concluded County Executive Mangano.