Democratic Nassau County executive candidate Thomas Suozzi on Thursday used a new report projecting a $122 million deficit next year to attack the financial management record of Republican County Executive Edward Mangano.
At a news conference, Suozzi said the review of Mangano's proposed 2014 budget, released Wednesday by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, provided "confirmation by independent sources" that Mangano was mishandling the county's finances by relying too heavily on borrowing to pay for property tax refunds.
"This confirms what I've been saying all along that Ed Mangano is a fiscal phony," said Suozzi, a former two-term county executive who lost to Mangano in 2009 by 386 votes. "Ed is over his head and we're in the red."
In the 23-page report, the state-appointed board said they expected Nassau to remain under NIFA control beyond next year. The report projected the county's budget deficit to reach $157 million by 2015. A budget deficit of more than one percent of the county budget, currently about $2.7 billion, triggers a control period.
The NIFA report attributes the deficit partly to the money owed to property owners who successfully challenge their tax assessments.
Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin, citing a May 28, 2009, NIFA report, said the board raised similar concerns about Suozzi's budget.
The report "sharply criticized Suozzi's handling of the county's finances, highlighting the administration's reliance on bonds, one-time quick fixes and wishful solutions," Nevin said in a statement.
NIFA in the 2009 report said Suozzi's budget complied with board standards, but that the budget and a four-year plan were "problematic because they . . . assumed optimistic rates of economic recovery and growth despite the crises affecting the nation."
Suozzi's campaign noted Thursday that in 2009 the county was at the height of the economic downturn, adding that NIFA did not vote to take over the county's finances until 2011 under Mangano.
Also Thursday, Mangano helped distribute $700,000 worth of emergency rescue equipment -- from radio devices to thermal imaging cameras -- to more than a dozen fire departments and Emergency Medical Services agencies. The equipment was purchased using federal grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security."My administration has worked tirelessly to support our volunteer first responders and today we continue that support by delivering additional equipment and other resources to various fire departments and EMS agencies," Mangano said at a news conference held at Nassau's Office of Emergency Management in Bethpage.