Nassau amends statement for selling $328M in bonds, notes

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Nassau County Friday amended its official statement for selling $328 million in long-term bonds and short-term notes to reflect a federal-court decision that threw out a wage freeze on county workers that a state control board had imposed.

The county noted the decision in its statement to investors as it moves to sell $141.5 million in general improvement bonds and $187 million in short-term bond anticipation notes for various construction projects.

"It is not possible to predict the ultimate outcome of this and similar matters or their ultimate impact on the county's financial condition," said the amendment, which also noted that the appeals process could last at least a year.

U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Wexler ruled Thursday that the Nassau Interim Finance Authority's power to freeze pay raises and annual step increases expired in 2008. NIFA imposed the freeze in March 2011.

Officials estimate the county could have to repay more than $80 million in back wages if the decision stands. NIFA is appealing.

Deputy County Executive Tim Sullivan said the offering was amended "for disclosure purposes. Anytime there is a significant event it has to be disclosed."

However, Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), of the county legislature, said, "In our opinion, the county failed to disclose the true cost to taxpayers if the decision is upheld."

Wexler's ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Nassau police unions challenging the freeze. It is expected to apply eventually to other county unions, which filed similar lawsuits.

Police Benevolent Association president James Carver said his members expect to receive all back pay.

Wexler's decision "is strong enough -- they shouldn't be using taxpayer dollars to go forward with this appeal," he added.

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