Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has vetoed cuts the legislature made to county departments from her original 2020 budget proposal, and rejected new spending hikes to train police officers in the use of tactical rifles and for hiring more police medics, fire marshals, and other personnel.
Majority Republican lawmakers have scheduled a Wednesday vote to override Curran's vetoes.
Thirteen votes are needed to override a veto, and Republicans hold an 11-8 majority in the county Legislature. The amended budget was approved Oct. 28 in a 17-2 vote of the county Legislature. Legislators Steve Rhoads (R-Bellmore) and C. William Gaylor III (R-Lynbrook) dissented, and all Democratic lawmakers voted in favor of the final budget.
The amendments were introduced by majority Republican lawmakers in October and did not affect the overall size of Curran's $3.11 billion budget proposal. Republicans had introduced $5.8 million worth of spending increases and $5.8 million in reductions.
The proposals Curran rejected included adding: $650,000 to boost staffing levels and overtime funding at the department of public works; $400,000 to hire five fire marshals; $324,000 to hire five police medics; and nearly $240,000 to add staffers to the department of consumer affairs to help with the enforcement of a bill to ban the sale of flavored vaping products and the legal age limit for selling tobacco products.
Curran also vetoed a $602,738 cut from what she proposed for the County Attorney’s Office, and wiped out cuts to her proposals for the Office of Housing and Intergovernmental Affairs, the County Treasurer's office, the Office of Management and Budget and the Social Services Department.
Curran did not veto three of the Republicans' changes, including a $2.795 million proposal to add 20 positions to the District Attorney's Office and 30 to the probation department, and creation of a new Office of Crime Victims Advocate, with an $890,000 budget. She also did not veto a $4 million cut to her proposal to fund the Department of Information Technology.
Curran said in her Nov. 7 signing statement to the legislature that, with these vetoes, she has reduced spending from her original, $3.11 billion county budget by $315,000.
Curran said she will “discuss the matters raised with appropriate departments.”
She said a county task force composed of law enforcement and union staff is reviewing recommendations for appropriate police medic staffing levels and response coordination.
Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said in a statement that Curran "vetoed common sense measures that would have provided our patrol officers with needed resources to deal with active shooters, provide real enforcement of underage vaping and smoking, improve county roads and parks, and reduce delays on opening [new] small businesses and the jobs they create, all without putting an additional burden on taxpayers."
Bill Biamonte, chief of staff to legislative Democrats, said “we’re going to continue to review the override options until Wednesday."
What Curran vetoed
- Addition of 13 positions and restoration of overtime funding for the Department of Public Works, boosting the department budget by $650,000
- Restoration of 8 eliminated positions to the county Health Department, adding $320,000
- Addition of 5 staffers to the Department of Consumer Affairs to enforce a proposed flavored vape products ban and enforcement of the age limit for tobacco products, $239,629
- Five more fire marshal positions, $400,000
- An new employee for the Human Rights Commission, $60,000
- Veterans Service Agency, $20,000
- Addition of 5 police medics, $324,000
- Training patrol officers to use M400 Sig Sauer SWAT rifles $150,000
- County Attorney's Office, $602,738
- Housing and Intergovernmental Affairs, $184,000
- County Treasurer's office, $102,000
- Office of Management and Budget, $318,500
- Social Services Department, $641,391