Nassau County Majority members, faced with difficult choices in an extremely tight budget with higher risks, today approved County Executive Thomas Suozzi’s $2.5B 2008 no-tax-increase-budget, offering $2.1M in amendments by optimizing state reimbursement programs. The amendments will fund senior citizens affairs to eradicate the waiting list for the Meals on Wheels Program and will enhance social service programs and public safety. The Republican Minority, however, chose not to support the NO-TAX INCREASE BUDGET, and so the 2008 fiscal plan passed 10-9 along partisan lines.
“It is beyond me why the Minority members would choose not to support a no-tax increase budget that does not increase spending, restores funds to health, safety and quality of life programs and has been approved by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority,” said Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury). “I am proud to support this budget and to know that we have once again held the line on taxes and done our utmost to help Nassau’s neediest residents.”
Much of the $2.1 M in amendments to the budget will be funded through state reimbursements, according to Judy Jacobs.
“We have shifted some priorities in the 2008 budget, in order to fund programs that assist the county’s most vulnerable residents,” said Jacobs. “These initiatives have always been, and will continue to be a top priority for the majority members of this legislature.”
“This Majority has held strong during difficult times,” said County Executive Thomas Suozzi, “and they have helped to turn this county around.”
One of the amendments adds $100,000 to senior citizens affairs to eradicate the waiting list for the Meals on Wheels Program run through various community based organizations.
The Democratic majority initiatives include:
•SENIOR CITIZENS - $100,000 to eradicate the waiting list for the Meals on Wheels Program administered through the various community based organizations.
•YOUTH BOARD - $700,000 to restore funding for community based organizations, and an additional $300,000 of new funding for those organizations.
•BEHAVIORIAL SERVICES (MENTAL HEALTH) - $250,000 to restore funding for community based organizations.
•DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVENTION INITIATIVE - $100,000 in funding for advocacy for victims of domestic violence who need assistance navigating the Family Court system.
•LEGAL SERVICES – $150,000 to fund legal services for indigent tenants in District Court.
•SPCA (SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS) - $100,000 to fund a contract with the Nassau County SPCA.
•ESL PROGRAM - $25,000 for English as a Second Language programs for hard working adults.
•HEALTH DEPARTMENT - $75,000 to fund free health clinics.
•FIRE COMMISSION –$150,000 and two Fire Marshall trainee positions to generate revenue.
•POLICE DEPARTMENT-Building Maintenance Unit will be transferred back to Police Headquarters from Department of Public Works and this will be a net zero cost to this budget.
While the County Executive’s 2008 propose budget contains much less financial cushion and a higher percentage of risks than in recent years, the Majority members believe that we have achieved a delicate balance between fiscal responsibility and our responsibility to our fellow human beings,” Jacobs said.