Once worried that Glen Cove had no long-term financial plan, the state comptroller's office now credits the city with building a road map to fiscal health.

"We are encouraged by the many actions that the city has taken, and continues to take, to eliminate its deficit," Deputy Comptroller Steven Hancox wrote in a Feb. 3 letter to the city. "The plan shows a firm commitment by city officials to take necessary actions" to reduce the deficit.

After borrowing $12.8 million in deficit-financing bonds in 2007, Glen Cove offered its annual budget for state review. As recently as October, the comptroller's office questioned whether the city had provisions for eliminating a $5.1-million general-fund deficit.

But Glen Cove's six-page plan, submitted to the state in late January, outlined budgeting changes and new programs, including transferring city sewer operations to Nassau County and increasing many city fees.

Mayor Ralph Suozzi said Tuesday he was pleased with the state validation, even as reduced tax receipts and increased benefits costs have slowed progress toward financial improvement.

"We're addressing our problems in a cooperative, non-adversarial way," Suozzi said.

But critics pointed out that without the bonds, the city's deficit actually increased $2 million since Suozzi first took office in 2006.

"I give credit where credit is due, but I don't know if that was a great accomplishment," said Republican Paul Meli, who was defeated by Suozzi in the last election in 2009.

Suozzi said the $2-million loss came largely from the unexpected 2007 closing of Photocircuits Corp., which paid the city more than $1 million in annual water and sewer fees. And Glen Cove now borrows less in bond capital than it repays in interest, lowering its debt by several million dollars, Suozzi said.

"Despite the worst economic conditions of our lifetime, we have less liability and the budget has been straightened out," he said. "We're in a better position."

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