By Eden Laikin
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano delivered his 6th State of the County Address last night, touting accomplishments made by his administration throughout his tenure, including: the creation and retention of 20,000 new private sector jobs; the building of nearly 3,500 new apartments near transit areas throughout Nassau; not raising County property taxes “one net dime” since taking office in 2010; a 60% improvement in the budget, which had a $378 million deficit when he took office; Nassau having the lowest unemployment rate in the region; and the status of being a national leader in Public-Private Partnerships.
Mangano said these projects were accomplished, mainly, with private financing, while allowing County residents to enjoy the benefits of the facilities and receive subsidies from the management. One partnership he highlighted was the privately financed reconstruction of the Nassau Coliseum, which he said would result in about $10 billion of economic activity. He said the construction would begin this year and will transform the aged building into a state of the art sports and entertainment destination, which would feature pro-basketball, heavyweight boxing and several NY Islanders games. It would also employ 2,700 people. He also said the Islanders expect to build a new practice facility and corporate headquarters in Nassau and he implied that there might be interest on the part of the hockey team, to return here to a renovated arena. Lastly he said the County was close to a deal with Memorial Sloan Kettering to build a cancer treatment facility at the HUB.
He delivered news that Long Beach residents would once again have a mental health clinic in the community – to replace the one destroyed by Superstorm Sandy – thanks to more than $2 million in state funding his administration has secured. The $2.7 million from the New York State Office of Mental Health would also be used to expand and improve other mental health services, badly in need since the closure of several state psychiatric facilities.
In his hour-long speech, Mangano spoke about continuing advocacy for a comprehensive clean-up plan of our water and soil, both for the Grumman plume and for any other contamination.
Mangano addressed the challenge of combatting heroin addiction and his multi-pronged approach of education, awareness, enforcement and treatment. Heroin and prescription drug addiction claimed 174 lives in Nassau, last year.
The administration provides drug abuse prevention initiatives in schools, and strong police enforcement on our streets.
To give families a chance at recovery, Nassau launched free Narcan training to reverse an overdose and have so far trained 3,500 citizens to recognize an overdose administer Narcan. .
In October, the Mangano administration partnered with the Long Island Crisis Center, to launch a new 24 hour a day, seven day a week Mental Health Substance Abuse Helpline.
And, to treat those already hooked on drugs, the administration created a model program called ‘A Shot at Life’ –“ in which addiction specialists screen candidates to whom they administer a non-narcotic medication called Vivitrol, which has promising addiction-kicking results.”
Unlike other medications long-used to treat Opiate addiction, Vivitrol is a once-a-month, extended-release injection that cannot be abused, is non-addictive, and caps brain receptors from the cravings of Opiates.