Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano Monday outlined his financial plan to fill a projected $48.5-million hole in this year's budget, listing a series of small spending cuts and revenue increases along with a $22-million reduction in payroll.
Focusing on appointed management positions, Mangano said he has cut jobs and reduced salaries since taking office Jan. 1 to save $9.63 million, including $1.7 million in the county executive's office. He said he expects to eliminate more than 350 jobs by the time he finishes analyzing all 47 county departments.
Fellow Republican Peter Schmitt, presiding officer of the county legislature, recessed an ongoing legislative meeting to stand with Mangano at a Mineola news conference announcing the financial plan.
Schmitt said the spending cuts prove a home heating tax enacted by the previous Democratic administration, and subsequently repealed, "was an unnecessary soaking of the taxpayers." Republicans campaigned against the tax.
But Democratic county lawmakers complained that Mangano's program lacks specifics.
"He says a 10 percent cut in discretionary programs. I don't know what that means," said Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead.) "Does that mean cutting youth board, mental health, and drug and alcohol programs?"
He added that Mangano did not address deficits expected in 2011 and 2012. "The plan definitely needs more details. It lacks specificity, it's incomplete and it's missing the outyears," Abrahams said.
Democrats also noted the plan doesn't mention additional costs of current tax challenges - although one of Mangano's top priorities is to fix the county's assessment system, which generates more than $100 million in tax refunds annually.
"I'm just seeing greater liability than ever for the county," said Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick). "The commercial case backlog has grown. Residential challengers haven't heard their results from the previous year."
Mangano transmitted his plan to the Nassau Interim Finance Authority on Friday. The state fiscal monitoring board had asked him in early January for an update in 60 days on how he would close the county's projected budget gaps after he repealed the 2.5 percent sales tax on home heating fuel, effective in June.
NIFA officials Monday declined to comment.