Mangano proposes $2.79 billion budget
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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has proposed a $2.79 billion budget for next year that holds spending flat and property taxes level.
A spokesman for Mangano, a Republican seeking a second term this fall, said the proposed 2014 budget also calls for no new fee increases.
Overall, spending would be $1.2 million less than last year, with fewer dollars for early childhood intervention and special education programs, and more for contractual services and interest costs.
Mangano calls for using $10 million in operating funds to pay property tax refunds next year while his proposed multiyear plan projects borrowing $230 million in 2014 for the county's chronic tax-refund burden. The multiyear plan also calls for $976 million in short-term cash-flow borrowing next year, more than half related to superstorm Sandy.
The budget projects a 4 percent growth in sales taxes; this year, sales tax collections are 9.4 percent higher than in 2012.
The proposed budget does not appear to include changes related to a proposed pact Mangano recently negotiated with the Nassau Police Benevolent Association. While Mangano says that deal will save $320 million and lift a wage freeze, the control board, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, has expressed concerns about its legality.
Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said the budget does not include pay increases for union or nonunion employees. Asked whether the budget makes any provisions for new labor agreements, such as the PBA pact, that would restore contractual pay increases, Nevin said: "Should any proposed settlements be ratified and adopted, they would fall within the proposed budget."
PBA president James Carver said Mangano has "informed me that the money for the proposed settlement is within the police budget. I'm still reviewing the budget."
The proposed 2014 budget includes $31.2 million in operating funds for termination pay, an expense the county traditionally has borrowed to pay.
"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," Mangano said in a news release.
Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), minority leader of the county legislature, said: "Once again, Mangano has presented a budget full of holes that does very little to shake this county free of NIFA's oversight. The 2014 budget fails to address major issues," including a lawsuit against a NIFA-imposed wage freeze and tax refund payments, Abrahams said.
Mangano has not increased property taxes since taking office in 2010. He also eliminated a 2.5 percent tax on home heating fuel, imposed in 2009, that was expected to bring in $160 million over four years. Since 2010, Mangano and the GOP legislative majority have approved a variety of new and increased fees expected to bring in a total of $96.1 million by year's end, according to a July report from the legislature's Office of Budget Review.
County Comptroller George Maragos, a Republican also running for re-election, reported recently he expects Nassau to end this year with a $5.6 million cash surplus. But he also acknowledged NIFA would calculate a $120 million deficit because it discounts one-time cash payments and other nonrecurring revenues.
The county charter requires the legislature to approve next year's budget by the end of October. All 19 legislative seats are up for election this fall.The backlog of pending property tax challenges is estimated at about $335 million.