August 2, 2010
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos projects the County will finish 2010 with a balanced budget and possibly with a small surplus as detailed in his County’s Financial Condition for the First Six Months of Fiscal Year 2010 report.
“To date, 2010 has produced some much needed good news in the form of higher sales tax revenues and $47.8 million in expense savings by the Mangano Administration,” Comptroller Maragos said. “Unfortunately, the County revenues are estimated to be $94 million less than budgeted because of overly optimistic revenue forecasts by the Suozzi Administration. The 2010 budget will only be balanced because of the inclusion of $213.8 million of one-shot or non-recurring revenues, expense deferrals and bonding.”
The prior Comptroller had labeled over $68 million in projected revenues at risk when the 2010 budget was released in October of 2009. Had this risk assessment been heeded by the Suozzi Administration and the 2009 session of the County Legislature, or had the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) interceded, this shortfall could have been avoided.
The Mangano Administration proposes closing the resulting budgetary gap of $46.2 million by further reducing expenses, finding new non-tax revenues and some bonding.
Although the 2010 budget is projected to end the year in balance, it continues a number of problematic budgetary practices established by the prior administration. These include:
Comptroller Maragos concluded, “We urge the Mangano Administration, Legislature and NIFA to work hand in hand to break with these long established financial practices in order to restore the County to fiscal health with a truly balanced budget. This can be achieved by agreeing on a multi-year plan beyond 2010 which brings recurring expenses in line with recurring revenues without reliance on bonding, one-shot revenues, deferral of expenses, or a tax increase on our hard pressed property owners. Such a plan will require structural changes in County Government, debt restructuring, strategic technology deployment and significant increases in non tax revenues comparable to other counties. Bonding would be acceptable as part of a transition plan to restructure government and bring about fiscal responsibility.”